Monday, April 22, 2024

This Long Beach art show celebrates the rich history of LBSU Dirtbags


A gang of 12 artists—led by Long Beach artists Jon Brong and Jeff McMillan—are invading the Port Long Beach space off of Retro Row to showcase an art exhibit honoring the LBSU Dirtbags as they prepare for their annual rivalry game against the Fullerton Titans this weekend.

What exactly is this LBSU Dirtbags art show about?

“Jon and myself are pretty big baseball fans,” McMillian said, noting Jon’s work in creating everything from wallets made out of used baseball gloves to socks that honor baseball movies like “Major League.” This isn’t to mention how McMillian’s art—with his signature heavy, clean lines that create comic-book like characters—headlines as the promotional aesthetic for the show.

“And we really like that Long Beach State has their own baseball team called the Dirtbags. The Dirtbags have a rich history of talent and a solid handful of players have made it all the way to the pros—so we wanted to put something together to celebrate that history, to celebrate the Dirtbags being in Long Beach, and a tip of our hats to something that we consider our hometown heroes.”

With such a big art community in Long Beach, it was only a matter of time before it collided with sports—and Long Beach State sits at the epicenter of local sports, joining LBCC and LBSUD in their respective athletic bragging rights.

What artists are appearing in ‘Bleacher Creatures’?

McMillian is definitively no stranger to the Long Beach art scene or doing massively commercial work from brands ranging from Disney to RVCA—and for him, the melding of arts and sports on a local level is one he has been dying to curate.

“We have a cool lineup of 12 artists, all Long Beach locals that have also worked in Long Beach that are featured in the show,” McMillian said. “Each artist was asked to dip into the history of the Dirtbags and pick something would inspire them to make a piece of art.”

The result is an array of artistic expressions inspired by the LBSU Dirtbags: From specific players and the uniforms, to Blair Field and the psyche of baseball in general. Featured are some of Long Beach’s finest and most well-known artists:

  • Nat Iosbaker
  • Anabelle Brown
  • Benjie Escobar
  • Adam Gonzalez
  • Priscilla Moreno
  • Dave Van Patten
  • Nevermade
  • Dirty Ol’ Roshi
  • Ryan Russel Ward
  • Blake Smisko
  • Joon the Goon
  • Jeff McMillan

“We approached Jim Leatherman over at Port because his shop is so design- and sports-driven and we thought that would be a good home for the show,” McMillian said.

Play ball indeed.

“Bleacher Creatures” will have its opening party at Port Long Beach on Friday, Mar. 22, from 6PM to 9PM, located at 402 St. Louis Ave. near Retro Row.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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