Art imitating Reggie: Epic night depicted in 3-D piece
Famed artist Fazzino honors slugger's three-homer game in 1977 World Series
NEW YORK -- When putting the thought into his latest work of art, Charles Fazzino was hardly unfamiliar with the topic.
The Bronx native and longtime Yankees fan -- "Even back when they weren't doing great," he says -- captured New York legend and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in his latest piece of 3-D Pop Art, "Mr. October -- A Tribute to Reggie Jackson."
Mr. October himself, along with dozens of others on Thursday night, was on hand for the unveiling of the commemorative piece. It will be on display at the All-Star Game next month in Kansas City before touring galleries around the country.
"When a guy looks at you and your career and decides you're worth his time and efforts," Jackson said, "I was thankful."
Fazzino, who graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York, has been specializing in this form of art for more than 30 years. His colorful, detail-oriented, three-dimensional pieces are on display in hundreds of museums and galleries in more than 20 countries.
He has done pieces that portray city skylines, popular culture, religion and celebrities, but has made a name for himself in the sports world alone. He has chronicled much of the sporting world in New York -- the Belmont Stakes, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field are among past subjects -- but has also rolled out pieces regularly for MLB All-Star Games, Super Bowls and Olympics.
"My style of art is sort like a pop-out children's book gone wild," Fazzino said. "It is also sports art meets fine art. I try to bring the two of them together, two things I really love."
The Jackson piece, which will eventually be signed by former and current Yankees with all proceeds to benefit the Mr. October Foundation for Kids, depicts the three home runs that the slugger hit during the World Series title-clinching Game 6 against the Dodgers in 1977.
It features renderings of newspaper clippings highlighting Jackson's career in pinstripes, a depiction of Yankee Stadium and other memories from the Hall of Famer's 21-year career.
Just five of those seasons came in New York, 1977-81, but he was an All-Star in each of those years and is widely recognized in Yankees lore.
"New York's always been a special place for me and will always be a special place for me," said Jackson, today a special adviser with the Yankees."
Jackson was the American League MVP in 1973 with the Athletics, and belted 563 home runs in his career. But few are more famous than the three he hit on Oct. 18, 1977.
"Reggie Jackson is an icon and I've been, for the last couple years, doing paintings of icons," Fazzino said. "Reggie has become an icon. People know him. He's a great guy. We've known each other for a while and I really wanted to commemorate his career."
The admiration is mutual.
"To have Charles do a piece for me is like a brand on my arm or a stripe on my sleeve," Jackson said. "Any time he does something for you, it's very special. ... It's just a great piece. I'm very proud of it."