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Freeze Frame

BY Emily Waugh
Photo courtesy of Muros

Freeze Frame - FeaturedImage_A-Mural-by-Sum-Artist-of-Jose-Bautista-historic-2015-bat-flip

When Sum Artist (Toronto muralist Paul Glyn-Williams) was contacted about a new project that had “something to do with the Blue Jays,” he knew right away the occasion that demanded commemoration at an epic scale: José Bautista’s historic 2015 bat flip when, after crushing a three-run homer that would eventually win the intense playoff game, Bautista, in an unplanned release of charged emotion, tossed his bat so high in the air, it seemed it might never come down.

In a way it didn’t. His signature two-tone Marucci maple bat remains suspended mid-air on T-shirts, posters, mugs, tote bags, phone cases—and in the minds of fans across the country. Now, thanks to Sum Artist, in collaboration with art agency Muros and the Toronto Blue Jays, it is permanently inscribed into the city’s fabric at Allied’s 99 Spadina Avenue.

“There’s only so many ways you can spin a real picture,” Sum Artist says of his approach to depicting such a well-known image. Instead of simply putting “a photograph on the wall,” he worked—with only an eight-day deadline to paint the entire 35-by-60-foot wall—to capture the movement and the raw emotion embodied in that exact moment in time.

Bautista’s bat, time-shifted in triplicate as it rises into the sky; the mixture of relief and accomplishment on his face (rendered in detail down to the individual beard hair); the unbridled joy of his teammates leaping over the dugout fence; and the dreamlike crowd cheering with their arms in the air or holding each other in disbelief—all together freeze-frame this dynamic and emotional “Where were you when?” moment in Canadian sports history.

“That’s one of the most beautiful things about a moment like that is that we all get to experience it together,” Sum Artist says. “It was phenomenal to do that painting; not just the creation of the art, but everything that came with it.”

“Bautista with a drive. Deep left field… No doubt about it!”

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