Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Cardart without borders

As a creative-type card collector, I've longed to get into the #cardart scene that popped up during the pandemic. I've whipped up tons of customs over the years, but "making cards" without relying on photoshop and a printer is a whole 'nother ballgame. Took a while, but I think I've found my niche with border art. I take cool (but cheap) cards with plain borders and fill them it, either as "full bleed" imagining a larger image, or as a "mashup" inspired by a different design, by just drawing on them freehand. I gave a sneak peek in my previous post with some early attempts, but this post is more of an official "opening" of my would-be gallery. Check it out...

Rickey's 1989 Topps Traded is one of his best-looking cards and quickly popped to mind when this idea first hit me.

Fun to use some imagination filling in the catcher with his hand up Boggs' butt.

Now we're into the mashups. 1985 Donruss is one of my favorite designs to vandalize cards with, as seen last post.

The Topps/Donruss 1988 mashup is another go-to of mine. These make my brain go "Wait, what?" for a millisecond when I look at them (which I like). If I'm distracted, I turn them over expecting to see the standard Donruss back, lol.

Some of my early efforts with Upper Deck cards, including unsolicited collaborations with Vernon Wells, Sr.

This series making Bo Jackson's 1988 Topps card even bluer might be my favorite so far. You can bet I'll be doing more of these.

I even classed it up with a special stamp. Every card I draw on is finalized by having the back stamped, signed, and dated with the year. I don't bother to "number" them because I want to be free to repeat myself if I want to, but I suppose technically speaking they're all "1/1" since I couldn't repeat my freehand drawing exactly, even if I tried.

Still unemployed after getting laid off earlier this year, I would love to work this artsy endeavor into a side-hustle that could help subsidize my hobby purchases at the minimum, or ideally even create a little stream of household income and help me squeak by without getting another dreaded real job for the time being. I'm hoping that these, along with my other cardboard creations such as the creamy 1991 Fleer mods, will find a market for "homemade parallels" or whatever you wanna call this style of cardart. After not seeing much interest on Etsy, I updated my eBay account to let me start selling on there again for the first time in years and have slowly started putting together a few listings.

You can check out my stuff on eBay at https://www.ebay.com/usr/breakdowncards

I'm hoping to add new stuff weekly, if not daily, until I've got a decent selection available. And I'd love to work out off-eBay deals for this stuff, too, so feel free to get in touch regarding a trade, purchase, or commission-request and we can hammer out a deal. (I'll likely add a cardart section to my Trade Bait Page soon.)

I've got a lot of ideas cookin' up that I'm excited about-- border art and beyond-- so expect more stuff from me over the next while. Hopefully you don't hate it! :)

Friday, June 23, 2023

Tony Gwynn #19!

Following up on the post a few weeks ago where I began logging my Tony Gwynn collection at the Trading Card Database, I'm more or less wrapped up now. Unfortunately I fell short in my lofty goals of either hitting 1k cards and/or cracking the top 10 in the site's rankings. But I ended up with a pretty cool consolation.

Yep, I'm ranked #19 on the site! I will rep this prestigious "jersey number" position with pride. I know collectors sometimes toggle their collections between public and private, and so there could be a shakeup at any time that either bumps me up or down, but I'll hope to stick around at #19 for a while if I can. (...not that it means anything, just a fun little thing to smile about.)

Currently I'm just narrowly above #20 (another guy, like myself, on the cusp of 900 unique TG cards) and about 40 cards from #18. It puts me in the funny position of not wanting to add a bunch of new Gwynns, thereby possibly forfeiting my special rank. But yeah, I would like to eventually hit a thousand cards. Tony is my "top guy" after all. But my hobby funds/interest gets pulled a lot of ways, with me working on those pricey Topps Retired refractor autos, ATFF refractors, and several vintage setbuilds in addition to having a bunch of "PC guys" of varying priority. I wonder if that YoRicha guy at #1 has time for other hobby interests, or if being a Tony Gwynn supercollector consumes his entire experience in the hobby.

