Painting Memories of the Great American GameJuly 11, 2007 – Many see baseball as an art, but Graig Kreindler takes the metaphor to a literal level. The recent Lehman graduate, who received a master’s in education with a specialization in painting, has made classic scenes in baseball history the focus of his artistic work.
Kreindler has painted everyone from Babe Ruth to Mickey Mantle and everything from Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” to Lou Gehrig’s famous retirement speech. Many of these scenes have been captured before, but generally in the faded black and white of an old photograph. Kreindler’s work is in color, allowing those who were present at such moments in baseball history to see the moment again the way they remember it, and for others to see the moment as if they were present.
“To me, the important part of this genre is the connection the artist is able to make with the viewer,” says Kreindler. To him, baseball revolves around fathers and sons and the moments that cement similar relationships.
“When someone sees my work, I want them to be transported back to when they went to baseball games as a kid with their father or grandfather. I want them to smell the stale popcorn, and in some cases—like in the old Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium—the cigar smoke. The buzz of the crowd has to be there. The sunlight has to illuminate the grass just right. Though it may sound a bit corny, I am most happy when the work becomes transcendent, the vehicle of memories.”
Kreindler takes pride in recreating an event in baseball history, and in some ways, changing it. While the end result may not be an exact replica of the event, Kreindler attempts to be as true as possible to history by thoroughly researching his subject matter.
It’s not surprising that many of Kreindler’s paintings feature his favorite team, the New York Yankees. “I have very little trouble finding a great Yankee moment to paint, and at the same time, I can never back down from painting the glorious stadium.” But to Kreindler, the most important factor in choosing which scenes to paint is that “the proper nostalgia is evoked.”
Kreindler says his time at Lehman was a wonderful experience filled with artistic growth. He also credits his family with inspiring him to cover the subject he does. “Aside from the hundreds of artists I admire and the teachers who have inspired me,” he says, “my parents, grandparents, and uncle were the ones who planted the baseball seeds inside of me.”