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Tinkelman poster of Carmen Basilio

artwork by Murray Tinkelman

The second part of my conversation with Murray had to do with his own work and what he’s doing now.

Are you doing any gallery work now? No, no I’m not interested in that. I get invitations to gallery shows and if it’s a group situation I’ll submit something or by invitation I contribute something. But my projects, my self-initiated projects are about things I’ve been in love with since I was a kid. A pre-pubescent that grew up in Brooklyn. So when you say Dodgers I’m not thinking about the imposters that are out here…I have have friends that are my age pushing at eighty shifted their allegiance to the LA Dodgers. I said you’re a schmuck. How irrational is that? It’s like rooting for your accountant when he runs off with your wife! It makes no sense!(Much laughter followed)         So back on subject….The projects I come up with are the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950’s. So I did portraits mainly of the living Dodgers and had the players sign them. I met Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider and I had a one-man show at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which was…I died and went to heaven. So you just initiated that and went to them. Yes yes and it’s all part of the phenomena of baseball card shows . I have every Dodger baseball card from the year I was born in 1933 to 1957 when they left for LA.

Wow, My mother threw most of mine away. That’s what mothers are for! (more laughter) ..So I would go to the autograph shows and I had Carl Erskine and the others sign the prints. I met Don Newcomb and Roy Campenella before he died.poster of Dodgers 1955 series winners He signed with that electronic device he had because of his paralysis. One of my greatest memories…I did a 16×20 print, of Ebbets field with three ovals above it and I had the three winning pitchers of the 1955 World Series in each oval; Johnny Podres, Clem Labine and Roger Craig. That’s when the Dodgers finally won the series in Brooklyn. I was in a motel room with a stack of prints with the three of them signing. I paid them a fee to do it.
What about other projects? I did a series of 1950’s boxers like Jake La Motta and Carmen Basilio, Willie Pep great champions and I had them autograph the entire edition. And the editions were 150 and here I’m in a room with Jake La Motta the “raging bull” who was really a dufus…I mean he wasn’t stupid but he was mean-spirited. He hijacked me..raising the price at the last minute.biker poster by Tinkelman
I also had a show about artists who ride motorcycles at the Society of Illustrators and it was featured in the magazine Upper and Lower case. So I just come up with something…what do I want to do and I do it.
My last series…I haven’t done anything with it yet.. is movie monsters, like King Kong who was born in 1933 the same as I was. And the Creature of the Black Lagoon and Dracula… Will you have King Kong sign the print? Just a paw print.

And do you have to get the rights to do the prints? … Let me tell you a great story. The LA Dodgers brought suit against an artist I know who did some Brooklyn Dodgers prints…a cease and desist, you cannot do this, we own the Dodgers. The case came before a judge in Brooklyn and the judge said NO…you do not own Brooklyn, you’re from LA…go home.
I’ll stop here and I want to make a comment about rights. If you choose to do something like Murray did it may be a good idea to run this issue by an attorney to be safe. There is no way to know if someone will do anything about you using images you don’t own or not but it is always best to be safe and not to take chances where you risk heavy financial fines.

To see more of Murray’s work