Former MLB player earns thousands making art

Former Dodgers second baseman Micah Johnson said he found out about his artistic talents at spring training

Former second baseman and leftfielder bats Micah Johnson turned to the arts after he retired from the MLB. The retired 29-year-old transitioned from batting balls to painting portraits.

Micah Johnson #7 of the Chicago White Sox bats during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 5, 2015 at Camelback Ranch-Glendale in Glendale, Arizona. The Dodgers defeated the White Sox 6-1. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images)

Although it was Johnson’s dream since the age of three to become an MLB star, it was not until he accomplished his goal and retired, that he thought of any career alternatives.

Johnson, who was already taking a painting course a few months prior, chose to draw for his teammates during his spring training. The experience paved the way for Johnson to explore his artistic side.

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“When I retired, it was like I had no other option. I never made a résumé in my life. I never had an interview. I don’t have a college degree. I just was passionate about art,” Johnson said, according to NBC News

However, because of his second ability, Johnson was able to charge for commissions and get his his art featured in various publications. One of his works was installed at the W Hotel in Atlanta in 2018.

In 2017, Johnson did a mural of Jackie Robinson at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. He also paints portraits for fellow baseball players like former Rays outfielder George Kenneth Griffey Jr. and current pitcher Blake Snell.

The aspiring painter even designed the tattoo for Milwaukee Brewers’ second baseman Jace Peterson, NBC reported.

Although some of his art focuses around baseball, Johnson often focuses on race and Black people when creating.

“He regularly explores themes that center Black children and social issues. After one of his young nephews wondered aloud whether there were Black astronauts, Johnson was struck by the lack of representation of Black Americans in visualizations about science and space,” NBC News wrote.

Johnson’s piece called “ˈsä-v(ə-)rən-tē” (pronounced “sovereignty”) tells a story about two real-life young brothers named Jacque, 7, and Rayden, 8. The piece is valued at more than $120K on Async Art.

The painting itself is unique – there is a QR code embedded on the artwork that will direct viewers to a link to donate bitcoins for each of the boys’ birthdays, WFMZ, a local news station that covers between Southeastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey, reported.

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Johnson’s professional baseball career started with him getting drafted to the Chicago White Sox on April 6, 2015.

Johnson only completed two years of college at Indiana University Bloomington, where he played college baseball for the Indiana Hoosiers baseball team and three minor league teams in various classes.

After joining the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, the Atlanta Braves in 2017, and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018, his short-lived MLB career was all the young athlete had to his name before pursuing his true calling.

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