Jeff Baker is an extremely talented artist from Arizona. He mainly focuses on sports art and has created a lot of great custom sports cards, many of which I have purchased! Let’s see what Jeff had to say about his art and trading cards!
BU: How were you first introduced to the trading card hobby?
JB: I’m 42 years old so my first big year of collecting was during the card boom of 1987. I was obsessed. Every cent that I could find was spent on 1987 Topps cards. Donruss and Fleer were the more expensive packs so I always went with Topps. The big cards to pull were Will Clark, McGwire, Pete Incaviglia, etc, etc. I remember having a price guide and the cards valued at $1+ were treated like gold by me. It really was an obsession…..actually, it was more like an addiction!
I sold at local shows during my junior & senior years of high school. After I graduated high school I worked at Brooklyn Paulies Card Shop in Glendale, AZ. It was owned by Paul LoDuca’s Dad and that was a blast hanging out with their family and selling at shows on the weekends with them.
BU: What made you decide to design your own sports cards?
JB: I like turning some of my sports art into oddball sports cards. It’s a way to get some of my artwork into people’s collections that normally don’t spend money on original artwork. I look at my custom cards more like cheap mini art prints than sports cards.
BU: Are you a trading card collector? What do you collect?
JB: I collect some stuff from my favorite card artists and I like collecting some of my creations but I don’t hang out at the LCS trying to pull this week’s hot glossy rainbow refractor of some guy that’ll be out of baseball in two years. I love adding new Helmar & Sporting Life pieces plus my own creations and some things from underground guys that make some really unique sports items. There are so many guys right now making custom cards but so few that use actual artwork of the player that it’s fun to see what some of these artists are putting out there. I really look at it more as an art print collection than a baseball card collection.
BU: What has been your favorite custom card you have created?
JB: My favorite custom set is my new micro Gumball strips. They’re loosely based on the 1950 r423 strips. There are 500+ pieces in the set all using original b&w portraits from the last year. It would be considered a colossal failure if I was basing it off of sales but I really love it and the way that the tiny perforated strips turned out. Each card measures 1″x.7″. The more that I think about it, I’m probably the ONLY person that loves that set!
BU: You are not alone! I loved the strip that you sent me! I am also a fan of the “penny cards” that you have created!
BU: Any exciting projects you are currently working on?
JB: My favorite and most important set of all time is my current mail art project. I am creating 1 piece of baseball art every day for the 365 days in 2017. Each piece is mailed to the buyer which is why it’s considered “mail art.” Mail art is an art movement that was made popular in the 1960’s by artist Ray Johnson (watch the movie “How to Draw a Bunny”) and I thought it would be interesting to use some of his ideas to create a massive 365 piece Baseball Mail Art Set. Each piece of baseball art is usually done on thick card stock or an old repurposed used postcard.
For more mail art info: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mail_art
As you can see Jeff creates a variety of sports art, using many different mediums, from digital prints to postcards, to wood engravings! Be sure to follow Jeff on social media to see all of the great work that he shares!