When the San Francisco 49ers hit the field in 2104 there will be two Valley natives on display at the brand new Levi’s Stadium—Colin Kaepernick and Nick Brown.
Kaepernick will be where he’s expected to be, under center and at the helm of the 49ers’ offense. Brown, on the other hand, will be far from the field. In fact, he won’t be seen at all. Instead it will be his work, 14 original pieces in all, which will be hung prominently inside the state of the art facility in Santa Clara.
“It’s strange in the best way. It’s something where I can’t pinch myself enough to come back to reality,” Brown said.
It’s every artist’s ambition to have their work recognized and displayed for the masses to see, and for a life-long 49ers fan like Brown, it doesn’t get much better than Levi’s Stadium.
A 2001 Hughson High graduate, Brown has spent the past 13 years perfecting his craft. He attended Modesto Junior College for two years before transferring to the University of Redlands where he received a degree in Fine Art with an emphasis in drawing and painting.
Following his artistic ambitions, Brown found himself working on art exhibitions with groups of friends and fellow artists where he helped set up galleries while also sometimes putting his talent on display through live painting. It was at one such exhibition three years ago at the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts in Los Angeles where Brown’s road to Levi’s Stadium began.
“One thing I’ve learned is that you never know who you’re going to run into, what kind of conversations you might have, and who could be interested in your work,” Brown said.
Brown was painting when he was approached by a stranger who complemented his work. Through the course of their conversation it was revealed that she was an artist herself, Samantha Wendell, and that her work could be seen in sports stadiums across the country. Impressed with Brown’s style and ability, she suggested a meeting with her agent and mentioned Levi’s Stadium as a possible venue.
“I was born and raised a Niners fan, so my heart jumped in my chest a bit,” Brown said.
After meeting with Wendell’s agent, Brown was given six months to complete a body of work to be considered for display.
“They had put out an open call to artists and I think a little over 300 artists had turned in work for it,” Brown said. “After that six months I got the call that I was selected and I couldn’t have been more excited. It was a surreal experience.”
Brown is now one of 27 artists who will be displayed at the new stadium. Of his 14 pieces, 12 are oil landscapes that depict such scenes as Sonoma vineyards, the Bodega Bay coast, fields in Salinas, and a Central Valley water tower. Brown’s other two pieces were created from used pieces of wine barrels.
“I know the exposure is unlike anything I would have expected to have gotten at this stage in my career,” Brown said. “This whole experience has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I can’t ask for a better venue than Levi's Stadium.”