Andy Brown has travelled around the world painting stadiums across several continents, to paint baseball, and many other sports.
Brown who was introduced to baseball in 2009, when an American friend brought him to a game in South Korea, said it was tough to put into words what that first experience was like “You come in on the subway and onto the concourse or onto the streets. And you walk into this thing and a big expanse of green opens up.” recounts the artist.
This really opened his eyes to how baseball tells a story, not just of what’s happening on the field, but the story of a country, “You just see the culture of a country through the baseball. You see how people celebrate and commiserate and the heroes and what they respect and the food they eat and the music they listen to.”
It was this aspect that inspired him to delve deep into baseball “All these indicators, all these symbols of who we are in this country or who we are in this town or this city. And I started traveling around watching it and then making little sketches of it.”
A headline from that experience is becoming Team GB’s artist, as he follows them across World and European championships.
What a couple of weeks that was! Silver for @GB_Baseball 🥈— Andy Brown (@andybisanartist) October 3, 2023
Thanks to all @WBSC @baseballeurope the players, fans, @michaelsclair and ofcourse most importantly @kayperbeats for the vision to bring me in to the team to do what I do!
Its always an honour! 🇬🇧⚾️🎨 pic.twitter.com/bCNtmTdnXS
This came about during COVID, as the travel restrictions, helped him take a step back and look into the local baseball opportunities
” I’d done nine countries, which is quite a lot, And I didn’t even really know there was baseball in the UK” continuing “I was traveling around the UK, you know, the [Worcester] Sorcerers or Liverpool Trojans and doing paintings of them. And then somehow I found out about the Euros were going to be on it in Italy.”
It was this opportunity that Brown seized with both hands, reaching out to Drew Spencer, the Team GB manager, asking if he could follow to team during the Euros.
“I wanted to evolve the work. I wanted the work to be more about being like the team artist inside the team, embedded with the team reporting on, the players and the behind the scenes stuff that people don’t see” pitched Brown
Spencer, loved the idea, welcoming the painter into the team, who explained that the manager is always open to opportunities like that “I know some managers or some teams would probably never even think about it, never consider it. But I feel with Drew that if you contribute or if you add something positive to the team in any way, he’ll have you involved. He’d love to have you involved.”
An ethos that is reflected into the team, and their commitment to growing British Baseball “The whole GB experience, the thing that blows me away with it is the level of professionalism, support, and the way the team bonds. That’s always the thing. Win, lose or whatever else. Like the team is just so cohesive and the team’s so supportive” Brown revealed.
“It’s just like going home and seeing another family, really, where it’s just like you have your place in it. And, you know, everyone’s there for a purpose, doing their thing. Everyone’s working towards the collective goal.”Andy Brown
Brown credited Spencer with saying something along these lines, “Everyone realizes that Team GB are a force to be reckoned with, it’s a privilege that other teams are scared of you or want to beat you or are competitive with you because you’re a threat” and with the Olympics on the horizon in 2028, this upwards momentum will only continue.
Proud to have served as @GB_Baseball team artist over the past few weeks @baseballeurope in Czechia. Its always an honour to capture the team history & rise on canvas. As ever a special thanks to @kayperbeats for his vision & support! 🇬🇧⚾️🥈🎨 pic.twitter.com/PZXwWXkQZf— Andy Brown (@andybisanartist) October 11, 2023
“I’m not really a massive flag waver. But as soon as I hear the national anthem and as soon as you put on the shirt, you put on the cap or whatever else. To paint for, you know, my country and paint the guys who are playing for this country. And if I could get to the Olympics and do it with them too, then, yeah, I mean, that’d be superb.” Brown explained
Being able to use paint and fine art as a medium to tell a story is something that is a proud point for Brown, who has been painting is whole life, and really started developing his ability at 14, into what he’s become today. “I feel like it’s a completely unique medium, completely unique way of doing it. And again, it’s culturally rich. You know, it really is a high way to display a sporting team and the culture”
It’s this richness that has been recognized on multiple levels, firstly by Team GB itself “I think my work inspires them or gives them something different, gives them a bit of pride that, No other team’s got a team artist. it gives us all a boost.”
But also by big media outlet, during the Euros this year, Michael Claire wrote up an article on Brown for MLB.com, something that’s a personal proud point, “It’s wonderful to have somebody talking about your work. I never would have expected when I first started watching baseball, even painting it. I was happy to get one like on Twitter. And then all of a sudden you’re on the MLB website doing that sort of thing”
Brown’s skills are not limited to baseball either though, this year alone, he’s been to the NFL London games, as well as featuring on Soccer Saturday when he painted Carrow Road, as well as across several teams’ social media platforms.
“I went to Notts County. Then I was in Coventry City. And it just again, like that was Coventry City. Got some BBC coverage. The Notts County thing had a video on Twitter that did some good numbers. So it’s just grown and grown and grown. And last Saturday, I was at Carrow Road, Norwich City painting for Sky Sports. I was on their Soccer Saturday thing. And, you know, if it’s if it’s going well, then you stick with it, you know, and I’m enjoying it. And I love doing that”
Finally, Brown recounted a story that was particularly heartwarming, “There was a little kid in Taiwan. I painted him in the painting because very often when I’m painting the work or certainly as the work evolved, ended up, I’d start putting things to do with the game or around the game more and more. And there was some little kid with his dad. In Taiwan, they do these very choreographed dances. So he’s doing this dance with his dad. So I put his dad and him into the painting and I showed his dad and his dad made his son go over and give me this ball. So he gave me this and he obviously didn’t really want to give me the ball. I felt really sorry for this kid. It was almost trembling and he was like handing over his precious ball and I couldn’t take it, I was like, no, OK, just let’s get a photo. You keep the ball”