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  • Writer's pictureLucas Del Rosario

Art and Sport Are Not So Opposed

The madness of March Madness has begun, and I would like to point your attention to one of my favorite social media accounts. ArtButMakeItSports on Instagram and Twitter is a beautiful fusion of two worlds, pairing iconic sports photographs with similar-looking art pieces from every era. LJ Rader, the mastermind behind the account, can match a picture of any sports moment, however exhilarating or soul-crushing, with a piece of art that bears an uncanny resemblance to it. What makes the project so impressive, other than its immense catalog of coupled images, is that Rader does not use artificial intelligence to match the pieces. In an interview with sports journalist Pablo Torre, Rader flexed his recollective muscles by demonstrating his process live on the air. It is seriously impressive.

The comparisons can be quite comedic, stemming from seemingly highly dissimilar subject matters having such pronounced similarities. What I find most intriguing about this account is the demonstration of the parallels we can draw between art and sports. The juxtaposition of the two subjects may be jarring at first, but I would argue that both originate from the same conditions: humans having too much time on their hands and becoming too smart for their own good. We’ve progressed so much that for many, survival is a given. And when survival is accounted for, what is left for us to do? Sports may come from a desire to return to our survivalist tendencies, artificially reproducing conditions that conjure the greatest of our strength. I believe that art is our attempt at comprehending our incomprehensible emotions. While we may not be fighting solely for survival, these emotions–like loss and heartbreak–can feel like a wild animal ripping us apart.

Sports can be like dance. Success requires harmony among team members and perfect coordination between mind and body. Impressive feats of athleticism can be breathtaking. We celebrate art that displays technical brilliance, but we also value art for its authenticity. The complexity of life and consciousness is difficult to express, so finding something that accurately depicts our plights brings comfort. Sports, at its very core, is drama. Art does not exist without context, and neither does sport. This is why we get interwoven storylines, unlikely heroes, triumph over adversity, and so on. If there are no stories for us to participate in, we will simply make them up. Sports are capable of producing, for one side, ecstasy, and for the other, a feeling raw and frigid. What makes humans special is that we feel deeply, whether soaring to the heavens or plummeting toward death.


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