Home Run, 1989

Adam tells the story of the first sculpture he sold, a project he made with his father.

I guess you could call this a collaboration between my father and me. It’s also officially the first sculpture I ever sold.

I had a baseball. When I was 22, I moved back in with my parents (didn’t we all?) and while I was there, I set up a shop in their basement and made a lot of art. I also played a lot of pool. One of the things I did was to unravel a baseball all the way to its core and stick it in a gallon jug I bought.

My dad loved it and said I should call it “Home run” and put a sticker on it that said as such. Of course he was right, and I asked him to make the label. My dad’s handwriting always amazed me. He could be scratchy, utilitarian, or calligraphic. When I was 9, they put me in a remedial handwriting class in school because my handwriting was so crappy. It didn’t help. My dad always said to “draw” the letters, rather than write them. I’ve never gotten it.

I’ve actually done typeface design. I can see how his calligraphic line is perfect, having both a fidelity to character and to personality. It’s almost victorian in its perfection. I just can’t, for the life of me, imitate it or even replicate it. My father’s fidelity to the perfect line continues to astonish me.

In 1987, my father, my sister Kate, and I had a show called “Three Savages” in my cooperative gallery, “Points of Departure” in New York. It felt like a great culmination for the three of us to show our work together. My father was such a huge presence, such a huge influence on both my sister and I. It felt like an important moment in time.

I put this piece in that show and it sold opening night to the Lee Lorenz, longtime cartoonist, art editor of the New Yorker, and one of my father’s best friends. I’ll bet he still has it.

My father and I had another show together, at the Callan McJunkin Gallery in my dad’s hometown of Charleston, West Virginia, in 1992.

Comments (36)

36 thoughts on “Home Run, 1989

  1. I have terrible hand writing as well, I blame my kindergarten teacher who taught me to hold a pencil weird.

  2. My handwriting is so terrible as well. It was awesome hearing you write about it. I had to learn and draw letters and practice writing paragraphs in this special font for this Design Drawing class. Took me forever and I hated it so much.

    I respect fonts and handwriting. And I’m horribly picky on the computer. I just never want to spend the time carefully crafting letters when writing by hand.

  3. That’s really cool. I remember trying to get to the core of a baseball once, but they aren’t like they used to be. The twine (or whatever) is very thin and it is layered with some sticky coating on the inside. It isn’t like the big string they used to use.

  4. That is Declaration of Independence font!

    This is a beautiful piece of work Adam, thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to see more artwork up on the site.

  5. Very interesting about the handwriting. My son, who I would consider an artist, has terrible handwriting. When he was a child I also told him to “draw the letters”. It did not help him either. He has some pieces in his first gallery showing right now. If something sells I guess he will be a professional artist at age 18.

  6. This is perfect timing for me to see this article, I am just about to head out to gather things for an assemblage project in sculpture class

  7. That is so awesome! I love the art and your Dad’s handwriting! His advice on drawing the letters is an excellent one! Really glad you and Jamie have started this too!!

  8. It feels to read something from Adam Savage on one of favourite sites. Just out of this world. Welcome!

    My handwriting as absolutely abhorrent. I’ve made a conscious effort to improve it but It just hasn’t improved at all.

  9. The trick to decent handwriting, I think (and mine is pretty bad) is just caring about it. Practicing lines is also a good way to get going. When learning how to sketch, drawing just basic lines is the first thing you get into. trying to draw straight lines freehand, circles and so forth. I’ve recently been trying to learn how to draw, and my handwriting has improved because of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still quite bad, but at least now I see what I need to correct.

  10. Nice, (miss)interpreting art is something that always gives me joy.

    The handwriting is…beautiful, indeed.

  11. Adam, don’t keep me waiting on the whole post! I need the good stuff, and I need it now!

    It’s also a complete coincidence that I’m scratching my arm feverishly right now.

  12. My Dad is the same, his handwriting looks better than any font, he just draws the letters so naturally. Never studied calligraphy, but is often asked to write nametags for special occasions.

    Meanwhile my handwriting is an embarrassment, no matter how hard I try it just seems unreadable, like a 5year old got loose with crayons. Luckily it’s not such an issue these days, I can’t even remember the last time I had to pick up a pen.

  13. Wow! Your dad really does have good handwriting, unlike Adam’s crappy stuff! Shame on you!!! (just kidding)

  14. In grade 10 one of my teachers asked if I was truly left handed and only trying to teach myself to write with my right hand, and in grade 9 I had to read my 10 page short story out loud for my teacher so that he could mark it.

    My parents got me to pratice, even got me a calligraphy book, but my handwriting was only good when I sat and focused on it. And when I focused on it, all other brain functions didn’t work quite as well as they should have. Multitasking… not my forte.

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