Mod Gallery is pleased to present “Junk Wax Era” from the Sports-card and sports nostalgia creator “EEPHUS.” on October 1, 2021 at 1809 McGee in Kansas City, Missouri. EEPHUS focuses on giving a second life to sports cards from the ’80s and ’90s. The EEPHUS work highlights the greats and worst from an iconic era in sports and entertainment.
If you collected sports cards in the “Junk Wax Era” (a term given to the sports card mass production between 1986-1996), you’d instantly recognize the legendary sports stars and sports moments showcased. It’s not just the stars but, in some cases, the mustaches. EEPHUS does feature several pieces focused strictly on baseball players’ mustaches infusing comedy into the design.
In anticipation of the “Junk Wax Era” taking place at Mod Gallery Friday, Oct 1st, I sat down for an informal explanation of EEPHUS’s thoughts and work process.
Kat Day Design: Why the baseball cards? Is it something you have always done?
EEPHUS: The cards were lonely, rotting in boxes in my parent’s basement. I wanted to bring attention and life back to something millions of people at one point in time valued. Some of these cards hadn’t seen daylight in over twenty years. I feel like I’m making them happy by bringing the cards back to life in a unique way. I know they’re happier hanging on walls. As a kid, I’d tape my empty baseball card packs all over my toy chest, so I’ve been designing with the cards most of my life. I just took a twenty-year hiatus. In the early part of 2018, EEPHIUS officially finished the first collective piece.
Kat Day Design: How do you typically start on one of your pieces?
EEPHUS: I’ll remember a specific event and the players involved and go from there. An example would be a recent NBA Dirk Nowitzki piece I finished. I was in Dallas and had Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Maverickshighlights on my mind, as well as Dallas. A few days later, in El Paso, I was eating Whataburger and about to throw away my trash, and, in my head, I saw Dirk Nowitzki dunking on a Whataburger. I saved the wrappers and bought a Dirk Nowitzki rookie card a few weeks later. Now there’s a Texas original EEPHUS Dirk Nowitzki rookie card. Most of my work comes from commissions, people reach out with certain players or teams they like, and a month later, I mail them off the finished piece.
Kat Day Design: How long does your process take?
EEPHUS: Each piece typically takes three to ten days to complete depending on the size and style. I can spend dozens of hours just trimming up old cards.
Kat Day Design: Do you have any influences?
EEPHUS: Sure, I’ve always been a big Walter Looss Jr fan. He’s been the best baseball and sports photographer over the past forty years. His work was constantly popping up in packs of baseball cards throughout the 1990s. My Dad and brother both have extensive experience in various art mediums ranging from photography to lithography. I grew up constantly bombarded with visual images void of the limitations of both.
My brother gifted me a Bo Jackson print he made about ten years ago, which planted a seed. But every day, I’m influenced by something I see, something I look at and wonder why I hadn’t seen it before; if that’s a good answer, that’s my answer.
Kat Day Design: You recently moved to Kansas City from the West Coast; how do you like it?
EEPHUS: I love it, the people are great, and the art here is incredible. I live in the Crossroads, and just walking down any street, I see impressive murals and art. I grew up in the Midwest, so I kind of knew what to expect, but the variety of colors on the Kansas City streets is new to me! We have a great community in the downtown Crossroads area, and it’s lovely. Kat Day Design: Tell me about the “EEPHUS Show” at MOD Gallery & Space?
EEPHUS: The show is First Friday, October 1, in the Crossroads Arts District at MOD Gallery & Space. I’ll be showcasing roughly 80 or so cards and wall hangings. There will also be a few baseball bats, gloves, shirts, and some digital memorabilia I’ve shot and edited. So, there’s a bit of everything. It’s going to be a big party. I want people to come and have a great time. Come on out and support your local artists and sports collectibles.
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