He no longer laces up the shoes as a college football player but Marshalltown native John Becker has found a different way to connect to the sport he loves.
Becker, a 1975 Marshalltown High School graduate who lives in the Grand Rapids, Mich. area, has spent the last two years working on paintings produced from college football photographs.
His main area of expertise is Big Ten football including the Iowa Hawkeyes, Michigan and Michigan State and he works with acrylic paint on canvas.
John Becker holds one of his paintings that depicts a college football game. Becker is a 1975 Marshalltown High School graduate who now lives in Michigan.
This piece of artwork, titled “The Swarm” depicts the Iowa Hawkeyes football team entering the field. It was painted by John Becker, who is a 1975 Marshalltown High School graduate and now lives in Michigan.
Becker is a former college football player at Coe College and began focusing more on football art after the two sons he raised with his wife Julie entered adulthood.
"I love the sport and I go to games when I can," Becker said. "It helps me keep the connection to it."
The end of 2011 is a turning point in the career for Becker. He is retiring from his job selling computer systems and will work on his football art full time.
He has seen his work grow in popularity recently and has produced paintings as a result of a request from a parent of a Michigan State player and even a hospital in Nebraska.
"It's starting to catch on," Becker said. "The response has been very positive and I get requests from all different types of people."
He said his area of Michigan has many types of art galleries and he wants his work to stick out to the men, who might be dragged to the galleries with their wives.
"Sometimes there's very little for the husbands to look at," Becker said.
His favorite piece of all his football artwork is a piece titled "The Swarm" which shows the Iowa Hawkeyes team ready to storm onto the field.
Becker's parents, Robert and Sally Becker, still live in Marshalltown and Robert was on the 1947 mythical state champion football team at MHS. John Becker said he started getting interested in art after taking a class taught by Tom Burns at MHS.
"He was a big influence," he said.
The next goal is to make a website where people can order his work. He now has a site where people can view his work at www.paintingsbyjohnbecker.com.
"I would like to expand it and travel to more art shows," Becker said.