For years, legendary artist Joe Petruccio has been capturing the essence of pop culture and bringing it to the canvass in his own unique style. Some of the main centerpieces of Joe’s body of work have been such greats as Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, the “Rocky” movies and Elvis. To add to his already amazin’ credentials, Joe has signed on with Elvis Presley Enterprises as a licensed artist for Graceland and he was also named the official artist of the Hard Rock Park (now known as Freestyle Music Park) in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Joe was gracious enough to spend some time with me just recently for an interview. Now some of you who come to GodBlessBuckner to read about the Mets may be wondering what the great artist Joe Petruccio and the Mets have in common? Well, read on Dear Mets Fans and find out…
Richard Gross (GodBlessBuckner): First Joe, for those Met fans who aren’t familiar with your blog, http://mymetsjournal.blogspot.com, can you give us a rundown about it and what inspired you to create it in the first place?
Joe Petruccio: Thank you, Richard for the opportunity to come out here and talk with you and other Mets fans. To answer your question, the reason I created the blog is simple. Just as I state on the blog homepage –“This year I am going to create a sketchbook entry after each Mets game. I started doing this a few seasons ago. It seems like I just can’t quite get through a whole season without getting frustrated and giving up. This year win or lose, I will finish this.” You see, every year I am so excited to start one of these and about this time every year I give up.
RG: One of the aspects to your sketches that I really enjoy is that you really get the sense what a true Met fan you are. You are very good at capturing the mood and feeling of what it is to be a Met fan. How long have you been following the Mets and when and what were your very first Met sketches?
JP: I’ve been a Mets fan since I was a kid. I was never anything but a Mets fan. I guess I’ve been drawing them since I was a young boy.
RG: You mention on your blog that you’ve never been able to get through an entire season, but you’re committed to get through this one. What’s been the biggest obstacle for you achieving that milestone? Not enough time? Just per frustration with the team or something else?
JP: Pure Frustration! Being a Mets fan I’m sure I don’t even have to explain it. Now there are seasons I missed that I wish I finished. But… you never know.
RG: So tell me a little about your process for creating a game sketch. Are you already sketching while the game is in progress or do you wait until after the game is done to formulate your idea for the sketch? And how long from start to finish does it take you?
JP: I don’t even think about the sketch during a game. Even though now I have people constantly emailing me sayings and ideas during each one. I love how involved people are getting. But I try to stay true to my own thoughts and do what I would do If no one but me was reading it.
After a game ends, if it’s not too late, I open the book and start with the date and heading. Then I stop and think of a quick thought I could use as my title. That usually leads to what I’m going to draw. After I draw it, I paint it in and then I scan and post. The drawing takes about 10 -25 minutes.
RG: Do you watch every game Joe, or do you just look at the box score to get an idea about the game? The reason I ask is that the Mets recently finished a series against San Diego which ends late Eastern Time. Are you burning the midnight oil with those west coast series?
JP: I try to watch as many games as I can. If not I rely on box scores and Gamecast
versions. But so far I’ve seen or heard every one…even all of the west coast games.
RG: I’ve noticed that Jerry Manuel is a real focal point in many of your drawings. He’s either the centerpiece in your sketches or appears in little captions. What makes Jerry such a great “character” to build your sketches around?
JP: Well, sometimes the games aren’t really about a single player or play, to me. So I choose Jerry as a symbol of the team and also representing himself. He’s a nice guy that gets a bad rap from us every now and then. But he’s a genius now.
RG: Most of you artwork centers around rock and roll and classic artists. How do the Met drawings differ from the rock and roll art that you create? Are they both equally enjoyable or is your approach and attitude a little different towards each?
JP: They are both enjoyable to me. My Mets journal is a little more personal than my rock and portrait work. But there are so many similarities between music and sports. We all have a soundtrack to our lives a song that represents a moment in time to us. The same is true with sports. There are moments that we hold dear that bring back a memory just like music does.
RG: So once the season is in the books and you’ve chronicled all 162 games, what are you planning on doing with the collection? Are you planning on compiling the sketches into a publication, perhaps a book?
JP: I just planned on putting it in my bookshelf with all of the others and get started on my Jets Journal. But, publishers have been calling me and I think it’s safe to say, this will be a book.
RG: I know that you have done several exhibits, is there any chance that we might see the Met collection at an exhibition? Perhaps the Met Museum at CitiField might be interested in showing the collection? Is that something you’ve considered?
JP: Never thought about it. If the Mets want me I’m ready. It would be very cool.
RG: Joe, I want to get your opinion of the season so far from a fan standpoint. Are you happy with the way the season is unfolding? What are the positives and negatives for you and is there one particular move that you would like to see the team make?
JP: I wish we could finish the season with who we have right now. I’d hate to upset this chemistry.
I understand we MIGHT need a Cliff Lee or someone like that, but I feel the energy and life in these guys like I did back in ’86. They are getting that swagger and believing in themselves.
I love it!
RG: Finally, what do you have coming up? Special events? Exhibitions? Is there anywhere where people will be able to see your work?
JP: I am about to do another limited edition of signed work with Ali, which is always exciting.
I have a few shows this summer coming up in Florida at American Royal Arts Galleries. If anyone would like to attend give them a call at 1-800-888-9449. You can also check out my other work online at Joe Petruccio Art
RG: Joe, I want to sincerely thank you for spending the time to answer a few questions about your work. Also an extra thank you for the original “GodBlessBucker” drawing. We’re very excited to display it as part of this interview and equally proud to display it on the GodBlessBuckner Facebook page. Please keep up the great work and finish the season. It’s been a true pleasure following your Met art on a daily basis.
JP: It’s been a pleasure Richard! All I can say is Thank you to the fans and Let’s Go Mets!