Walter Payton the Inspiration for "Sweetness," Artwork Composed of Football Cards

Walter Payton the Inspiration for “Sweetness,” Artwork Composed of Football Cards

 ImageCard collecting has long been considered an art form by those who spend years completing sets or obtaining the cards for a specific player or team. Artist Nicholas Schleif has taken a more literal view of this concept, creating an image of former Chicago great, Walter Payton, using 1,152 football cards.

The cards used in the image came from friends and family as well as Schleif's own personal collection. Schleif's collection contributed 13 of the 20 Payton cards that were used in the portrait and there is at least one card from each year that Payton played including his rookie card. The piece measures 10 ' x  7', or roughly 48 x 24 cards.

When the NFL Hall of Fame informed Schleif that they had no room to display the piece, he contacted the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation and later donated 1,000 prints.

The Payton Foundation is a group that helps underprivileged kids in the Chicago area. The original piece, entitled "Sweetness" after Payton's nickname, has been displayed at the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago and at the Chicago Bears' Draft party this year.

Prints measuring 24" x 19" are available for purchase for $134 through the Payton Foundation. Prints are numbered out of 1,000 and contain the signatures of both the artist and Connie Payton, Walter's wife. Visit the foundation's website for more information or to purchase the print.

Nicholas Schleif is a Minnesota native who has experimented with a variety of objects to create his artwork, including pennies, condoms, cigarette butts and McDonald's food packaging. More information on Schlief can be found at his website.

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1985 Dallas Cowboys Fleer Football Action Card Ed Jones Hits Walter Payton
$1.69
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1981 TOPPS #264 WALTER PAYTON-DAN HAMPTON CHECKLIST PSA 9 F1624700-242
$7.99
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NFL Team Lot: 25 Cards of Chicago Bears from 1980s - 2000s Walter Payton
$3.50
3606089124894040 1 Image
1994 Sports Illustrated for Kids II #321 Walter Payton Bears B47410
$9.97
3606089125644040 1 Image
1993 Legends #32 Walter Payton Bears B47411
$9.97
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1991 PRO-SET FOOTBALL-4 INSERTS:WALTER PAYTON,RED GRANGE,JIM THORPE, OTTO GRAHAM
$6.99
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2001 Topps Chrome Refractor Commemorative Series Chicago Bears Walter Payton
$9.99
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Walter Payton 3 Card Lot 1987 Topps, 1984, Topps, & 1981 Topps All NM-M+!!
$7.99



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Trey Treutel is an Ole Miss grad and a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. As an adult, he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim, and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options. Find Trey on Twitter at @datreute.

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