GREGORY PERILLO: Sports Fine Art
Gregory Perillo grew up a great sports fan, and was most passionate about baseball and boxing. As a young boy, he drew a color rendering of his idol, Joe DiMaggio, and presented it personally to Mr. DiMaggio at a luncheon held at the famed Toots Shor’s Restaurant in New York City. Over the years, he has painted many sports greats in baseball, basketball, boxing, football, golf, hockey, horse racing, tennis and soccer.
In the 1990s, Mr. Perillo was commissioned to paint Brooks Robinson and Roberto Clemente for two consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award Dinners held in New York City. Limited edition precious metal cards were reproduced from the paintings and were presented to the guests at each event. His sports artwork of Babe Ruth and Jack Nicklaus was also reproduced by Mitsubishi for PM Cards, (Precious Metal) cards made of gold, platinum and silver. The artist was also selected to create oil paintings for the inaugural seasons of the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins new baseball franchises. Again, limited edition lithographs and gold cards were produced from these paintings. Collector watches and cards of Larry Bird and Ken Griffey Jr. were also produced and distributed.
Mr. Perillo’s sports art has been displayed at numerous venues, most notably at the Butler Institute of American Art, in Youngstown, Ohio. His one man show, entitled “Canvas Playing Fields” had nearly two dozen original oil paintings, along with his Clemente bronze sculpture.
Most recently, Mr. Perillo created and donated a large bronze sculpture to the United Sports Alliance of Staten Island, New York. Entitled “Spirit of 9-11”, it is in tribute to the sports coaches of Staten Island who perished in the 9-11 attacks. The sculpture is on permanent display on the grounds of the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, N.Y.
The “Feller vs. DiMaggio” painting was inspired by Mr. Perillo’s two favorite players, Bob Feller and Joe DiMaggio, the greatest pitcher and centerfielder of their time. He, his son-in-law and grandson presented it to Mr. Feller at Bright House Network Field in Clearwater, Florida, on March 20, 2005 during the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s annual “Legends of Baseball Game”. This painting was donated to the Bob Feller Museum, in Van Meter, Iowa, by the Perillo/Javaruski family.
In 2007, he was commissioned to paint a portrait of the New York Giants football team owner, Wellington Mara, which he presented to Mrs. Wellington Mara in New Jersey, and it hangs today in her home.
Mr. Perillo donated his time and talents to create a bronze sculpture of Joseph Verdino in 2010. Joseph was a 10 year old Little Leaguer who passed away from seizures in 2007. As a former Little League coach and father himself, Mr. Perillo was inspired by his story and love of baseball. This bronze sculpture now stands as a memorial in the Joseph A. Verdino Field of Dreams of the South Shore Little League in Staten Island, New York.