When you find cigarette buds on the street, or a flattened basketball somewhere in a bush, what do you consider those as? Something that belongs in the trash? A metaphor for life like a plastic bag drifting in the wind? Something else?
Well for New York based artist Tyrell Winston, everything he sees when he’s walking down the street is potential art. He has spent years scouring the outside world to gather the random bits and bobs of stuff, which he has made integral to his work, cigarette buds and flattened basketballs being the most common materials used in his art.
Source: NY Times
Without having any much of a practical art training, he managed to set up a career for himself inspired by his two big passions; basketball and art. He did graduate from Wagner College with an Arts Administration major during the recession in 2008, which lead to him having an astounding 150k college debt.
In the beginning, the flattened basketballs came from Winston’s travels through Brooklyn and Manhattan, now he’s made such a name for himself, that balls are being sourced for him in California, upstate New York, Florida, Texas, and other parts of the United States. Does it matter though where they come from? Not really. They could have been picked up from train tracks, junk shops, estate sales… What matters is the use that the artist gives them.
What makes those basketballs so special is that they tell their own story. In his own words:
“And I do not have to ascribe, put words with it, and it becomes abstract in that way, I want my work to mean many things to many people. There is no one definitive meaning.”
Most recently, he constructed a piece for Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was a piece composed of 168 flattened basketballs, the largest artwork he’s made for an NBA team owner to date. The second largest was for Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, which was made up of 105 basketballs.
Other than basketballs, Winston also has series of paintings called ‘Punishment Paintings’. In this series he recreates the signatures of some of the most famous athletes in history — desplaying their autographs over and over again.
Athletes he’s covered include Michael Jordan, Pete Rose, Muhammad Ali, and Mickey Mantle. The idea behind the title, namely the word “punishment”, stems from the notion that due to these athlete’s level of fame, they are held up to impossible standards, thus not allowing them to be flawed. Hence, the punishment.
Source: NY Times
This is but the tip of the iceberg of Terry Winston and his work, one could spend days, weeks, scrolling through his work, and never tire of it. Check out his instagram and website if you want to be blown away. Trust us. It’s worth it!