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"Smokey" Joe Williams
1997
mixed media w/ found objects
10 x 12
Private collection
NFS

Considered the best black hurler in the deadball era, "Smokey" Joe Williams was aptly named. A giant on the mound at 6'4", Williams would play for numerous teams during his 25-year career, with his best years as a member of the New York Lincoln Giants. The billboard references here are fairly obvious. Anacin's subtext reads "Fast, Fast Fast", and Manville's Cigars ad is cut off to leave the visible words "Smoke a Man." The smaller print in the L &M cigarette billboard reads, "So quick on the draw." The pitcher, metaphorically, as a gunslinger in the Wild West is yet another icon that is singularly American. To further add to the symbolism, the dark wedge of smoke rising from the gray skyline is reminiscent of America's industrial cities at the turn of the 20th century; or, it can be interpreted as visual pun on Williams' other often-used nickname, Cyclone.
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Fine art by Phillip Dewey 734-277-3805