Whether it was myself & Marly McFly at the Cards & Coffee booth, Andy Friedman painting athletes and influencers, or Chuck Styles and others making their rounds it was hard to miss the presence of the artists at the National.
Luke The Cardist who most notably is currently featured in Topps 2023 Baseball was spotted with Andy Friedman showcasing a special collaboration between the two of them featuring Bob Ueker. Limited to just 100 copies & dual signed by both artists you were lucky if you got one!
Andy could be seen popping up at various booths doing live paintings of Slab Strong, Dappz Sports as well as athletes Frank Thomas and Brian Urlacher. One thing about Andy Friedman is the guy has a very clear drive and passion for what he does. It’s a joy to see in person.
Lauryn Taylor introduced a new MLB licensed series she created that are oversized cards featuring her breathtaking multi image style. Being a Cubs fan and in Chicago I grabbed the Seiya Suzuki from the set for my PC! The entire set is high quality, vibrant, & displays very well. Highly recommend.
I’m sorry to anyone that wasn’t able to grab one of the limited edition snapbacks I released with Cards & Coffee at their booth, they were gone fast! The snapbacks featured Michael Jordan’s iconic M-AIR-J Illinois license plates from the early 90’s and came with trading cards designed by myself and Marly Mclfy.
If you’re not familiar with the Croatian Twins, I suggest you take the time to do so. Artist Ivan Beslic and his brother Kiki are co owners of BBROTHERS Store located in Germany and are not only a ton of fun to be around but are great people and hobbyists.
Ivan’s art has an obvious raw hip-hop/street feel to it and features sneakers, pop culture characters, and sports stars. One of his favorite pieces I saw was an incredibly moody portrait of the late great Notorious B.I.G.
Both of the Twins could be found all day Saturday in the Ludex VIP lounge along with myself, Chuck Styles, Marly McFly, Lauryn Taylor, Ken Karl, Andy, & Luke The Cardist.
The vibe in the room was off the charts and the response from the collectors couldn’t have been better. It wasn’t hard to enjoy myself being surrounded by such an incredibly talented and inspiring group.
Andy did an amazing job interviewing all of the artists on stage with inquisitive questions that made each of the artists reveal themselves and their personalities.
One of my personal favorite moments during my interview on stage alongside Chuck Styles was when Andy stated that my art “felt like hip-hop” to him. I’ve always loved hip-hop and been inspired by every aspect of the culture. This was music to my ears .
Topps artist Naturel was not present but his art was as The Collaboratory headed by Greg Cummins released a sneak peak drop of 3 artist signature cases in collaboration with Zion Cases. The 3 row cases feature art from Naturel, Chuck Styles, Marly Mclfy, & The Card Carver.
I was very lucky to not only take part in the VIP lounge but also to attend the Beckett dinner and PSA Set Registry Awards. Both invitations were the result of recent partnerships with Beckett and PSA who both are now authenticating and slabbing my signature.
The authentication of my signature is a big step not only for me but the art movement as a whole. As we continue to garner more validation, collectors grow more comfortable with our work and become more accepting of them as not just collectibles but also investments. While each of grows and pushes down our own paths we grow stronger a whole.
Us artists are here to stay, paving the way, creating the cards, the cases, the clothes, the vibes, and the ART that the culture needs and deserves.
This is an exciting time in the hobby and we all should sit back and enjoy being a part of it.
I know I have been.