Gone! is a tribute to the beautiful ballpark and setting that is the home of the San Francisco Giants. The park opened in 2000 and I painted this in 2002 after touring the offices of The New Yorker magazine. I was visiting from my native San Francisco when the esteemed baseball writer and New Yorker editor Roger Angell called me into his office. He was enamored with this new ballpark and asked me to paint something and then he would write a story about it. Talk about dreams coming true! Armed with a press pass and video camera, I toured the park and decided that a painting set from right field would provide an excellent view of the park's eccentricities, like the giant coke bottle slide and worn leather glove, as well as a slight view of the Bay Bridge. But once I started sketching I realized that the dimensions of the magazine meant my composition would be too horizontal for the two-page spread I had to fill. That's when I decided to include the surrounding environs—the bridge, Treasure Island, the foothills of Oakland and Berkeley across the bay and McCovey Cove—in order to make a scene that would fit the magazine's dimensions. Naturally, a Barry Bonds "splash hit" would capture the essence of that year's Giants team. I like to add small details in big paintings like this to amuse those who pay too much attention to such things. On the scoreboard, the hated LA Dodgers are losing 10-0 in the first inning, while in mile-high Colorado the score is 22-18 after only one inning. You can see some Mets fans arguing in the stands about the action and there's one fan with his arms held high in happiness. That would be me. When I painted this the park was named after a regional phone company, Pacific Bell, and was known locally as Pac Bell Park. A few years later the park's name was changed to SBC Park after one phone company bought up another one. After yet another merger in the corporate phone world, the American Telephone and Telegraph company took over SBC, and now our local ballpark is called AT&T Park. For now, at least.
San Francisco illustrator and artist Mark Ulriksen is probably best known for his whimsical covers for The New Yorker, where he has been a regular contributor since 1993, publishing over 30 covers. He has produced work for many of America's leading magazines and newspapers, including TIME, Newsweek, the Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. His paintings have appeared in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris and Rome. Mark's work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome. He has been profiled in industry publications such as Communication Arts, 3 x 3, Taschen's Illustration Now!, Archive's 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide, the university textbook Graphic Communication Today, as well as the European publications Dogs and Style Monte Carlo. Ulriksen has been a consistent presence in juried exhibitions for the past 15 years, winning gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators. Mark has lectured at universities internationally and has been a featured speaker at ICON 3 and 4 Illustration Conferences.