Professional football player turned-artist Craig Black, had a simple yet compelling transformation in his career, leaving a significant mark in visual arts with his ‘acrylic fusion’ footballs.
Originally a Greenock native with a fervent passion for football and drawing, Black tussled with the ball during the day and embraced the canvas at night. His penchant for art has finally welcomed into his life where he establishes a studio in collaboration with his wife, Ally. Black has used his genius to innovate the art of painting footballs, catapulting him to events such as the Qatar World Cup and the 2023 Champions League Final in Istanbul.
As a teenager, while he was on the verge of realizing his dream of becoming a professional footballer signed by Greenock Morton’s youth team, he stayed connected to his artistic side. Encouraged by his mother and school art teacher, Paul Murray, Black continued his studies in Advanced Higher Art and Design, balancing his passion for art and football.
However, his football journey encountered bumps in the road. Uncontended by his temporary position on the youth and reserve teams, he realized that his love for the sport was being marred by the challenges he faced.
Looking for happiness outside the football field, Black chanced upon Paul Murray again, whom he hadn’t seen in four years. Recalling Black’s affinity for drawing, Murray suggested he try his hand at art and design.
Taking Murray’s advice on board, Black enrolled in an art course at Cardonald College in Glasgow. Concurrently, he played for Largs Thistle, but the course steadily reinvigorated his love for design.
Eventually, after graduating in 2013, Black moved to London and served at design agencies, contributing in developing typography. Around the same time, he started tinkering with acrylic paint, which is versatile and efficient, creating impressive designs. Desiring to conflate his twin passions, he started applying paint in colored layers over a football, grew more adept with practice, eventually gathered automobile, creating an exhilarating artwork to represent Scotland’s men’s national team.
His innovative approach, Acrylic Fusion, took social media by storm, having garnered attention from the Premier League and football regulatory bodies like UEFA and FIFA. FIFA invited Black to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, which was an epochal milestone in his career. He was entrusted with the task of creating a customized ball for each of the 32 competing teams and perform live shows for players and staff.
High-profile personnel, including the likes of Gareth Bale, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, witnessed his creativity, leaving him star-struck. Despite the rush and the pressure, Black continues to derive joy from his work which is also evident when he performed at the Champions League Final.
Recently, he was commissioned by the NBA and NFL to paint balls, broadening his niche. Black and his wife believe that their thriving business gives them the flexibility and thrill to work together while taking care of their daughter, Olivia.
Having established themselves in Inverclyde, they continuously emphasize their Scottish roots. According to Black, their journey has involved risks but running their own studio has its unique payoffs. From an aspiring footballer to a visionary artist, Black’s journey is an inspiration to chase dreams and let passion pave the path.
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