Today, I’m talking with the artists behind Double Scribble, the basketball art blog dedicated to posting new NBA-inspired creative work on a daily basis. They’re mainstays of the Tumblr basketball community, and they’ve put up some amazing images over the past year.
This month, Double Scribble is curating a gallery showing of basketball art from around the world at Cleveland’s BUCKBUCK Studio titled Art of the Game. The show opens on October 20. A raffle of items donated by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Homage will be part of the festivities, and part of the proceeds from the evening will go to the nonprofit Pathway: Caring for Children. With something so big on the horizon, it seemed like a perfect time to have a chat about hoops and art.
Storming the Floor: How did the site get started?
Mike McGrath: Nick and I went to the University of Dayton together, both studied Visual Communication and Design there. We were good friends, and always shared an interest in basketball and both still lived in Cleveland, Ohio following school. He approached me in April 2011 that he had started a site called “nbasketches,” with a goal to post a quick sketch daily of nba players. I was on board immediately, contributing whenever I could and it was about a month or so later that it just kind of shifted into a full fledged partnership.
Nick Kastner: It’s funny when I trace back the origins of the site. It really all began when I was living in Brooklyn, NY and my craigslist roommate and I made these NBA graphic timelines.
I went to Austin, TX for some interviews shortly thereafter. One was with Armin Vit of the design blog UnderConsideration. He saw the timelines and said I should make a blog where I post basketball related design work.
I had to leave NY because my internship ended and I ran out of money. I moved in with my parents and while I was job searching I decided to start the blog NBA Sketches. The motivation behind it was to get better at drawing and not lose my mind trying to find a job in a recession.
I knew Mike well from college and he expressed interest in sending me drawings. After a few weeks, it was 50% my drawings and 50% his so it seemed like a good idea to bring him in on it. 18 months later and it’s still going.
STF: Were you surprised at how many hoops artists there were on the internet?
MM: At first, I was very surprised. I had come across pieces now and then on the internet but never imagined how many were out there. We started receiving submissions through tumblr, or people finding us on twitter, as well as doing some digging on my own into the depths of the web and stumbling across new works and inviting those people to become a part of what we were doing. Most artists we contact are incredibly eager to be part of what we’re doing, love the concept and what we’re doing.
STF: How did the idea for a real, live art show grow out of your internet presence?
MM: I love creating new art first and foremost, and Double Scribble has challenged me to create a high output and keep making new pieces. But I’ve loved that other people were always so eager to become a part of what we were doing. In a sense we are an online gallery, in many ways it was just the next logical step to move from the web to the gallery.
STF: You mentioned that there are participants from around the world. How did that happen?
MM: Chris Edser, an illustrator and designer from Australia, runs a great site called Ron Artist (or MettART World Peace), established well before we were around. Chris was great in helping spread the word for us early on, contributing some great pieces, an instant ally. He was willing to submit some of his work for the show, and we were thrilled to have him. We’ve also had contributions on the site from other artists from Australia, as well as Japan; we’re a global presence, haha.
STF: How did you get hooked up with your charity partner?
NK: The charity partner is one I’ve been aware of for quite some time. One of my good friends Mom works at Pathway. I was at his wedding recently and we got to talking and things just sort of clicked from there.
STF: I tried out several platforms before I settled on Tumblr, and I love it. How has the Tumblr setup helped you do what you do?
MM: Tumblr has been fantastic for us. It allows us to manage our content incredibly easily, allows other artists to submit pieces to us and stay in contact. We’ve been able to expand our following and reach new audiences through the tags and making tumblr radar. And for personal use it’s been great following a number of different tumblrs getting everything from inspiration and source material, to the latest news, pop culture, and all the animated gifs and memes one’s heart could desire.
STF: How have the logistics worked, with artists from other cities contributing work?
MM: It’s still early yet, so right now we’ve just been in communication with the majority of the artists. We’ve given them the dates they need to have the work to us by. Every one we’ve been in contact with is excited to be part of the show and extremely professional.
STF: How hard is it to decide where to hang everything?
MM: That’s another thing we haven’t had to face just yet. The hope is to include as much work as possible, stuff the gallery.
STF: Is it all 2D art?
MM: Right now it appears that way, we’ve got some digital illustrations, drawings, a couple different types of paintings even a photographic submission, each in their own distinct style. From day one, we’ve been all about including everyone on the site, so we want to continue to try and do that with the show; so we’re accepting submissions until the 14th, and we’re open to all forms of artwork.
STF: Are you both contributing work to the show?
MM: Of course we are! I’ll be putting together a digital illustration of some of the Cavs’ greatest players (here’s a look at Terrell Brandon from the piece), as well as a large acrylic and spray paint piece of Kyrie Irving that will end up looking similar to this painting of Kobe I created awhile back.
STF: Sounds great. Hope it’s a smashing success!
Whether you can make it to the show or not, make sure to visit the Facebook event page and express your support however you can. Visit their store and buy stuff (I snagged a Respect Your Elders for myself). And add Double Scribble to your list of daily internet visits.
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