Throughout my career, art and sport have paralleled one another. I studied Painting while catching on an NCAA Division 1 athletic scholarship with the Hofstra University Women’s Softball team. I continued my education by earning a BFA in Painting at Pratt Institute and a MFA in Painting from Hunter College. My catching career continued by winning World and National Championships with TEAM USA Women's Baseball and The Stratford Brakettes. Soon after completing my MFA, I moved my studio to upstate New York. During this time, I transitioned from ballplayer to umpire. I began umpiring baseball and softball in Endicott, New York which further fueled my artistic fascination with depicting the strike zone.
Now as an umpire, I have incorporated: jargon, rubbing mud, rules, statistics, pitching string, athletic tape, shoe polish, cigar burns, the velocity of pitches, and bruise marks. I juxtapose geometric with organic imagery to contrast the necessary human elements of umpiring with the newest technologies. The work takes viewers through the layers of innings of pitches with colorful impressions.
Of all the sports I had participated in, it was baseball that captured my imagination. Through catching and hitting, I developed a reverence for the strike zone. As I worked on my MFA thesis exhibition, The Flexibility of Time and Space in Baseball, I began to focus my sports art on the subjective nature of the strike zone. I discussed how time in baseball does not traditionally operate on a clock, but rather on innings and pitch counts. Mark making, color coding and abstraction were immediate expressions for this language I was developing. As a former catcher and an umpire, I felt that drawing and painting the strike zone provided a unique perspective.
Over the years, I have exhibited my work in New York City, Upstate New York, and Florida. I also earned a New York State K-12 Art Education Teacher Certification. I have taught for over 20 years in public school, children's museums, privately, and for numerous sports organizations. - Jen Pawol