Buzz Q&A: ‘Trading Cards’ illustrator Cuyler Smith


A card show begins in Los Angeles tonight and lasts all the way until March 26 — and you have a shot at owning any and all of the superstars in attendance as long as you’re there early enough.

CuylerSmithThe difference? It’s at an art gallery — at Gallery 1988 (East) — and the cards are prints from California illustrator Cuyler Smith, whose focus is the biggest names in the sports world … err, the sports movie world.

Buzz caught up with Smith before his show, “Trading Cards,” opens with a reception tonight at 7 p.m.

Q: How did you happen to focus on cards and card-size art?
A: It all started when I made a card for a group show at Gallery 1988 focusing on the films of Tom Hanks. I knew I wanted to do something different and the baseball card was a perfect fit for A League of Their Own.


Q: And how did that focus land on sports movies?
A: I always loved sports films and I actually own all the films the cards from the show are based on. After the response from the first few cards, I started thinking of the endless possibilities for the series.

Q: Are you a collector?
A: I did collect baseball cards in the 1990s. I still have a large collection at my parents’ house.


Q: Which sports movie do you consider a favorite? Or perhaps a favorite character?
A: It is tough to decide, but The Mighty Ducks led me to play ice hockey and that changed my life forever. Before I even saw the film for the first time, people would come up to me and tell me I looked like Adam Banks. When I finally saw the VHS I fell in love with it and the sport.

Q: How limited are your cards/prints?
A: Each card in the show is an edition of 80. The number one and two cards in each edition come framed.

Q: Any plans for selling sets as a collection? Or a second series this way?
A: If anyone is interested in the entire show, I would contact the gallery directly as soon as possible. There are plans for another show in the future, and I am working on a list as we speak for the new cards.


Q: How long has your show at Gallery 1988 been in the works?
A: We first started talking about the show back in August. It has always been a goal of mine as an artist to show with Gallery 1988. It has been such an honor working with them through the whole creative process.

Q: Do these pieces take more or less time than others? (Does size help?)
A: Each card is unique to the style of the movie as well as the year it was made. Combining the image with the proper graphic and then adding the aging textures took longer than expected. The most time consuming part is actually the information on the back and making sure everything is accurate.

Q: What has the reaction been so far? Is the card approach better for business?
A: The reaction has been amazing! I am so thankful to all the collectors of the series thus far. Before the show I completed four cards, which are all sold out.


Q: How large is this collection and who else or which films can we expect?
A: There are 40 cards in the show bringing the entire series total to 44 cards. You can expect more cards that would complete sets as well as a few surprises that are still in store. (Editor’s note: We’ll show them all here tomorrow. A few of Smith’s previous pieces and some teasers are in our gallery below.)

Q: Do you have a favorite piece of the bunch?
A: I am pleased with the series as a whole. It would be impossible to pick a favorite card.

Q: Have you been approached about any trading card companies for projects?
A: Not at the moment.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I would just like to thank my family, friends, and fans. Without them, none of this would have been possible.

Update: You can now see all 40 of the cards from the show below. Click here for more information.

Follow BlowoutBuzz on Twitter @BlowoutBuzz.

>> Click here to buy baseball cards on

One thought on “Buzz Q&A: ‘Trading Cards’ illustrator Cuyler Smith

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s