Except for his bald head, 46-year-old artist Doug Lindsay does not have a lot in common with basketball superstar Michael Jordan. His tongue doesn’t wag when he paints, and Lindsay – not a tall man – admits that he was never much of a basketball player or even that big of a basketball fan.
“I don’t have satellite TV or anything to watch games,” he says.
Yet the former art teacher/film techie and current full-time artist is fascinated by the high-flying former Chicago Bull who may be the best player to have ever hit the hard court.
The fascination began six years ago when Lindsay was sitting at the kitchen table drawing pictures with his 10-year-old stepson, Ben. While Lindsay doodled cartoons, Ben was drawing a picture of Jordan – and activity that would help focus his stepfather’s creative energies for the next six years. The drawing showed Jordan dunking a ball over an opponent with a word balloon “oof!” coming out of his mouth.
“Ben’s drawing dovetailed with my own feelings of wanting a subject I could feel good about,” Lindsay explained recently. “He was the greatest. Just so much fun to watch. But he is also, on some level, an idea or some sort of feeling.”
That evening Lindsay stretched some canvas and painted his own colorful version of “Oof!” Since then he has painted dozens of color-filled, almost mythical paintings of the Chicago Bull in various poses and settings, 25 of which are currently on display in the public library, on Fifth and Park, through Dec. 27.
Although he has expanded on his theme, the seed of the entire collection still lies with Ben’s original drawing. “[This drawing] perfectly captured all that Michael Jordan represented in such a simple and innocent way,” Lindsay writes in an introduction to the show. “It was so blatantly contrary to the way that sports heroes are typically depicted or imagined … Ben’s drawing really humanized Jordan without diluting his heroic quality. It was simple and at the same time larger than life. I began painting Jordan in a similar style – na