My First Piece of Jiu Jitsu Art & How It Came About
I’ll start at the beginning. Way, way back, when my little brother Eric and I were kids, we really wanted to be ninjas. We made Chinese stars and swords and bow and arrows and really wanted those claws that attach to your hands and feet to climb trees but my parents weren’t letting that happen.
Early on, we got obsessed with Karate and everything Bruce Lee and entered Martial Arts tournaments. Most drawings in my notebooks had doodles about Ninjas and Karate.
I got to almost Brown Belt and won some minor trophies but I eventually quit. Skateboarding won out. But Eric went on to eventually become a Black Belt.
Then 1993 happened and the world of Martial Arts got rocked when Royce Gracie came onto the scene at UFC 1. I think few could argue that was the event, the man and the year that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu changed the Martial Arts forever.
Eric and I needed to learn this grappling method. We chipped in and bought VHS tapes to learn at home. We actually did pretty well with that all things considered and eventually found classes in NYC with Craig Kukok.
Then…we got to meet our hero…Royce himself….
Long story short, I stuck with it for another couple years until my surfing obsession and my art career took over my obsessive mind and my priorities shifted gears. But Eric (now a 6th degree black belt in Yuu-Gou Ryu) stuck it out with BJJ and still trains, kicks ass and co-owns and runs a Martial Arts Academy in Jackson, NJ called The Karate Dojo with my Dad Paul. Eric and his instructors teach MMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Karate.
So, come full circle, now I’m this art guy and I’ve been wanting to do a Jiu Jitsu Art piece for years but just haven’t gotten around to it. That is, until I get a call from Tyler Bosard, head of Gracie Barra Brownsville, Texas. Tyler is an instructor, a competitive fighter, dedicated surfer and a fan of my artwork.
Tyler told me about his vision to have a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu inspired painting done in my painting style. He wanted to be the first to own one. We talked at length about his ideas and he ultimately commissioned me to make it happen. Tyler showed me pics of some BJJ moves that he was known for and then he set me free to do my thing with total artistic license.
I channeled my admiration for Jiu Jitsu and the beach and over the next month or so I painted. I took scenes from my mind from when I was on the beaches in Brazil in 2007 and 2010. I remember clearly the beautiful cliffs and mountains that overlooked the sea. All of those memories presented themselves to me to take form as a backdrop for the painting.
I wanted the piece to be a little more on the realistic side but with some of my characteristic elongation and stylization. I wanted the painting to make people feel the warm sunset and have it balanced between tranquility and power. Afterall, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is about creativity, leverage and flow of movements over pure brute strength. So I wanted the piece to reflect that.
So here it is, “Beach Sweep”. The original painting now hangs in Brownsville, Texas, but I am now releasing a limited edition run of signed and numbered prints. Click the image link below to view options.