Baseball coach, artist practices what he preaches

Blending sports, art

NEWARK, TX - There's a saying that those who can't do, teach and those who can't play, coach.

Chris Brown hates that saying.

"Of course it upsets me when I hear people say that," he said. "What they don't understand is most teachers choose to teach."

Brown teaches AP art at Fossil Ridge High School in Keller. He's also an assistant coach in the baseball program. But he's definitely a doer. He's the official artist for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

"I was pretty surprised because he said he was an art teacher, but I didn't know he was that good," said Chris Dubois, a young baseball player who gets pitching lessons from Brown.

"And I think that's where people stress out the most -- doing portraits," Brown said. "You can't be close, you have to be exact. If you're close, you're not very good."

Brown is from Nebraska and now lives in Texas, and his connection to Louisiana comes from college -- he played baseball for two years at Northwestern State University, in Natchitoches, where the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame is located.

He's turned his ability as an artist into a teaching career, and he turned a six-year career as a professional baseball player into a side business, tutoring young pitchers.

"I mean, he played in the minors so I can actually trust what he's saying," Dubois said.

"I've literally taught a kid a cutter, and two days later they're in a game throwing cutters and nobody's hitting it," said Brown with a smile on his face. "How awesome is that?"

The Chicago Cubs drafted Brown in the 33rd round of the 1998 draft. He pitched six years as a professional, but never in the majors. He's been around sports his whole life, and that continues with his art.

"All this is really about entertaining myself," he said. "That's really what it comes down to, Do I enjoy what I'm doing? And you get to a certain point and you're like, I'm just looking for more."

Brown has been the official artist for the Louisiana Sports since 2009 and has done 77 portraits. He enjoys experimenting with different techniques which has allowed him to create one-of-a kind backgrounds that are unique to his paintings. He teaches himself something new, which gives him something new to share with his students.

"I'm using all kinds of different colors," said Brown looking at a portrait of Archie Manning. "I'll probably use somewhere between 10-12 colors in just their skin tones."

Chris Brown is teaching kids, he has a creative outlet, and he's doing what he loves. What else is there?

"My brother-in-law tells my wife all the time that he's jealous of me -- and he's a very successful person -- but he's jealous of me because I literally do what I love to do every single day," he said.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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