Paine Proffitt

Cecil by Paine Proffitt
Ralph by Paine Proffitt
Casper by Paine Proffitt
Tiger by Paine Proffitt
Rives Gauche by Paine Proffitt
An English Pedigree by Paine Proffitt
Double Espresso by Paine Proffitt
French Fancy by Paine Proffitt
Worth Waiting For by Paine Proffitt
Only One For Me by Paine Proffitt
Casanova by Paine Proffitt
5pm Kingsley Street by Paine Proffitt
Taken Flight by Paine Proffitt
Late Day Siesta by Paine Proffitt
There’s not many living, contemporary artists who can say that global singing superstar (and one fifth of Take That), Robbie Williams is a fan/owns a piece of their work. Perhaps a few more exponents of certain modern genres can name drop the likes of Olympic and Tour de France cyclists, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, but then does their other works hang in such prestigious venues as West Bromwich Albion, Aberdeen, Port Vale, Huddersfield Town, Notts County and Grimsby Town Football Clubs? Probably not. Or list the Museum of Rugby at Twickenham, England International Rugby Board, Deloitte & Touche in Philadelphia, USA, the Universal Health Services in Valley Forge, USA, Mirabella’s Restaurant in Philadelphia, USA, Sofitel Hotel AGAIN in Philadelphia, USA as well as the W Hotel, City Center in Chicago, USA amongst previous clients? And what about publications in which their work’s routinely appeared; like for example, FourFourTwo Football Magazine (2007, 2011), Rugby World Magazine (2007), The Guardian Newspaper (2013), In Bed With Maradonna (2013), The Inside Left, FHM Magazine (2011) and Artists & Illustrators Magazine (2006, 2007)?? And don’t forget the awards. New York Society of Illustrators, Print Magazine Regional Design Award, RISD Illustration Award, Press Club of Cleveland Award, Delaware Design Award to name but a handful. NOW THAT’ A HELLUVA INTRO!

Proffitt – born in Phoenix, Arizona, US of A in 1972 – only moved to Blighty a little over a decade ago, although he did study on British shores back in 1994, when he completed his degree in Illustration at the University of Brighton. If the name rings any bells, that may well be because he’s the son of novelist and war correspondent, Nicholas Proffitt. Due to his father’s career, the Proffitts were an almost nomadic family, with Proffitt junior recalling spells living in (at times) seemingly hostile locations around the world, like for instance Saigon, Kenya and Beirut. His family eventually settled in Philadelphia when he was 14 years old, although since then – and as aforementioned – Proffitt has relocated to England on a couple of occasions.
From putting down his roots here in the UK – Near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire for the record – Proffitt has dedicated much of his time to his particular brand of contemporary sports art, focusing specifically in the illustrative realm of football. But more than that Proffitt’s artistic aim is to portray the life of the working man, and elects to use association football more times than not to convey graphically emotive topics; the majority of which are set in times gone by. Why Proffitt chose football as his creative means is answered and encapsulated in but the single sentence by the hugely popular artist himself; “Football is central to who we are and where we come from.” According to Proffitt; which is something that can’t really be argued with when put like that.
In terms of his default pictorial style Proffitt would be the first to admit that he’s long been inspired by both the Cubist and Surrealist art movements and readily cites Chagall and Picasso among his greatest influences. That said, he doesn’t consciously conform to any specific movement’s considered house styles or ethos and certainly shies away from ascribing himself to any one school of art, yet along with the abovementioned feels that contemporary naïve art are the best movement in which to identify with his work should people wish to label him. Of course labels follow all artists around, whether they like it/agree or not, and some critics and fans align his work more to the works of L S Lowry; if only for the depiction of his resolutely northern working-class themes. Elsewhere, and Proffitt’s signature compositions also seem to possess shades of Fred Otnes, with this being most apparent in the collage work Proffitt produced under the pseudonym of Nicholas Hudson Paine. Whichever and whatever way Proffitt has been/continues to be inspired, one thing isn’t left to circumspect and that’s the mediums in which he perpetually favours. That predominantly being acrylics, which Proffitt constructs layers of on his noted canvases. The colour and texture is steadily built up over a period of several days before the details, collage elements and lettering are added.
What many contemporary sports art fans would surely like to know is just how Proffitt’s art came to the attention of the football fraternity as such and how he ended up being responsible for a raft of club matchday programmes and associated artwork and featured/interviewed by leading football publications here in the UK. Well, according to the American-born artist himself, Proffitt started speculatively approaching fine art galleries with a view to showcasing his initial works, only experiencing mixed results. Patience paid off though, as after a while – and as both his skillset and confidence to pitch increased – Proffitt’s work was starting to gain wall space in galleries. Then he took it upon himself to broaden his approach and change his tactics a little, by hawking his highly illustrative wares around football clubs; from the outset to see if the clubs or matchday programme publishers would entertain his artwork. Thinking back to that make-or-break time, Proffitt recounts that is was the case of turning up and saying; “Hello, this is what I do, here is where you can see samples of my work, can I work with you?”
One of the clubs Proffitt gingerly approached in the beginning was West Midlands-based Premier League outfit, West Bromwich Albion, whose programme editor gave the budding sports artist his first taste of success. Suitably impressed by what he witnessed he invited Proffitt to design and originate the covers for the programme, and was subsequently commissioned to produce the cover artwork for West Brom’s programmes at that juncture forth. Thereafter, and as Proffitt’s reputation for generating these unique, quirky and very traditional-looking covers spread to other clubs across the country, other clubs/potential clients started beating a path to his Staffordshire door with offers of more matchday programme art briefs; including Port Vale and Aberdeen.
The former being the club Proffitt supports and geographically, the closest to his home in fairness. Indeed, Proffitt underlines his allegiance to The Valiants by adding; “It’s my local club and the one that feels like ‘home’ to me, although it took me a long time to find it”. He goes on to say; “When I first moved here, I could see the floodlights of Vale Park from my house but I never went to a match. Instead, I tried a few of the bigger clubs and, while I fell in love with football, the fit didn’t feel right. After a few years I took a job as a steward at Port Vale and the club got inside my blood”.
Clearly caught up in the country’s continuing love affair with the national game, Proffitt’s stylized vintage poster-themed programmes are very much in demand now, and talks of how original publications from the 1920s and 1930s inspired his graphic choice today. Describing his passion for what he calls ‘the old-fashioned imagery of the players in their classic kits, the colours, the brown leather boots and ball, the history and old-fashioned feel of it all’ Proffitt is obviously smitten with the history, memories and root tradition of the beautiful game. He regularly scours salerooms and the like for anything and everything design-wise from that golden period to get his creative juices flowing, and routinely refers to old books, fashion magazines and posters, football memorabilia, programmes and cigarette cards and music and photos as part of his research and preparation ahead of each new piece.

View All Art Works By Paine Proffitt