New York Times bestselling author Shea Serrano and illustrating partner Arturo Torres are a dynamic duo. Some (the FOH Army, specifically) might even say they’re the greatest one-two punch in sports history.
Their massive hit, The Rap Year Book, chronicled the most important song of every year since 1979. Their followup Basketball (And Other Things) focuses on the NBA with questions asked, answered and illustrated.
Now available for purchase, we can expect consistent quality analysis and streamlined hilarity from the creative powerhouses.
Serrano and Torres are also both known for their incredible presence online.
Much like the past collaborative efforts of Free Darko and Jacob Weinstein, they have helped remind many people to pay attention to the art that matches the story in sportswriting.
In honor of their latest book release, we decided to take a look at Arturo’s Instagram and other talented folks who are posting basketball-themed art on social media. Some are even available for comission on their websites.
Arturo Torres, @ArturoDraws
Torres, as mentioned, has another book with Serano now available in stores. After knocking the illustrations out of the park on The Rap Yearbook, his newest release is entitled Basketball (and Other Things) will be an immediate favorite. His ability to set a scene and depict impeccable personality and attitude in his art is unmatched. He’s also a great follow on all social media platforms.
Website — ArturoDraws.com
Jack Perkins, @PureHoop
Perkins is a prolific artist whose creativity is backed by his unique hustle. He sells shirts that you won’t find anywhere else and incredible screen prints on archival watercolor paper. Each post has its own comic-book-like story and his account has timely posts, like Joel Embiid trusting the process after his recent massive contract extension.
Website — purehoop.bigcartel.com
Ryan Simpson, @RTSIMP
The Charlotte-based graphic designer was featured on ESPN and For The Win. His prints are affordable and for sale on his personal website. Even though he has told Fox Sports he doesn’t consider himself an artist, his work has been some of the most celebrated in the NBA community.
Website — RyanTSimpson.com
Andrew Archer, @AndrewTArcher
Archer was born in Australia and lives in New Zealand. His series “Edo Ball” combines basketball with Japanese culture. His description of Shogun James (above) is fascinating:
“The Shōgun held absolute power throughout Japan for hundreds of years, with dominance comparable to that of a King. Even though the Shogunate within Japan ended in 1868, a new Shogunate begun in the NBA in 2003 lead by LeBron James, who is still in power to this current day.”
While some concepts are surreal, like Sumo Shaq, his art is a fantastic addition to any collection.
Website — AndrewArcher.com
Matthew Hollister, @MatthewHollister
Hollister is a multimedia artist who lives in Seattle. The image above is his contribution to Howze Park, which was commissioned by the Memphis Grizzlies. He has also worked with adidas and Nike and his urban art projects can be spotted around Seattle. His Banana Boat portraits of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade for The Ringer are also particularly fantastic.
Michael Walchalk, @MichaelWalchalk
For this artist, his Instagram bio tells the whole story: “Failed NBA player/Successful Designer and Illustrator.” Like the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, draw ’em. His work has appeared on ESPN social media channels and officially licensed NHL apparel. While the concept of both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant playing for the SuperSonics may break some hearts, it’s still a brilliant concept piece.
Oliver Barrett, @OliverBarrett
His work includes this bizarre portrait of Larry Bird and an entire concept based just on baseball jerks. The Cleveland-born illustrator has often collaborated with ESPN, especially for art focusing on the Cavaliers. For a deep dive into his style, check out his illustrated feature on playground basketball.
Website — ohbarrett.com
FRANCHISe Magazine, @THISISFRANCHISE
This print publication about basketball is available in major cities around the world. Their account has an aesthetic that’s easy to fall in love with, too. Plus, their video producer Keith Fujimoto (also known as OAKLEY & ALLEN) posts edits that’ll make you scratch your head and wonder how someone ever thought to create that kind of absurd, awesome content.
Victor Solomon, @VICTORSOLOMON
If what you like about basketball is the objects of the game, this is your artist. He is also known for extravagance, including a “Literally Balling” series, which includes a basketball zine that’s made with laser-etched brass plates, set stone and gold leaf. And if you ever wanted a solid crystal basketball, this is where you can buy one.
Jeff Cole, @IKONICK
Cole, widely recognized for his sneaker art, is the founder of Ikonick. His art has been featured on sites like Complex, GQ, Hypebeast and Nice Kicks. His latest project is a canvas collection featuring prominent basketball teams. It’s officially licensed by the NBA and is available in various different styles like greeting cards and flags.
Nathan McKee, @nathan_mckee_art
McKee makes me think about the countless hours I would spend as a kid drawing my favorite athletes, which until recently is something I forgot that I used to do so often. His style of handmade papercuts is a refreshing take on what can be a market over-saturated with digital illustrations and intensely Photoshopped designs. There’s a sweet innocent to McKee, which is both nostalgic and also still very relevant.
DunkWire, Andrew Archer, Arturo Torres, Basketball And Other Things, Evergreen, Featured, Franchise Magazine, Jack Perkins, Jeff Cole, Matthew Hollister, Michael Walchalk, Nathan McKee, Oliver Barrett, Ryan Simpson, Shea Serrano, Victor Solomon