If you’ve followed me on social media or here in my blog over the course of my career, you know that I have a number of different interests outside of football.
For those of you who are getting ready to troll me and tell me I should be training 24/7, having other interests doesn’t mean that I don’t take football seriously. I love football. I put everything I’ve got into training and playing. At the same time, I’m also a human being who’s involved in other things.
One of those things is art.
My interest in art has been there since childhood. Originally, as a kid, I wanted to be a cartoonist. My dream job, I imagined, was working for Disney. On Saturday mornings, my mom put me in some art classes, and I learned how to sketch and express myself creatively. It also taught me about perspective, and about looking at things in different ways, and appreciating things that other people might overlook.
As an adult, I actually wound up getting into the art world. I started visiting museums and art galleries. I began collecting photographs, sculptures and paintings. And the passion and love for art that I had a child resurfaced.
So, after a couple of years of wanting to make my own art again, I finally decided to do it.
On July 18th and 19th in Los Angeles, I’m having a show at Hamilton-Selway Fine Art. It’s going to be made up of my photography — pictures I’ve shot during my travels around the world.
It’s something I’m extremely excited about, and it would probably not be happening without the encouragement I got from my friend, the artist Michael Kalish.
I met Michael through a mutual friend of ours back around 2008, purchased some of his art, and got to know him personally. It turned out to be one of those relationships that I’m sure we all have — where you meet someone, and everything’s easy, like you’ve known them forever. He’s just a salt-of-the-earth guy.
Not too long ago, we had dinner in Los Angeles after I got back from a trip abroad. I was sharing some of the sketches I’d done while traveling, along with photographs I had taken.
Out of the blue, he asked, “Have you ever thought about doing your own show?”
To be honest, I was kind of baffled by the statement. My first reaction was that he was just a friend being nice. But he kept on. He said that he thought I had some talent, and that I could actually do a show of my own.
“If you let me help you,” he asked, “would you be willing to share your art?”
It was kind of hard to say no to an offer like that.
So I’ve been working on preparing for this show, on and off, ever since. Preparing has been an amazing experience. I’ve learned a lot about the creative process. It’s been surprising. Sometimes, you have a vision on how you want something to look, or how you want it to turn out. But due to some creative steps in the process, things change. Sometimes, those changes actually turn out to be even better than what you first thought. (Sometimes, they don’t.) But the entire experience has really sparked my interest in doing more. I’ve been overwhelmed with ideas and thoughts and possibilities of where I want to go next.
I’m also really looking forward to the show. I almost feel like I did when I was an NFL rookie, trying to prove myself in 2004. I’m all in, ready to learn, improve and evolve. A lot of people that have been helping me get prepared for the night keep saying, “You just don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” I just keep laughing. It’s true. I don’t know. I’m all right with that. I’m going in bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and eager to find out. And I want the art I’ve made to speak for itself.
So if you’re in the Los Angeles area that weekend, come by and check out the show. It’s open to the public. I’m eager to hear what you think.