Three Times Sports and Art Blended to Perfection

The line between sports and art is blurry. We have the noble art, a popular name given to boxing. That’s easy to see why there’s a comparison between painting a masterpiece and slugging it out on the canvas for immortal glory in the boxing ring. But that isn’t where the glue bonding sport and art dries up.

Achieving success in professional sports takes dedication, sacrifice, and just a little piece of your sanity. Making an impact in the visual arts world requires many of the same attributes and qualities. The result is similar in both fields, a product of blood, sweat, and tears that will last forever. Many famous artists share friendships with the top names from sport, with the pair sharing a uniquely ambitious and driven outlook.

We even see sportspeople and artists cross the divide on occasion. More than a few artists like to keep fit by playing soccer, football or learning combat sports like boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Then we have the biggest names in sports who love to express themselves through art, painting, sculpting, or even digital design. Players quoted at the top Vegas bets apps show a different side to their personality. A softer side, one more in tune with the art world.

We aim to inspire

In this article, we aim to prove our point. There’s little going on in sports this summer, with the NFL and English Premier League in pre-season. Our writers wanted to take the time to guide you down memory lane. The following article looks at the most memorable names from sport that have competed to a high level before turning to art.

Some names on this page are more evident than others, but we aimed to spread the love across as many different sports as possible. Our writers wanted to show no limitations exist between the arts and sports, with both sharing beauty and simplicity that the fast-paced modern world has almost abandoned.

We also wanted to share an article that would help inspire a new generation of artists and athletes who can see a clear path between the two. For too long in public schools, children have fallen into one area of music, sports, or art, but these skills have one thing in common; expression. They allow people, young and old, to express their feelings and show their talents.
Please read through our article and see for yourself. It’s completely normal and should be encouraged for artists to seek respite in the chaos of sport or a prizefighter to seek peace in the tranquility of the arts. Some people love to combine the two, but here are famous names that show a talent for sports and the arts.

Scott Harrison

The British world champion boxer Scott Harrison almost lost everything outside the ring. Thrown in prison in Spain at the peak of his powers, Harrison spent many years in a tiny cell, contemplating what went wrong. Only then did the hardened gladiator for Glasgow discover a love for painting. It allowed him to escape his confinement, at least in his mind, and express himself. 

Scott once boxed before sell-out audiences across the United Kingdom, United States, and further afield. He was the all-conquering featherweight boxer that never dodged a battle. But art taught him a new way of life, and the boxer stuck with it after his release. Unable to run countless miles through the Scottish countryside, he had done since he was a child. He was punished for practicing any boxing or combat sports in prison and stripped of his freedoms. 

That cramped cell baking in the Spanish heat must have felt like a world away from Harrison’s upbringing and previous life as a boxer. His dad Peter owned a fight gym in Glasgow, meaning Scott was always around fighters before he strapped on the leather and ducked between the ropes. Painting and sculpting were the only ways to pull himself back from the brink and towards normality.

Harrison finished his professional boxing career with 27 wins against just three defeats and two draws. He stopped 15 opponents inside the distance but lost his last fight to upcoming talent and future champion Liam Walsh. You’ll now find his artwork available to purchase online.

Ernie Barnes

Ernie Barnes, Pool Hall (1968). Oil on canvas, 24x48 inches.
Ernie Barnes, Pool Hall (1968). Oil on canvas, 24×48 inches.

Born in 1938, Ernie Barnes was a former star of American Football, playing his career in the NFL at some world-famous teams. An offensive guard, Barnes was a regular charging for the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos, and he enjoyed a successful career. He was a fan’s favorite due to his desire, hard tackling, and ambition. But few followers inside the stadium knew of his more artistic side.

Ernie was always a keen artist, and his best piece is a painting entitled The Sugar Shack. The footballer credited his college art tutor, who inspired him to paint and sculpt from the heart, creating pieces relating to his experiences. That advice struck a chord with a young Barnes, and although he took an extended break from art when playing football, the draw was always there.

The Barnes story is different from that of boxer Harrison as the footballer confessed to hating the brutality and torture of his sport. Despite being talented and one of the best to play for the Chargers and Broncos in that position, Ernie avoided the fame and attention that accompanied football. He sought shelter in art and continued practicing until his passing in 2009, aged 70.

Jean-Blaise Evequoz

The star of Swiss fencing, Jean-Blaise Evequoz’s involvement in the arts is less surprising than the other men featured above. His most celebrated sporting achievement came at the 1976 Summer Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the epee event.

Born in November 1953, Evequoz’s dedication to fencing ensured he left a mark on the sporting world, and he now works as a full-time and professional painter. His work features in galleries in major cities worldwide but is costly.

Jean-Blaise is another example of how athletes from grueling and punishing sports have found purity and calmness in the arts. Enjoying painting, sculpting, and other visual arts is becoming part of the training program at top-level sports, so we’re hoping to see a few more Jean-Blaise Evequoz in the future.

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