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October 22, 2008

Hoopster's still in the paint

"Mark Stoddart is a former basketball player turned designer who, after the sudden death of a friend, has devoted himself to his art. He is putting together a show entitled 40 at 40, featuring portraits of legendary black athletes and musicians. He is about to turn 40. "
They packed into a tiny church that day in Malvern for Shawn (Blu) Rose's funeral, the old and the young, the good and the bad, all looking to pay homage to a youth worker who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm at 27, but had a positive impact that resonates to this day.
It certainly resonates in his friend Mark Stoddart, who was in the church that day in 2005. "Everybody gave respect to this guy," said Stoddart. "It's almost like he passed in a short time but he's done so much because he's touched so many people."
Inspired by Rose's death, Stoddart is trying to make his own impact on society by combining three of his life-long loves: sports, music and painting.
Last year, he put his career as a commercial graphic designer on hold to launch 40@40, a project to create 40 paintings of significant black musicians and athletes before his 40th birthday next August. With just over nine months to go, about 30 paintings are complete.
Some of the fruits of his labour to date can be seen starting Saturday at The Sport Gallery in the Distillery District as part of Homage: Celebrating the Journey. The art show will feature paintings of such legends as Satchel Paige, Jim Brown, Fergie Jenkins, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Tommie Smith. Continue reading

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