Anyways, let's take a look at some more cool Tony Gwynn cards.

I didn't collect in 1995, so when it was time to sort out to this pair of cards, I was sure one must be a parallel. The card on the left has "Extreme Corps" in rainbow lettering, while the card on the right features the same text all in red. But nope, TCDB considers these the same exact card. Turns out 1995 Stadium Club used multi-colored foil that resulted in variances like this but they aren't considered unique cards. Ha, try telling that to a player collector with 2 different looking cards! If I did a "my count" of my Gwynn collection, it'd likely hit a thousand already, counting things that TCDB doesn't, such as the above foil variant, plus a bunch of customs, mods, and other unofficial variations and whatnot that might not be considered "real cards" but are close enough for me.

Logging my cards also gave me the opportunity to "see what's out there", and discovering this "Complements" insert from 1999 Finest on TCDB lead me to search out one. There are 3 flavors of this card: full refractor, or having the refraction limited to either side. I had never heard of a partial refractor before, and as I've been becoming more of a refractor enthusiast in recent years, was compelled to look around for a good deal on one, and lucked into this "Gwynn refractor / Boggs not" in my latest COMC order that arrived a few days ago. I'm really tempted to peel off the protective coating, especially seeing how it's directly over Tony. If I had gotten this for my Wade Boggs PC, I'd feel better just leaving it. Should I do it? Gah, the collector's conundrum.

But when I've got a dupe of a card with a protective film? Then it's an easy call to peel. I pick to peel the one where the text is most obtrusive. The above pair aren't too bad (top half of body unaffected), but I went with the card on the right since the text covers more of Tony.

That looks a lot better. I should probably be less precious with my protective films and just remove them from any "keeper" of mine. It's my understanding that chrome cards all still get manufactured with a similar protective film, but they remove it before packing it out now rather than leave it to the collectors since we can't be trusted to do it ourselves, lol. (But yeah, I get it, if that's how it comes from the manufacturer, then to peel is technically altering the card from its original, packed-out state... if that means anything to you.)

Speaking of altering cards, I think I've found my niche in the "cardart" landscape: Border art.

I've been going nuts making "mashups" or "full bleed" artsy homemade parallels lately. Tony is typically my guinea pig for stuff like this since I have so many dupes of his junk-era cards. I know these are silly (and no doubt some collectors look down on the cardboard vandalism), but it's fun getting creative turning a dupe into something that's no longer a dupe. And sometimes they turn out pretty cool looking!

Ok ok, let's go ahead and peel that '99 Finest.

Ahh! That looks terrific and so much nicer without the tire tracks over Tony!

To close us out, here's a card that just arrived today (actually it's still out for delivery as I draft this post and it feels like I'm tempting fate by typing that I already have it because you never know, but I'll snap a pic as soon as I get it) and it's a big one, hitting multiple bullseyes for me.

Boom! I've been picking up 2005 Topps Pristine Legends refractors at an accelerated clip over the past few months, now nearly a third of my way through completing a refractor parallel setbuild of the 140-card set of past greats. This card was a need towards that project.. plus San Diego State cards of Gwynn are kinda like the closest thing I have to a "focus" in that PC. I showed off my SDSU Gwynns recently, coinciding with this year's Aztecs making an incredible run to the Final Four. As seen in that post, I already had the base version of the card (graced with a faded in-person auto, to boot) and I'm happy to be able to pair that with the refractor now, a whale I had been after. Helps make for a satisfying conclusion to getting my Gwynns logged. #19, Baby! I'll take it.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Been at this for a decade now

Hey, here are some cards I got in trade from my buddy Dennis at TMV. He found some autographs he was interested in from my trade bait page, and we were able to hammer out a deal that resulted in big help to vintage setbuilds of mine. 

