Benjamin Blackburn: Baseball Sculptor Extraordinaire
Benjamin Blackburn at work
“The best artist has that thought alone which is contained within the marble shell. The sculptor’s hand can only break the spell to free the figures slumbering in the stone.” –Michelangelo
For week 12 we have the opportunity to teach an art activity or piece of art history, a welcome change from being the student for the first eleven weeks. As you can tell from looking at my site, I really enjoy all things baseball-related, and so I decided to combine my passion for the sport with this activity to teach something new. I decided to teach my readers about an artist that I’ve grown fond of over the last few months, Benjamin Blackburn. Benjamin is a sculptor, focusing primarily on sculpting historical figures during their most iconic moments. Blackburn typically sculpts from mahogany or cedar, with his approach mimicking the Michelangelo statement from above: he seeks to “release” the “hero” from the solid piece of wood. Michael stated, when asked about his inspiration and how he chooses his “heroes” for his artistic endeavors, “I’m much more interested in the history of the game these days. The modern game is interesting as a game to me, but artistically I’m much more interested in players from previous eras. There’s a sort of magic to the game, for me, pre-1960, that is very alluring. Some of the best moments of my life have involved baseball, somehow.” Benjamin typically requires hundreds of hours for a single piece, which is not unreasonable when you notice the level of detail. Due to the time committment required for each piece, he tends to focus on a combination of what he is passionate about combined with what will actually sell, since, after all, he is a working artist.
As a Dodger fan, this is easily my favorite piece of Benjamin’s.
“Stealing Home” by Benjamin Blackburn. Iconic moment in Jackie Robinson’s career.
More examples of Benjamin’s work:
Blackburn’s “Bambino” (Babe Ruth)
“Captain Clutch” by Benjamin Blackburn. (Derek Jeter)