Get to know Wayne Peltz: Visiting Clubhouse Assistant Manager, Aspiring Lego Block Artist
As the Visiting Clubhouse Assistant Manager, Wayne Peltz already has plenty to keep him busy. But when Peltz decided to try out a new hobby in late 2009, he never imagined it would lead to a thriving side-business with his customer base including some of the biggest names in baseball. Peltz’s custom lego portraits have become a hit with players and fans alike, and his position in the clubhouse has proven a perfect outlet to promote his various projects.
TribeVibe recently spoke with Peltz to get the full story on his lego portraits.
TribeVibe: How did you first get the idea to make the lego portraits?
Wayne Peltz: A few years back I was working here, and we had an Indians player by the name of Jamey Carroll. Jamey Carroll did these little index size drawings in pencil – they looked really cool. Then he’d have big-time players – Jeter, Pujols – they’d sign them no questions asked. They’d drop whatever they were doing and just sign these things. I thought to myself: I want to get to that point where the guys are looking to sign something for me and I don’t have to bother them by saying: ‘can you sign this ball?’
TV: Why did you choose to use legos?
WP: I tried to draw at first and I couldn’t do it, and so the very next thing I actually picked up was lego blocks. I started buying them on EBay and trying to find colors I didn’t have, and just started going at it – while my Wife, or my girlfriend at the time, looked at me like I was crazy.
TV: What was the first project you completed?
WP: The first one I did was Jim Thome. I chose him because I felt like even if it turned out complete trash he was going to be a guy that was going to be encouraging. He was going to be a guy that would say ‘Oh, it looks just like me – thanks, Wayne.’
TV: How did you begin selling your portraits?
WP: I remember when [Thome] was signing it, (former Indians Pitcher) Carl Pavano was looking over his shoulder and said, “Jimmy that’s awesome – are you gonna buy that or what?” And I told them it’s not for sale – I wanted the first one for myself. And [Pavano] said, “well then I want one of me,” and that was one of the first ones I sold.
TV: When did you begin selling them?
WP: Probably 2010 – I probably started making them at the end of 2009.
TV: How long do they take to make?
WP: It varies by the size, by the colors, by how difficult they can be overall. A typical one usually takes me around 20 hours to work with and that includes me trying to design it and all that.
TV: How did word get out among other players?
WP: [Visiting Clubhouse Manager] Willie Jenks let me hang them up, so what happened was after I did Thome, I brought it in uncompleted because the White Sox had come in and they saw it as I was building it. Once I brought it in the players thought it looked like him, and then after I had done this one, the players started asking me about making different ones.
TV: How many have you made so far?
WP: I have probably made about 50. Most of them are based around players.
TV: Have you made any non-baseball portraits?
WP: I did a Michael Jackson, that was the second one I did, but then I said ‘I want to do more baseball players’, and I thought it would be really cool if they would sign it. So I did Johan Santana after that because he was always a big clown when he came in here, and I knew the Mets were coming the next year.
TV: What are some recent portraits you’ve made?
WP: I just finished up one for a guy in New York of Gary Carter. The guy that bought it bought it as a gift for a big Mets fan, so the actual person will see it at his birthday party. I’ve done Josh Willingham, I’ve done C.C. Sabathia – that was the biggest one I’ve ever done. I also did these cats for a lady who sent me a picture of them.
TV: How many have you finished this season?
WP: This season, probably 10 or 12. For the most part Sabathia kind of killed me because it took like two or three months just to work on his. Every day was just a small part of it, and it took so long to do.
TV: Do you have to deliver the portraits to customers?
WP: I do [deliver them] – the outrageous size ones are not the easiest ships…The smaller sizes ship fine. The Post Office, they’re the way to go. They just don’t send the outrageous size unfortunately.
TV: Have you received any media attention in the past?
WP: I did NPR radio, and they take you down to this big room, and told me a guy from D.C. was going to call in. They gave me a headset and told me to talk into this giant microphone with no one else in the room. It was a little weird, but it went really well in the end. I’ve done NPR, I’ve done ESPN Page 2, I was in the New York Times and the Plain Dealer a couple times.
Additional information and a full gallery of his work can be found on his website, OneBy1Art.com