A life-size painting of Kirby Puckett
 is taking shape ... by
Mark Sanislo

Star Tribune
Star TribuneA life-size painting of Kirby Puckett is taking shape

C.J., Star Tribune
Last update: March 15, 2006 – 11:11 PM
Background photo by CJ

A few weeks ago Frank Ronneng teased his friend, portrait painter Mark Sanislo, about the absence of black faces in his gallery.

"Well, he now has one," Ronneng e-mailed me.

Sanislo is painting a life-size Kirrrrrrby Puckett!

"I started it Friday around the lunch hour," Sanislo said Monday. He was amused that I was already aware of the painting, having seen it before opening Ronneng's e-mail.

It's quite nice. "Well, thank you," Sanislo said. "There's more to go."

Mark Sanislo Painting Kirby Puckett
Mark Sanislo paints a portrait of the late Kirby Puckett in his skyway studio in downtown Minneapolis. Elizabeth Flores Star Tribune
Because Sanislo paints in a gallery in Baker Center on the Minneapolis skyway, passersby can monitor Puckett's coming to life on the 6-foot canvas.

People have been knocking on the window and giving Sanislo the thumbs-up, or coming in to marvel up close.

After Puckett died last week, Sanislo said his four sons -- Richard, 12, Joe, 10, David, 8 and John, 6 -- were going through their sports memorabilia and trying to prod Dad into drawing or painting a superstar.

"Kirby Puckett was a big deal for us," Sanislo said. "What really fascinates me is that my boys were either in diapers or not born yet, but the name Kirby Puckett just rolls off their tongues like he's a guy who plays now."

Sanislo is not sure what he'll do with the painting after it spends about a month in the window of his gallery.

"You know what, if the right person shows the right amount of interest, there it will go," he said. "No biggie. Most of the art I do goes out my door and on someone's wall."

Speaking of no biggies, on Tuesday someone came into the gallery to jest about the flattering weight at which Sanislo is painting Puckett.

Puck was once that skinny, I told the gallery visitor. "Yeah. We were all that skinny once," Sanislo said.

Puckett, like Elvis, should be remembered at whatever size one prefers.

KSTP 5 Eyewitness NEWkstp.com Eyewitness NEWS

Kirby Puckett Life Size paintingArtist memorializes
Puckett on canvas

Updated: 03/16/2006 09:33:17 PM  

Audio   Video  From

An artist is adding to all the ways to remember Kirby Puckett with a painting of the Twins legend.

Mark Sanislo Painting Kirby PuckettWhile the Twins have painted his number on the field at their Fort Myers spring training facility and players will be wearing his number 34 on a patch on their sleeves, Mark Sanislo is hoping fans will also appreciate his work.

Mark Sanislo Painting Kirby Puckett

Sanislo’s painting is on display in the Minneapolis skyway, and appeared to draw a significant amount of interest.

Mark Sanislo Painting Kirby PuckettSanislo says it could be the first in a series of what he calls ‘Minnesota Legends.’ He says his children inspired him to paint Puckett.

“They were as excited about dad doing Kirby as anything, and they act as if Kirby is present day ball player,”
Sanislo says.

Sanislo may donate the painting if the Twins or a local charity expresses interest.