Chicago Bears Fans: Meet creative artist Matthew Sharpe

Chicago Bears (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

History and Inspiration

DWC: How long have you been into art?

MS: Years. Growing up I loved tearing into packs of cards and stumbling across ones that deviated from the standard ‘base’ look. Didn’t matter if the card was worth $.08 or $80, the visual impact of capturing your favorite players in a totally different perspective was something I fell absolutely in love with.

DWC: What first got you started in creating NFL art?

MS: Boredom, to be honest.

I was working as a user interface designer at a tech startup and felt my skills were going… sideways. To test new concepts (free of client briefs and feedback) I started a small design blog and married it with content I was passionate about – sports. Even though the work was touch-and-go, it gradually improved each day and the audience grew (with football being the focus).

Since then I’ve had the privilege of working with groups like Topps, Sunday Night Football, the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, the CFL and preparing collector’s pieces signed by Tom Brady, Steph Curry, Mike Tyson, and more.

It’s crazy to think of how far it’s come.

DWC: Do you prefer working digitally, or physically, with pen and paper, so to speak?

MS: Digitally, without question. I love the flexibility and forgiveness it allows in the design process. That said, absolutely nothing beats seeing the final result produced in cards, canvases, banners, or other physical items. There’s just something special about that tangible connection.

DWC: How long does a single piece typically take you to create?

MS: It varies depending on the complexity and concept showcased. Some can be as quick as 30 minutes, whereas others can be several hours (or days).