By David Yarger
Co-Host The Chase
Hey, hey Chase nation. It’s Monday, and while some brackets are ripped to shreds, and everyone may have the Monday blues, we still followed through with an episode of The Chase.
And what a guest we had today. The crew welcomed artist Angel Aviles to the broadcast to talk about some of his works.
Angel has had his work featured in Upper Deck products, in addition to Topps Star Wars, Stranger Things and baseball sketch cards.
Most recently, Aviles had his work featured in the 2023 Topps Living Set Baseball, which is a portrait of a player, with the look of a 1953 Topps card.
On top of being an artist, Aviles said he is also a collector and spent his younger days collecting baseball cards. He said he’s always had the passion for art, though.
“I love art, I love baseball and I love collecting. So, I think when you put all those things together it can be enjoyable. Frustrating at times, but that brings joy in the end,” Aviles said.
Aviles said he made his first sketch card seven years ago of Aaron Judge. After putting it on Facebook, Aviles said it was received well and just months later, Topps reached out and invited him to draw for Star Wars Masterwork.
Where he stands now, Aviles called it a dream come true.
“As a kid, I wanted to play centerfield for the New York Yankees … and I wanted to be an artist,” he said. And while becoming the centerfielder didn’t happen, he added, “to work for Topps and to do baseball – to draw some of my favorite players, some of the legends … and to have my name on the back of the cards it’s really, really cool. It’s surreal.”
Aviles added that growing up and seeing all the art on cards such as Donruss Diamond Kings, for example, he never would’ve pictured himself being a part of the Topps family, but he appreciates it.
Some of Aviles’ first pieces of art were in the Star Wars Masterworks product, and he said people who pulled his sketch cards reached out to him, which eventually led to friendships. He also mentioned that sometimes he’ll check marketplace sites to see how much his cards are resold for, and the results definitely shock him.
While he understands people reselling the cards, he said he truly appreciates the people who have reached out and said how much the work means to them. Aviles said one person reached out regarding their Princess Leia card and said, “I keep it at my desk, and I look at it every day.” Aviles said sometimes when he’s down he goes back and reads that conversation, and it makes him smile every time.
Moving forward to the 2023 Topps Living Set, Aviles said he thinks of himself as a hyper-realist and he tries to bring out certain details in each image that make it look alive, but not like the actual photo image.
“I try to pick out nuisances, details, but not necessarily super faithful to the photo reference where it looks just like the photo, but to bring out an essence or quality. I try my best to connect with the subject, with the player that I’m drawing, in hopes that when I draw them and someone looks at the drawing that they themselves can feel that connection,” Aviles said.
Aviles remembers where he came from though, and said his dad was a huge motivator for his successes today.
“My father is a big part of this – who I am today (and) my inspiration. He passed away a few years ago. It was actually his passing that motivated me to take my stuff to another level,” Aviles said.
To check out the full interview with Aviles, head to the YouTube replay.
Also on The Chase
Following our chat with Aviles, the crew ripped two boxes of 2016 Topps Gold Label baseball. Yes, you read that right – 2016!
In honor of Trea Turner destroying baseballs at the World Baseball Classic for Team USA, we decided to rip some product from his rookie campaign.
While we didn’t get a Turner or Kyle Schwarber rookie, we did get Corey Seager and Blake Snell base rookies on top of a Frankie Montas framed rookie auto out of 50 and a Juan Gonzalez framed auto out of 50.
To win all the cards from the break, comment on the YouTube replay who you think will win the World Baseball Classic finals on Tuesday night. A winner will be announced on Wednesday’s episode of The Chase.