Project Backboard

Been saying this for a while now, but personal projects are the best, especially when they connect you with other like minded people. Which is certainly the case with Dan Peterson of Project Backboard. He’s been doing amazing things with outdoor basketball courts all over the country. Taking broken down courts and turning them into beautiful works of art that locals are excited to play on. Recently we visited a few of his courts in Los Angeles together, and I was able to talk with him first hand about the process and how things have developed over the years. I really applaud this project and hope that it continues to grow. If you want to check out more of what PB has done, go to their WEBSITE or follow along on their INSTAGRAM PAGE.

If you recognize the bridge in the Watts Oasis images, that’s because it is the very bridge from those famous scenes in White Men Can’t Jump. I personally love that movie and was ecstatic when Dan told me what it was.

Click here to check out some prints from my Hoops Project.

1) Where are you from and what place has basketball taken in your life (prior to Project Backboard) ?

I grew up in suburban NY during the heyday of the great 1990s Knicks teams and ultimately played a year of basketball at Iona College before leaving my official playing days behind.

2) When did you come up with the idea for Project Backboard(PB)? 

Project Backboard wasn't really my idea! I started the work just by painting lines on public courts in Memphis that did not have any just because I loved outdoor basketball.

3) How long/what did it take to get things going for PB? 

I got my first large grant about a year after starting Project Backboard but it was another year before I did the court with William LaChance in St. Louis that really got a lot of attention and opened the door for Project Backboard to become what it is today. 

4) What was the initial reaction? How have reactions changed since you started? 

The initial reaction was overwhelmingly positive and that is the reaction I have continued to get. That said, this style of court has become surprisingly common over the past 12-18 months that the reaction now may be a bit more restrained than the early courts. No one had ever seen anything like the William LaChance court when we first painted it.

5) How have you gone about getting funding for these projects? 

A lot of the courts are funded either by community or corporate foundations.

6) What is the process like from the original idea for a court to the final execution? 

The painting process is different for each court depending on what the artist has in mind for the court artwork. Sometimes its a lot of measuring and straight lines or curves and other times we create a grid across the entire surface of the court and drawing the artwork box by box. 

7) PB has teamed up with some big name companies. How have those relationships come about? 

People reach out and I respond! I am always open to collaborating but the successful projects have been ones were the brands are able to be a little less “corporate” in their approach and allow the artist the freedom to create and lead the project vision. 

8) What is the overall goal for PB?

For every community to have a safe and inviting basketball court. I love outdoor basketball and want to share that with others but, from my perspective, the way that will happen is when individual community members step up to help care for public spaces and hold those charged with maintaining those spaces accountable.

9) Any big projects in the works that you want to share? 

Yes! Looking forward to a few courts in the Bay Area and a court in Puerto Rico along with a handful of others.

10) Random thoughts on PB......

I appreciate all the support and, as I said, always open to collaborating and helping others follow my example so don't hesitate to reach out!

The Basketball Hoops Project

Just a reminder that I'm having a show at Fathom Gallery tonight after the Kobe jersey retirement ceremony at Staples Center. I'll have a bunch of limited edition prints on display, along with some 1/1 signed Kobe game jerseys by a group of really talented street artists. Hope to see you all there! 

HOOPS GALLERY

Fathom Gallery: 110 East 9th St. Suite CL002, Los Angeles, CA 90079

 

 

 

The Basketball Hoops Project

On 12/18/17 the Los Angeles Lakers will be retiring Kobe Bryant's jersey at the Staples Center. If you're around for it, or just live in LA, come by Fathom Gallery afterward. I'll be showing some signed limited edition hoops prints. Alongside my prints will be a bunch of signed one of a kind Kobe jerseys that have been made in art pieces by a number of extremely talented street artists. Hope to see you there!! 

Fathom Gallery. 12/18/17. 9pm-12am. - 110 E 9th St, Suite CL002, Los Angeles, CA 90079

These images were made a few weeks ago during a trip to Indonesia, and won't be in the show, but wanted to post some updated images anyway. For more, check out my HOOPS gallery. 

The Basketball Hoops Project -Fathom Gallery

I always think to myself that any photographer who really gives a shit will invest heavily in personal projects. That's not to say you have to spend a lot of money, but invest yourself. Shoot something that's just for you and let that project develop a life of it's own. You'll be glad you did.  I also think that a photographers personal project begins without even knowing it. In your own time you shoot what you're randomly and naturally drawn to. Then over time, a small collection or series of images comes together that you didn't even realize you were creating. The even greater part is over the same period of time, that body of work naturally grows followers of people with similar interests. Those people can be totally random, but they can also be commercial clients who want to buy your images or pay you to make something similar. That's a win on all levels. No longer are you searching for the right clients. Now the right clients are looking for you.

I don't care who you are, things can get slow from time to time. And what happens during those lows, is that you take assignments you're not right for. Maybe it's not your speciality, or maybe you just don't give a shit? Either way, you shouldn't have taken it because it always shows up in the work. Everyone who views an image can tell if it's right or not. When a photographer wants to make a great image he'll do whatever he can to make it. But when the interest isn't there, or they just took the job for the money, you can see it. I decided a long time ago that I'd rather be broke than take assignments that aren't right for me. I use to take them all the time, and it just led to bad relationships and bad images. Definitely not the kind of thing you want out in the world as a freelance photographer. So I started investing heavily in my own projects while also shooting commercially. And after years of building up different portfolios, all that work is starting to pay off. One of them in particular is starting to get really fun, The Basketball Hoops Project. Last February the project had it's first exhibition in New Orleans for NBA All-Star Weekend. And just recently I signed on with Fathom Gallery in Los Angeles. They will not only be sourcing shows for the project and selling prints, but also seeking commercial licensing. I'm really excited about this partnership, and look forward to seeing where it goes. 

Creating images for the right clients is always fun. For a company to choose you out of all the other photographers in the world is a great compliment. When your personal projects start to take flight though, that's the real reward. Hugh Hefner died yesterday. Calling him a legend would be an understatement. Among the many great things he's ever said, my favorite has to be "Life is too short to be living someone else's dream". 

Go out and create for yourself. 

I made this image back in April of 2011 during a road trip with my mother. At the time the Hoops Project wasn't even a thought. Yesterday though,  after stumbling on this,  it made me wonder if it was? 

THE BASKETBALL HOOPS PROJECT

FATHOM GALLERY

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