Life After Lax: Blake Jamieson, Portrait Artist

PHOTO BY BRYAN CERDA

Blake Jamieson took a break from his work at his New York City studio to talk about his lacrosse background.


This article appears in the April 2020 edition of US Lacrosse Magazine. Don’t get the mag? Head to USLacrosse.org to subscribe.

The premier portrait artist for athletes, Blake Jamieson’s subject matter only recently gravitated to the sport he started playing in high school in Marin County, Calif.

Lacrosse.

The connection began last year when he connected with Paul Rabil on Twitter.

“He commented that he really liked my work, and I told him that I wanted to break into lacrosse as far as sports portraits go,” Jamieson said. “It was really well received.”

The same could be said for all of his art. 

“I’m a little bit biased,” said Joel Tinney, who has a Jamieson portrait in his Baltimore apartment. “But the work he does is unbelievable.”

Jamieson took a break from his work at his New York City studio to talk about his lacrosse background, breaking into the art world and merging his two interests. 

(Photo courtesy of Dirk Dewachter)







What was your introduction to lacrosse?

I was introduced by my PE teacher in high school, Russ Olsen, who had played. He loved the sport and was always trying to recruit any kids that looked mildly athletic to build the lacrosse program. Growing up, I played soccer and did wrestling, but I didn’t have a spring sport. Staying active year round was important. I grew up in a household where my parents never let me play football because they thought it was too violent. Lacrosse was something that they didn’t really know about, so I was able to get into something with a good amount of physical contact. I remember buying all the pads for the first time, and my mom was like, “What is this sport?” I was pretty small in high school, so I started playing attack. At UC Davis, I ended up playing almost every position.

How did your interest in art take root?

My family is super creative and was always very encouraging to pursue art.  I decided art was something I would do for fun and not necessarily for my career. At UC Davis, I studied economics and took a few art classes as electives just for fun. It was kind of a roundabout path through and after college to get to where I am now. I worked in digital marketing for almost a decade after graduating college with a degree in economics. It was on my 30th birthday that I decided to quit marketing other people’s business and start something that I was passionate and excited to do for myself. 

How did the decision to pursue art full-time come about?

At the time I was living in Phoenix and working for a pretty big corporation doing graphic design and blog content where I had a good amount of creative control. It was a little too much bureaucracy, though. I don’t know if quarter-life crisis is the right word, but I figured my life was going by in one way or another and I might as well enjoy what I’m doing on a daily basis. I planned a five week trip to Barcelona, which is really where I fell in love with the street art scene and started painting.

How did you find your focus? 

I’ve always been drawn to portraits. I just enjoy painting portraits of people more than most things. Part of the magic of painting is capturing what you can’t quite get in a photograph, which is a little bit more emotion. I might be able to add that with creative colors or the style of painting. Athletes are a natural fit for that style of painting.

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