For those Met fans that live under a rock Joe Petruccio is responsible for quite a few things you might not know about. He runs a daily blog called My Mets Journal and we recently linked up for a tshirt collaboration. I sent him some questions about the project, his blog and his impressive artwork.
How long have you been a fan? Do you have a favorite player over the years? Watch any other sports?
I am a life long Mets fan and also an artist. For many years I have been chronicling Mets games with an illustration and a commentary to summarize the game. Each year I begin the journey but unfortunately I lose the inspiration to continue after the All Star break. Last year I decided to start a blog and post the journal pages daily. It began with just a few hits from other frustrated fans and today has grown to several thousand a day. Before I knew it the journal was for the first time completed. I have been a Mets fan my whole life and grew up idolizing Tom Seaver. For a teenager growing up in Brooklyn, NY., Tom Seaver was like a rock star for me. Over the years he remains an all time favorite of mine. I am also a Jets, Knicksand Rangers fan.
You are the man behind the old school Met uniforms and they happen to be my favorite of all the different versions. How did that come about?
I was working at an Ad agency at the time. We had the Mets account. I was working on it as an art director. Kind of like a young Don Draper from Mad Men. They asked me to take a shot at re-designing the uniform. I submitted a few sketches and they chose the “Racing Stripe Uniform”. They started wearing it in ’83 and were wearing it when they won the ’86 Championship. I’m very proud of that.
Did you go to school for art or are you self taught?
I went to the School of Visual Arts and graduated in 1980. That’s where I honed my skills but pretty much I have been drawing from the time I could hold a pencil. In elementary school I would draw cartoons for friends and by high school I was painting the backs of denim jackets with rock band album covers. My passion for drawing has been life long and branched out from there.
How do you stay motivated day after day to come up with new entries for your Mets sketchbook? Are you going to publish it this year?
My motivation for the journal comes from the game itself. Every game gives me a different perspective. For every win there is a hero or pivotal moment that has to be depicted in a cartoon and likewise for the losses. The wins leave me with a lighthearted, happy they are still in the running feeling and losses inspire a defeated and almost somber view. That’s the angst of being a Mets fan. I am always hopeful that the journal will be published. I have had several conversations with publishers but I think that a championship season could be what gets the blog more attention.
How do Mets fans or ownership feel about your art? Like ourtshirts they don’t always show the players and ownership in a positive light. Have you ever had any backlash?
Generally, the Mets fan that logs on to the journal blog each day comes for a recap of the game by a fellow fan. I’m not a sports journalist that has to present an objective point of view and just delivers the stats plainly. I put a lot of heart in everything I paint. My emotions are raw after some games and I draw exactly how it is for me. More often than not, I am depicting the same defeated or victorious feelings that others are having. There have been a few times that I have been corrected or chastised by a fan but not by owners. My response to those fans is that the journal is my personal and honest point of view. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, the players and ownership are human being with talents, quirks, injuries, and sometimes they slip up. They’re making most of their decisions for the team from a business angle and I’m going to draw it as I see it. After many games I may not draw the popular angle, but it is my love of the sport that keeps me going.
Now on to our collaboration Tshirt. I am really excited that we finally worked on something together. For those new schoolers out there where did you get the idea?
With the success of the blog I’ve had a lot of requests for t-shirts. I decided to take one of my popular pages and try it on t-shirts. The 7 line t-shirts are hot and your company is run by Mets fans for Mets fans. I can’t think of a better synergy of My Mets Journal and the 7 line producing great quality t-shirts as the canvas. The fact that you are right in the heart of Queens, hand crafting your line in the shadows of the ballbark is what makes this a great collaboration. The Crazy Freddy idea came from and old Store that use to run ads in this area called “Crazy Eddie” on the tv commercial was this guy who was crazy and insane. Considering the state of the Mets the day I drew it, I thought it was perfect. My friend Jon over at espn.com had the same idea so we collaborated a bit and it was posted on my blog as well as espn.com
Is this the first time your artwork has been printed on a tshirt?
Over the years I have had the privilege to work with the Elvis Presley estate as well as Mohammed Ali in producing some beautiful t-shirts and memorabilia. I’ve also worked with the founders of Omni-peace, which is an organization that is trying to break the cycle of poverty in Africa. I am the creator of the logo that omni-peace is using on t-shirts and other various items to raise funds for their humanitarian efforts.
I’d love to work on some other tshirts with you. Do you have anything else in the works?
As far as our collaboration, I think the possibilities are endless, because with each game comes a new victory, defeat, record breaking achievement, or disgrace. I’ll be there to capture them with my watercolors.Who knows? we’ll do something else I’m sure.
Lastly, what are your predictions for the rest of the season. So far the team is beating all expectations and are actually still in it with the All Star Break just about to end. Where do you see them at the end of September?
All I want for the rest of the season is to play exciting ball. I want to see the promise and hope fulfilled on the field. Who knows how far we’ll go this year. Just let’s hope it stays interesting, I always believe we can do something. If Ike,Wright and Santana come back for a good stretch…we could be a little dangerous.
Any thanks or shout outs?
I’d like to give a shout out to the fans. Thank you all for joining me on this journey and also for letting me be a part of your lives and love of our NY Mets! Let’s go Mets!