A decorated boxer and celebrated activist, Ali harbored a lifelong passion for the arts. In 1967, the athlete produced a series of drawings for Avant Garde magazine, which serve as visual manifestations of his fervor for civil rights activism. A decade later in 1977, he returned to the craft of artmaking at the encouragement of Rodney Hilton Brown, author of Muhammad Ali: The Untold Story: Painter, Poet & Prophet.
Jay Connolly is a self-taught British artist who only picked up the brushes for the first time in 2013. Since then, he has come a long way and many of the world’s top fighters own his work including, Canelo Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao, Tyson Fury and Sylvester Stallone. In 2016, Connolly was commissioned by Hayemaker Promotions to create the official artwork for David Hayes comeback fight. He then went on to do the same for David’s next three fights including both box office fights with Tony Bellew. In all four fights, his artwork featured on the front cover of the official fight programs.
Russel Hoban attended the Museum School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia and served in the US Army from 1943 to 1945. After leaving the military, Hoban worked as an illustrator, painting several covers for TIME, Sports Illustrated and The Saturday Evening Post. Hoban wrote more than 50 children’s books since 1958, including classics such as The Mouse and His Child (1967) and the Frances books. In 1968, he published his first full-length novel, The Mouse and His Child. 1973 saw the publication of Hoban’s first novel for adults, The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz. Additional titles include Turtle Diary, Kleinzeit, The Medusa Frequency, Angelica’s Grotto and Amaryllis Night and Day. His novel Turtle Diary was made into a film, with Ben Kingsley and Glenda Jackson in the starring roles. Russell Hoban is considered to be one of the most daring, original and imaginative writers in the English-speaking world: “The most original novelist we have“ (The Times) and “This is what literature is meant to be – exploration without fear.” (Anthony Burgess).
Willard Mullin was an American sports cartoonist who is most famous for the “Brooklyn Bum,” a cartoon series about the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. Mullin began his professional career with the Los Angeles Herald and began drawing cartoons for the paper shortly after. He was well-known and highly regarded for his especially graphic style. After 12 years with the Herald, he moved to New York City, where he spent decades drawing cartoons for the E.W. Scripps Company, which appeared daily in the New York World Telegram and the New York Sun, as well as in the Sporting News and Collier’s magazines. Mullin was frequently commissioned to draw yearbook covers for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants and, after those teams moved to the West Coast, for the New York Mets. Mullin also provided cover art for the yearbooks of the Harlem Globetrotters. When it seemed that the Mets would win the National League East in 1969, Time magazine commissioned Mullin to draw the cover for an issue devoted to the team.
LeRoy Neiman was an American artist known for his colourful expressionist paintings and silkscreen prints of athletes, musicians and sporting events. Neiman studied briefly at the St Paul School of Art, then at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. After graduation, Neiman was a member of the Art Institute faculty for ten years. In 1954, Neiman began his association with Playboy Magazine. Neiman’s contributions over the next 50 years included the creation of the character Femlin. Beginning in 1960, Neiman travelled the world observing and painting recreational life, social activities, and athletic competitions, including the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, world boxing championships, the PGA and Masters golf tournaments, the Ryder Cup, the World Equestrian Games, Wimbledon and other Grand Slam tournaments, as well as nightlife, entertainment, jazz, and the world of gambling. Neiman also painted many works from his experiences on safari. He is considered by many to be the world’s first great sports artist. Neiman was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007.
C R Schaare was an American artist who illustrated the covers of books and magazines and designed advertising images. He painted a remarkable eighty-two covers for the American boxing magazine, The Ring, from 1932 to 1941. After that, pictures he painted sporadically appeared on the front pages of Ring Magazine until the 1950s. Schaare became a close personal friend of the publisher Nat Fleischer and established contacts with many world famous athletes such as Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey.
Richard T Slone is a British painter who lives in Las Vegas. He was once considered a great boxing talent himself and trained under Joe Frazier. Slone has been the official artist of the International Boxing Hall of Fame since 1996. He has painted numerous covers for international boxing magazines, including The Ring, and has been asked to paint the covers for the official programmes of almost all major boxing fights, for example Mayweather Jr vs Pacquiao. His collectors include Donald Trump, Nelson Mandela, Muhammed Ali, Hugh Hefner and Bruno Mars. Richard T Slone is the undisputed Number One among living artists who combine art and boxing.
Stanley Weston was an American publisher, sports journalist, artist and photographer, who promoted boxing throughout his career. Weston painted a total of 57 pictures that appeared on the front pages of Ring Magazine. In 1989, fifty-two years after The Ring gave him his first job, Weston bought the magazine. Weston was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.