Graig Kreindler, known as “The Painter of the National Pastime,” was presented the United States Sports Academy’s 2018 Sport Artist of the Year, Painter, Award during a public art show and a “Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete” at the Academy.
Kreindler, of Bronxville, N.Y., was presented the honor by Academy Art Committee chair Nancy Raia during the event celebration on the Academy campus in Daphne, Ala. Kreindler unveiled a piece “Putt Putt,” depicting Richie Ashburn of the 1956 Philadelphia Phillies, which is now a permanent part of the American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA) collection.
Kreindler’s work focusing on the quaint ballparks, lively personalities and dominating teams in baseball’s history has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sporting News and on the YES television network.
The artist’s relationship with baseball began at an early age. His parents, both New York Yankees fans, named him after third baseman Graig Nettles. As a budding young artist Kreindler was inspired by his father’s baseball card collection and in particular, the 1940s cards that used illustrations instead of photographs of featured players.
“As a young kid I was drawing cartoons and superheroes, but when I saw those cards I realized that I could also take my love of art and draw Mickey Mantle and do something to make my father smile,” Kreindler said. “That has carried me on for my entire life. I’m 38 years old and even today when I do a painting – whether it’s a Yankee or not – I’m still thinking of my father.
“Being recognized for doing something that I love and that I have done for my father is just amazing,” Kreindler said. “I want to thank everyone at the Academy. Everyone I’ve met has been incredible. This is a highlight that I’m not sure I will ever be able to top. I am truly grateful.”
The event was part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which honors those who have made significant contributions to sport in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Medallion Series, Athletes of the Year and Alumni of the Year awards.
Kreindler is widely known for his nostalgic paintings that capture in remarkable detail the simpler bygone days of sport. To Kreindler, no other sport embodies the relationship between generations and the sense of community like baseball. His goal is to portray the national pastime in an era when players were accessibly human, and the atmosphere of a cozy ballpark was just as important as what happened on the field. He is proud to act as a visual historian and his award-winning sports work has appeared in juried shows and museums nationwide, as well as having been featured in nationally distributed books, newspapers, magazines, and both Internet and television featurettes.