Karl Jaeger, 37, of Maple Grove recalls always being fascinated with fine arts. As a child Jaeger would sketch his favorite athletes. Drawings that, he says, weren’t bad for someone his age. Although not particularly artistic in nature, his family gave support and encouragement to further improve his skills. And improve he did.
He took his artistic desires to Moorhead State University on a scholarship, but left after three years to pursue his own business. “They didn’t seem to care too much for the work I did,” he says. “So, I decided to give it a try on my own.” Then, what started as a hobby for young Jaeger soon became his full-time profession.
Jaeger has been creating both small-scale, colored-pencil drawings and large-scale, computer graphic murals of athletes and sports teams nationwide for 16 years. From the intricate facial shadings of professional golfers participating in the United States Ryder Cup to the beautifully conceived memorial for Gary Tinsley, a University of Minnesota (U of M) football player who passed away last summer, his work proves to be impeccably detailed and thoroughly thought out.
His focus is in the sports field and his works have included TCF Bank Stadium, the Metrodome, Met Stadium, Target Field, Xcel Energy Center, and both Mariucci and Williams Arenas. The majority of his work resides in Minnesota—he occasionally works on other projects within the Midwest.
In 1997 Jaeger and his father, Frank, opened ASI Fine Art & Custom Canvas Printing. ASI is located in Buffalo, Minn. and offers printing services to artists and photographers alike. It is also Jaeger’s studio for making his small-scale canvas and large-scale vinyl prints.
His favorite—and largest—project to date was the 2012 United States Ryder Cup completed last summer, composed of both small and large scale pieces. The drawing alone on the project took 200 hours to complete. Add to that another 200 hours for the graphic work—a job reserved for the dedicated, persistent type. Jaeger say the process seems to follow a similar path.
- Research the team or event and its history. “I think it’s crucial that I understand what the background is,” he says. Making note of important moments or athletes that lead the event or team to where they are today.
- Collect as many images as possible from the player or team.
- Create rough mock-ups of the piece—a way to see what the final product could look like.
- Work directly with the athlete or team to modify and ensure the piece fits their intended outcome.
- Begin work on the final piece. “I try to pay as close attention to detail as possible,” he says. The details are something Jaeger finds very important when it comes to sports.
When he creates artwork for specific athletes or teams, Jaeger hopes they are appreciative and that they are reminded of the event or their time spent playing. His greatest outcome is “to see how happy they are with the results.”
Tom Serratore, head coach of Bemidji State’s hockey team, worked directly with Jaeger on a wall display honoring the 54-year tradition of the school’s hockey program. Serratore was more than thrilled with the outcome saying it exceeded his expectations. “[Jaeger] has a great imagination,” says Serratore. “He thinks outside the box.” Serratore recommends Jaeger highly and the artist has worked continuously with the school for two years now.
Like his work with Bemidji State, Jaeger’s projects are often ongoing with college sports teams in the Midwest. Keep an eye out. You may glimpse one on the way to your next assigned stadium seat.
Jaeger’s work can be viewed and purchased online through artbyasi.com or at Deck the Walls,located in Mall of America and Burnsville Mall.