I've been after a second-year Garvey for a long time. Needed it for my set (129 cards left to go.. pretty much all high numbers or variations), plus he's a solid PC guy of mine thanks in no small part to his Padres tenure (growing up in San Diego in the '80s, as I did). Being a tough high-number, I'm unlikely to score a dupe for the PC anytime soon, so I'll be content with just the one.

And how about another Dodgers legend? Freshly-minted Hall of Famer Gil Hodges was probably the biggest name left on my '57 Topps needs. Just 80 more cards left to go, and none of those should run me much into double digits. I should probably hit that quest harder, hunting down deals on my remaining needs and finally sticking a fork in what's my longest-running setbuild. --Scratch that, my blog archives reminded me that 1964 Topps was in the works (and still is) when I officially declared I'd be trying to complete a set of 1957 Topps back in February 2017.

Typically when I get a player's '57 Topps card, that's my oldest card of the guy, with my collecting focus not often stretching back past the 60s, but I'm very happy to own a beat-up Bowman rookie of Gil Hodges. Cool to add another playing-days card of the man.

Anyways, those 2 cards would have been fine in exchange for the pair of autographs Dennis was interested in, but he kindly threw in another cardboard heavy-weight to take the return over the top...

Yes, the Klutts rookie second-year! This was the main hurdle in finishing my 1978 Topps build. Just 34 cards left there, nearly all commons.

And for good measure, a new Gavin and 12/25 card from the set containing the most Christmas Cards ever, 2008 Topps Moments & Milestones. Chase Utley, not too shabby.

Thanks again for the trade, Dennis! Always a pleasure.

- - -o

I had some other Gavins and Christmas Cards I've been meaning to post about, so I guess I'll do that here. The below were all eBay buys. I don't focus as much these days on either minicollection, though once in a blue moon I'll do a search and see if I can find anything cool cheap. But I also have a saved search for cards that are both Gavins and 12/25.. and are autographs. Like this pair..

Gavin Williams again on the left. He's likely to crack the majors this year with Cleveland. And a pitcher named Gavin Stone (whom I also have a 12/25 auto of) made his debut for the Dodgers earlier this year. Two new MLB Gavins in the same year?! What a time to be alive. As a kid growing up with it being an uncommon name, never thought I'd see that day.

A better look at the numbering. The other guy, Gavin Stedman, is still an amateur, so we'll see if he ends up doing anything notable in the sport. Remember back when I collected Gavin Lux as an amateur? Then he was a 1st round pick and did well in the minors and his cards were really hot there for a moment? (I didn't sell any of his cards then, not even my dupes *kicking myself*) And then he struggled and then got hurt, and now his cards aren't worth much? The cardboard lifecycle. Now that I've been back in the hobby for over a decade, I've seen it plenty of times, and it's probably why I don't mess with modern cards much anymore.

This trio of Christmas Cards are the result of some more bids that came out on top. I don't collect Nick Fortes, just taking a flyer on a cheap 12/25 RC. Dick Williams is a PC guy (Pads in the Hall), and I don't think I had a relic of his, so that helped me go after this ugly card featuring a b&w photo of Dick with his back turned pooping out a white swatch. I sure don't chase modern Pinnacle at all (honestly never that big on Pinnacle even in its prime), but it was the cheapest Juan Soto christmas card I could find, so I went for it.

- -o

Oh, it's my 10 Year Blogiversary today, June 15. Normally I'd make a bigger deal of it, but I'm more in a working-on-stuff mindset at the moment, with some creative projects in the works that I'm excited to share soon. I'll try to do a "celebrating 10 years of Baseball Card Breakdown" thing later this summer, perhaps with a contest/giveaway aspect. But can't get to that today.

Oh wow, it's not serious, but technically speaking I just now found out I have cancer while working on this post. It's just a little basal cell skin irritation on my back that needs a 15-minute procedure to burn off and isn't at all likely to spread anywhere, but still, yikes. (Finally went to the dermatologist for the first time as an adult earlier this week.)

Ok then. Thanks for reading! Got a COMC package due tomorrow, so you'll likely be hearing from me again soon!