Vizquel gives public peek at canvas
Shortstop's paintings on exhibit in San Francisco on Thursday
DENVER -- For years, fans have been privy to the artistry Omar Vizquel displays on the baseball diamond.
The 11-time Gold Glove winner turns the shortstop position into his own canvas, making dazzling plays with his signature style.
On Thursday night, the public will have an opportunity to see a different form of Vizquel's artistry. From 5-8 p.m. PT, the Caldwell Snyder Gallery in San Francisco will feature 30 of Vizquel's watercolor and oil paintings at his premiere gallery exhibition.
"I'm not nervous at all," he said. "It's something that is completely different from baseball, and that's what is really so exciting about it."
Vizquel, who began painting eight years ago, will be on hand at the exhibit to talk about the motivation for his pieces. Many of his paintings are created from real-life moments, he said, while others draw on more intimate matters, such as relationships and the beauty of the human form.
"Vizquel does not take his art lightly," the Caldwell Snyder Gallery wrote. "Indeed, his esoteric works reveal a profound depth within the artist that most have never seen -- his sensitivity to humanity, romance and the larger questions of our existence. And yet, like his performance on the field, Vizquel demonstrates vitality and focused determination within his work."
The paintings, which are heavily influenced by European figurativists Odd Nerdrum and Lucian Freud, will be on sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Giants Community Fund.
There is only one piece -- Vizquel's favorite -- that will not be sold at the exhibit.
"I have a piece that I made of a really heavy woman sitting on a couch," he said. "That is the only piece that is not for sale on the agenda."
While the exhibit will be limited to Vizquel's paintings, the three-time All-Star dabbles in many different forms of media. He especially enjoys sculpture and has used wood, stone and bronze to craft his work.
Vizquel, who the Caldwell Snyder Gallery describes as a "Renaissance" man, also has a passion for singing, dancing and playing music. He plays the drums and enjoys salsa dancing.
"I feel like I do a lot of things in a different way," Vizquel said. "I enjoy life in whatever I do. I like to expand my limits and test the grounds on different things. I like to try just about anything, and sometimes you don't know how good you are at something until you try it."
Vizquel has proven over the duration of his 20-year career that he is one the greatest shortstops to play the game. This season, however, has been extremely trying for the 41-year-old Venezuelan.
He tore the meniscus in his left knee in Spring Training, causing him to miss several weeks. He's hitting a career-low .195 this season, and the Giants' playoff hopes have been dashed for several weeks. They entered Thursday 19 games below .500 and in fourth place in the National League West.
Whenever Vizquel finds the troubles on the diamond too hard to take, he has plenty of other outlets to divert his attention.
"It's great, because in moments of frustration and moments you don't want to think too much about baseball, you can always do something else," he said. "You meet a lot of people that are interesting and have different personalities. It opens up different doors and helps me try to understand why different people do the things they do."
The Caldwell Snyder Gallery is at 341 Sutter St. Attendees must be over 18, and reservations are required at (415) 296-7896. A $25 donation will be collected at the door.
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.