Fight Doctor Is in the House
Updated: Sep 14, 2022
MEET THE ARTIST: Ferdie Pacheco
Welcome back to our Artist Spotlight series, where we spotlight both our contemporary artists making exclusive items for TennisAlley but also provide background on the creators of our vintage and modern collectors' items.
The late Ferdie Pacheco signing prints at his home in Miami in 2015. (Facebook.com/ferdiepachecomd)
Talk about a well-rounded life. Dr. Ferdie Pacheco (1927-2017) financed his education to be become a doctor by selling his cartoon drawings, and his medical studies in turn informed his drawing of the human figure. Most known for his nearly two decades as Muhammad Ali's ringside "fight doctor" and a colorful sports commentator, Pacheco's side hustle as an artist surprises many. Likewise, his colorful Cuban-style paintings attract the attention of those who only later learn of the artist's famed past. His subjects range from giants of the boxing ring to famed jazz musicians to heroes of the Wild West to ... that's right, tennis.
While he may have been a fan of the pro tour, his three tennis pieces focus not on Borg or Ashe or Everett or other icons of the era, but rather reveal that Pacheco was intimately familiar with the quirks of the game at the local club level. We spoke with Pacheco's art agent from Bilotta Gallery in Miami, who confirmed our suspicions. He then said, "Ferdie would have loved TennisAlley" and released the remainder of his hand-signed tennis-themed offset lithographs and artist press proofs to our care. We carry all three: "Tennis Tort," a comical glimpse of a debate over a line call; "Almost Perfect Backhand," a middle-aged player desperate to capture the elegance of the one-handed backhand; and "The Lesson," featuring a paunchy male club pro standing cheekily at the side of a spectacled female in the ready position!
Do you remember Ferdie Pacheco? Come by and check out his work and tell us what you remember about him. We'd love to learn more and to share this interesting side to the complex, accomplished man that he was. Here's a link to Pacheco's other work at Bilotta Gallery and an interesting article from NPR about his career shortly after his death in 2017.
Come see us during the 2022 Loveland Art Studio Tour, Oct 8 & 9, 15 & 16, or message us any time to make sure we're around. Email: TennisAlleyLoveland@gmail.com; call/text: 970.430.0739.