Studio Visit: Amelie Mancini
The French-born, Brooklyn-based artist on her process, Left Field Cards and her love of baseball
by Eva Glettner
The multi-talented Amelie Mancini is a Brooklyn-based French artist who works with a variety of mediums—from wood to linen to wool—to create her playful, colorful artworks. Her fascination with baseball, born from the first game she ever attended (between the Mets and the Phillies, back in 2007), led to the creation of Left Field Cards; a site dedicated to her homemade baseball cards. Cool Hunting visited Mancini in her studio and learned more about her process and her wholesome but passionate love for the game.
What's your artistic background?
I studied arts and design in Paris at the Sorbonne University. I always loved painting and drawing the most, but I also studied product design and architecture.
Did you follow many sports while growing up in France?
Like everybody else I jumped on the soccer bandwagon during the 1998 World Cup because it was impossible not to. (France beat Brazil 3-0 in the final and the whole country went nuts.) I enjoyed watching the Olympics, I tolerated tennis and hated cycling. But nothing close to my love for baseball.
How did you become so interested in baseball?
I didn't know anything about baseball until I moved to NY and some friends took me to a game. Since everything was new, everything was fascinating to me. And I loved reading about legendary baseball players just as much as I loved pouring over old baseball cards with my fiancé, who grew up in Queens and is a huge baseball fan. Baseball players tend to lead interesting lives and I just loved hearing about funny off-the-field accident stories or making lists of players with the best mustaches.
So then, how did you go from being a painter to making baseball cards?
I tend to make really big paintings that are hard to sell because they're so expensive and, well, big. So at some point, I looked for a smaller and cheaper way to make art and discovered block printing—which was cheap, small, faster than painting, reproducible and also had beautiful solid colors. My boyfriend had just brought home from his parents' house four or five boxes of old baseball cards he had collected as a kid and I thought it was the coolest thing ever! So I decided to make my own.
Tell us a little about your process—do you create each individual card, or do you illustrate one and then reproduce it?
The cards are printed on a letterpress after I carved the original design on linoleum. [They take] a long, long time. Each series of 10 cards takes on average a full month from start to finish.
What other mediums are you interested in exploring?
Last year I started an entirely new body of work focused on home goods—be it linens, table wares and even bags and wooden spoons. It all started with a cactus-themed linocut I did as a breather from all the baseball stuff. People really liked the pattern so I ran with it. Today I run two companies, Left Field Cards and my own line of non-baseball related home goods.
Favorite baseball player?
That's a tough one. I have a lot of admiration and respect for players like Sandy Koufax, Roger Maris or Jackie Robinson, but I'm most fascinated by weird guys like Moe Berg, who was a spy for the US government on his days off, or Bill Spaceman Lee, who is just the best.
Photos by Karen Day