Tucked in the corner of his office was the most important painting of his career, but when Frank Scicchitano painted Ted Williams, he had no idea where it would one day hang. After consulting a friend and surviving a voting panel, the Ted Williams piece was accepted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where it rotates with other pictures—hanging on a wall reserved for greatness.
With his dad’s love for Williams in mind, Scicchitano painted his famous work in 1997, when he was trying to improve his portfolio. Not thinking anything of it, Scicchitano set the picture aside for years. When his friend offered to buy it and send it into the Hall of Fame, Scicchitano was delighted. After sending in the submission, the painting needed three out of five votes to be accepted, and he was nervous, because the painting meant so much to him.
Later, Scicchitano found out it received the approval of all five judges and would be on view in Cooperstown.
Scicchitano has always been fascinated with art, a passion that was passed down from his father—his biggest inspiration. He admired cartoons, which led him to practice drawing by copying them.
“I loved drawing since I was 5 years old, and I love that I am able to work where I love,” said Scicchitano.
Scicchitano has worked in many different areas of art, illustrating book covers, working for Topps baseball cards, making a Cal Ripken, Jr. plate series. As the job changes and the piece he’s working on shifts, his passion, desire and hard work remain intact. He’s not interested in a reputation, but rather having fun doing something he enjoys.
Scicchitano has never visited Cooperstown to admire his hard work, but he knows his dedication has paid off. While causally flipping through a Beckett magazine—a sports card publication—Scicchitano stumbled upon some cards he designed—it was breathtaking to him; it filled him with joy.
Yes, seeing and admiring his own work was great, but Scicchitano doesn’t dwell on that joy; that’s not what makes him happy.
“It’s great when a client is happy, that makes me happier; it pushes me,” said Scicchitano. “As I get older, I’m still excited everyday; it’s wonderful.”
Scicchitano’s approach to painting a trading card set is unorthodox, but it’s what works for him. When he gets his assignment, he doesn’t draw one card at a time, he keeps a consistent pace with each card. In 2003, he drew a golf set for Upper Deck, which consisted of many Tiger Woods cards. He worked on them all concurrently; it’s how he gets his best work done.
When Scicchitano broke into the business, he was told never to collect cards, because he would become obsessed. He didn’t listen, and because of that, he received the nickname “the card guy,” because he would always be handing out cards to people. It’s just another way Scicchitano’s happiness for what he loves is presented to other people.
Scicchitano mentors young illustrators, hoping to pass along the knowledge and insight he’s acquired over his career.
Scicchitano is still painting constantly. He works for private commissions, while continuing to paint for pleasure.
In his studio, where the Ted Williams painting once sat, there are easels set up, waiting for Scicchitano to paint the next great artwork of
Visit www.tanoart.com for more of Frank Scicchitano’s work.