COOPERSTOWN — An internationally renowned artist completed his baseball journey in the village last week.
Andy Brown, a British artist who lived in South Korea before his adventure began this spring, isn’t the first baseball fan to visit all 30 major league baseball stadiums in a season. However, he might be the first to paint them during his visits.
“When I thought about where would be the perfect place to end this journey, I thought of Cooperstown,” Brown told The Daily Star on Thursday, Oct. 3, as he waited out the rain, so he could return to painting scenes from the village.
Brown, 39, said he started his journey in Mexico in April with MLB games in Monterrey, Mexico. He then went to games for two weeks in the United States before returning to Korea. He had been living on an island, Jeju, teaching art, and needed time to prepare for his larger journey, he said.
“I think when I came back July 22, I had 24 more ballparks to go,” he said.
First, Brown went to the MLB London games between Boston and New York. Then he said he flew to Seattle, Los Angeles and Albuquerque, New Mexico. In Albuquerque, Brown said he saw the minor league Albuquerque Isotopes and then rented a car for the rest of his tour.
Brown paints on large canvas, usually with oil, but he said he used acrylic a couple of times when teams were not welcoming of his artistic process.
“Most teams have been so helpful,” he said. “A few, it wasn’t that they were awful. They maybe didn’t understand.”
Brown said he would call every team before he visited to explain his desire to paint their stadiums during games. Most allowed him to bring in his easel and large canvas rolls. He said the Arizona Diamondbacks were the first team to get it.
Once he rented a car, Brown said he set up a make-shift rack to let each night’s painting dry, which was a two-day cycle. Driving was grueling, he said, in a way he never expected. Keeping everything clean was, too.
“It has been very hard just keeping paint off myself,” he said.
Brown said he became a huge fan of international baseball while he was in Korea, and he decided to merge his love of baseball with his artistic career after taking a teaching sabbatical. Visiting the ballparks and painting has rejuvenated his love of art, he said.
After completing his ballpark journey, Brown said it was impossible to pick favorites, and he loved the individuality of each stadium. However, he mentioned Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia as one park he loved, and he said a trip to Dubuque County, Iowa, was a goose-bump inducing side trip.
“The Field of Dreams, you pull up and there is a game going on with the 1919 Chicago White Sox,” he said. “It is just an amazing scene.”
Brown visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Oct. 2. He met with hall officials, showed them his work and made paintings and drawings of the hall’s scenes. He said he discussed donating a painting to the Hall’s collection. He also spent time at Doubleday Field. He said he loved Cooperstown so much, he extended his stay several days.
Brown said his visa will expire in a few weeks, but he is not ready to end his baseball journey. He is considering returning to Mexico for winter league play. However, he said he wants to return to Cooperstown again someday.
“The mood around town has been majestic,” he said, “and that is why I want to stay.”
To view Brown’s work, go to Andybisanartist on Twitter or AndyBrownisanartist on Instagram.