From the Biggios and the Bagwells to the Ryans, Opie Otterstad has painted many big-name Houston ballplayers throughout his career. The MLB-sanctioned artist has actually captured the last 15 World Series champions, which made the Texas City native the natural choice to commemorate the historic 2017 Astros victory.
On exhibition at Off the Wall Gallery beginning March 31, the resulting collection depicts 15 moments from last year's landmark season in Otterstad's signature photorealistic style. Thinking how nice it would be to have a keepsake, I called the gallery to see how much a print costs. Good news for you: I will not be purchasing one of the limited-run pieces.
There are 217 prints available at a starting price of “1850.” By “1850,” I assumed the gallery meant $18.50, a reasonable price for a piece of sports memorabilia. My hand was halfway to my wallet. But—to my chagrin—I was off by two decimals. They quickly corrected me, emphasizing the starting price on prints was actually $1,850. (Let’s just say my wallet never left my bag.)
If you’re looking to save a few Benjamins and instead find the photograph Otterstad based his work on, I’ve got bad news: It doesn’t exist. He sought to depict those emotions 20 seconds after we all watched the Astros earn history, aka the moment we lost our collective minds. However, the issue was that not all players were in the right place at the right time. Otterstad wanted to depict that perfect image as if they all happened to be huddled together—a task that required a little “Frankensteining,” as he calls it.
In fact, Otterstad says he never paints straight from a photograph. In order to create his one-of-a-kind pieces, the artist sifts through numerous images—in some cases thousands—and pieces together bits and pieces to create a composite. If he needs to fill in a missing hand or a leg during this artistic surgery, he’ll paint his own.
Fortunately, if you're an Astros fan working with similar financial restraints, you can still visit Off the Wall Gallery to view all 15 of Otterstad’s originals before the show closes on April 15.
Those originals are also for sale, but Off the Wall wouldn't disclose prices. Chances are they’re a hair out of my budget. But are they worth it for those who have been with this team for 10, 20, or even 30-plus years? Who have stuck by them through thick and thin? Absolutely. In fact, they’re priceless.
Astros Art Celebration: The Exhibition. Thru April 15. Off the Wall Gallery, 5015 Westheimer Rd. 713-871-0940. More info at offthewallgallery.com.