A lifelong athlete, Maryland artist Brandon Donahue collects and repurposes basketballs, footballs and other sports equipment into larger, flower-like assemblages.
The artist: The Memphis native graduates with a BS from Tennessee State University (TSU) and earned an MFA from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Donahue now lives in Baltimore, where he works as an artist and teaches at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The art: A combination of airbrushed paintings, assemblage, murals, vacuum-formed paintings, sculpture and collage.
The materials: Latex acrylic paints and spray paints for paintings. Materials for other works include plastic, rubber, metal, leather, cotton and wood.
What’s popular: The “basketball bloom” series ($4,000 to $8,000). For these 3-D wall works, Donahue collects old, used, weather-worn basketballs and footballs, which he deconstructs and then reconstructs with shoelaces.
These assemblages are comments on the human touch, form, history, community and place, said Donahue.
What is an assemblage: It is a three-dimensional work of art made from combinations of materials including found objects or non-traditional art materials.
His art start: At age 12, Donahue became more art focused when he was introduced to his uncle’s childhood friend: Tony “Fuma” Tunstall in Memphis. On Saturdays. Donahue would visit Fuma’s shop to learn how to airbrush — and play basketball.
Later, Donahue moved to Nashville and began his professional practice as an airbrush artist, working primarily on T-shirts, automotives and murals.
At TSU, Donahue transitioned to painting, sculpture, ceramics — and now assemblage.
- The idea of transformation, and the many ways it can happen.
- The Dada art movement.
- Graffiti on trains.
Fun or special commissions: In January 2022, Nike asked him to make a “football bloom” for Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.
“Like most athletes, I’ve been a fan and collector of Nike since early childhood,” said Donahue. “To have the company commission me for an artwork was a huge milestone in my career.”
- Maryland State Arts Council grant recipient of Public Art Across Maryland, 2022.
- Artist residency at the David C. Driskell Center in College Park, MD, 2019.
- Included in the 2021 book, “Common Practice: Basketball & Contemporary Art” by Carlos Rolon.
- Leftovers” exhibit at the Elephant Gallery in Nashville, July 9.
Where to buy:
- David Lusk Gallery (davidluskgallery.com), Memphis.
- Pentimenti Gallery (pentimenti.com), Philadelphia.
- Facebook: Brandon Donahue
- Instagram: @bdonahue1111
- Website: brandonjaquezdonahue.com