Kobe and the Guys
Tamir Barkan, a Business Administration student from Santa Clarita, draws the stars of the NBA with an artist’s hand and awaits the big break. His first exposure. (By Ayala Or-El, page 10)
Local Pride | Ayala Or-El
Brilliant illustrator, insistent on doing only what he loves and not surrendered to the Hollywood Scene. Tamir Barkan – remember you read about him first here.
Tamir Barkan, 24, never studied art, and despite that, he creates amazing works of art that cause the admirer to believe that he is a professional artist. Until today, Barkan drew for the inside of the drawer, or, in the best case, for the walls of his Santa Clarita home. But after massive encouragement from his parents, Shaul & Nitzan, Barkan decided that it is time for his first exposure.
“I don’t know exactly where to start,” he admits shyly, “so I decided to start with the newspaper.”
Many believe that Barkan’s drawings, which are being published for the first time here, will go far. Barkan draws using a regular pencil (yes, the kind used in school) and succeeds to copy many basketball personalities that have been photographed in magazines.
“I love to draw what I love and I love basketball,” he says in Hebrew with an American accent.
He doesn’t have a preference for a specific basketball team, but rather likes to draw players he admires like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’neal, Michael Jordan, and notable scenes from sporting events, like the infamous match between Mike Tyson and Ivander Holyfield. His drawings are amazing in their likeness. Often, it seems like a photograph rather than a drawing.
“That is the biggest compliment you can give me,” admits Barkan, “because I strive to bring these figures to paper as accurately as possible, and when it is successful, it brings me enormous joy.”
When he is not drawing, Barkan is studying for his Masters in Business Administration at Cal State, Northridge. Though he is still unsure of what he will do “when he grows up,” he would be thrilled to combine his drawing in his future professional life.
Barkan came to the USA with his parents when he was only two years old. His early years were spent in Kibbutz Kinneret. The family settled in New Jersey, where his father worked as an Engineer. After several years, they decided to trade the East Coast cold for the West Coast sun and landed in Los Angeles. The family settled in Santa Clarita, near the father’s new workplace.
The young Barkan remembers that he always loved to draw. “I was the artist of my class. Wherever there were special projects in class, they always asked me to draw. I never thought to turn drawing into a profession, it was only a hobby.”
The childhood hobby gained substantial momentum a few years ago when Barkan played around with his pencil during a boring class and discovered that his is much more than just a hobby. He was able to reproduce a photograph of a basketball player on the cover of his notebook in matching detail, so much so, that it appeared to be a print of the original photograph. Since that moment, he hasn’t stopped drawing. Mostly, basketball players, but sometimes he also draws friends and family members who bug him to immortalize them on paper.
“I assume I would be able to find a job as an artist at one of the animation studios, but I don’t like drawing those kinds of things; I want to draw what I love, not what I am required to draw.”
A while back, he sent pictures to the stars of the Lakers, but never received a response. “It’s possible they never even received the drawings,” he says. “I assume they get a lot of fan mail and don’t receive a lot of it personally.” For now, and until his drawing adorn the walls of the homes of the stars like Lebron James, Vince Carter, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippen, and all the guys, his drawings will be kept in his huge portfolio and will wait patiently to be discovered.