Sheffield Wednesday are the first football club in the UK to recognise the incredible talents of revered artist Jamie Cooper, who has developed a unique concept bringing sporting history to life in one dynamic image. This biography outlines exactly why the Owls have commissioned the ‘Sheffield Wednesday Dream Scene’ to mark the club’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
In 1984, artist Jamie Cooper realised a childhood dream by reaching the pinnacle of Australian professional sport, making his senior Australian Football League debut with the Fitzroy FC, where he played for four seasons before retiring to develop his creative talents.
Jamie left his native Australia and worked as a commercial artist in London, painted public murals in Greece and designed caricature for a Danish national newspaper in Copenhagen.
His career as a professional sports artist began in 1998 when his distinctive oil paintings had their first release under the AFL memorabilia license. Since then, Jamie has become the creative force behind the highly successful ‘Team of the Century’ and ‘Dream Scene’ painting concepts, producing major historical works for numerous professional organisations in Australia, the United States and the UK.
By the turn of the Millennium, Jamie’s reputation as Australia’s premier sports artist was well entrenched and the value of his work began to soar. Prices at auction for life size portraits of contemporary sporting champions made national headlines - Shane Warne £30,000, Anthony Koutafides £40,000, Matthew Richardson £40,000, James Hird £45,000 and Robert Harvey £45,000 – all testament to his stellar talent in this field.
The Australian Olympic Committee then commissioned a unique piece to celebrate the anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games before in 2004, QLD State of Origin set Jamie the task of painting of its greatest team of the past 25 years using his innovative Dream Scene concept.
The commissions rolled in from all over the world and Jamie’s unrivalled reputation for facilitating the most complex and sizable concepts led to his biggest challenge to date in 2008, when the AFL celebrated its 150th year as Australia’s greatest game.
Jamie was handed the task of capturing that rich and intricate history in one enormous 5m x 2.5m mural, a pictorial novel containing over 300 figures which took a full year to complete.
Two 50m x 25m reproductions were displayed at the MCG on AFL Grand Final day, opening the pre-match entertainment and beamed live around the world to millions of viewers.
In 2009, Jamie made a grand entrance into the US art scene with the completion of a 14’ x 4’ oil painting, ‘Phillies Dream Scene’ depicting legends from the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. The painting is now displayed in the entrance to the exclusive Diamond Club at the home of the Phillies, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Jamie’s star continues to rise on the international stage, recently delivering a painting of the New York Yankees to Chicago where it went under the hammer for $30,000. This led to two commissions from prominent collectors in the States, with his profile duly catapulting in America.
Jamie’s ability to bring together a combination of artist and elite athlete has been the feature of several TV, radio and print editorials all over the world. He believes his experience as a professional athlete has afforded a unique perspective as a sports artist:
"During my days as a player I was exposed to many fantastic moments and images, seen through the eyes of both an athlete and an artist. I use those experiences to highlight the history, emotion and passion of sporting culture through my art."
CLICK HERE for full details of the Sheffield Wednesday Dream Scene