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