Tyrrell Winston turned worn-out leather basketballs into art.
New York-based multimedia artist — who didn’t go to art school, as usually expected — Tyrrell Winston is used to exploring narratives around the cult of celebrity athletes and sports in general.
It all began after he moved from California to New York, where he collected unusual objects around Brooklyn so he could pay his US$150,000 college debt. This time it was no different. With an authentic, signed basketball from the exceptional American former professional player Michael Jordan, the artist was indecisive in what was coming next.
As he purchased many pieces of sports memorabilia on Upper Deck, the artist started working on his Anatomy Series, in which he dissected and narrowed in on the many different parts of an athlete's practice and the correlation between who they are and their celebrity persona.
With this project, Winston managed to reimagine what it meant to put a player on a pedestal — making them become legends — while respecting what they’ve done for sports and understanding what it takes to succeed in this industry.
“As hard as it probably is for some people to understand it is an image, it is out of appreciation for [Jordan].” Winston told Slam in an interview via FaceTime in October, calling from his studio on the border of Bushwick and Maspeth, as many sports fanatics started to criticize his work.
Basketballs that have been left in empty courts are also part of the project because they represent stories of worn-out leather that, in a moment, could’ve been a dream of a slam dunk.
“I think one of the things so many people are drawn to about basketball is it’s one of those sports you can literally make something out of almost nothing… I do think, these pieces, for me, as kinda dark and dirty as they might be perceived, are about hope.”
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