© 2022 WBGO
WBGO New Record Spine Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Iconic Sports Pop Culture Artist John Costacos unveils a new blockchain-based digital collectibles company called the Costacos Collection

Warren Moon.jpeg
Costacos Collection
/
One of the many Warren Moon digital art pieces from the Costacos Collection

The story surrounding the career of John Costacos is really quite amazing. It's certainly filled with great stories about working with the top athletes of the 1980's and 90's when his sport-culture posters were quite the rave.

The iconic, award-winning sports pop culture artist has unveiled a new blockchain-based digital collectibles company called the Costacos Collection.

Costacos and Doug.jpg
Doug Doyle/Zoom
/
John Costacos has some laughs with SportsJam host Doug Doyle

John Costacos joined SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about how he has re-imagined his famed poster series and created new digital art in collaboration with legendary athletes and their foundations. The impressive list of athletes includes Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Troy Aikman, Jim McMahon, Kenny Easley, Lester Hayes, as well as baseball stars Roger Clemens, Pudge Rodriguez and Will Clark.

Dan Marino.jpeg
Costacos Collection
/
One of John Costacos' new digital pieces that re-imagines his famous posters of Dolphins great Dan Marino

John admits digital art has opened up so many new possibilities.

"It's whole new world. We are transferring into a time when addition to hard assets or hard art, or real-life art, a painting or a print, something tangible like that is always going to exist, but the digital stuff has a lot of amazing parts to it. One of them is there's no storage problem. You know if you want to put art on your wall, you only have so much real estate in your house, in your room or whatever for the stuff that you like. If you want to put a print up there and frame it up, well you've got to get the print, you've got to frame it and you can only have so many of those. With the digital stuff, you can buy as many of them you want and have them scroll on your big screen or on a computer monitor. That's one really cool thing about it. From my standpoint, there's no distribution problem. It just goes out digitally, instantly and it's awesome. So that's kind of fun. The best part about it for me, because I don't really care about any the other stuff, I don't want to do anything other than create. I can create stuff that was impossible. I could visualize stuff back in the day. We didn't have the technology to do it or we didn't have a giant budget to be able to do it. Now, pretty much whatever I can conceive of in my head, we can create."

John and his brother Tok, the "Costacos Brothers", sold more than 30-million sports posters from 1986-1996. Those posters included imagery, slogans and nicknames that stuck with players for the rest of their careers. John's first poster captured Seattle Seahawks great Kenny Easley as "The Enforcer". Easley's poster would spark a decade-plus series of art and a huge demand from fans and the sports figures themselves.

Logo 3.png
Costacos Collection
/
The Costacos Collection is the new blockchain-based digital collectibles company of iconic sports and pop culture artist John Costacos

Now, John is not only re-imagining his revered poster art in the Costacos Collection, but he's creating new digital art as NFTs. Costacos explains why NFTs are so interesting and valuable.

"NFT, it's a really bad title, non-fungible token. Couldn't they come up with something better for it? Maybe we will. It's a piece of code imbedded into the digital art piece that authenticates it. An then the blockchain, it follows it. The blockchain is like CarFax for it.
So over time if you buy something there's a record of it. If you sell it to me, I can see when you bought and how much you bought it for. Two hundred years from now someone will own this digital art piece somewhere and they'll be able to look back at all the people who bought and how much it went for each time. It's like when you buy a print and you have 1 of 250 or 1 of 25 and it has the artist's signature and you got some certificate with it or some authenticity so if you ever want to sell it, that's where that value is. This is all digital. This is a digital version of it."

Aikman.jpeg
Costacos Collection
/
Dallas HOF quarterback and current broadcaster Troy Aikman is part of the Costacos Collection

Costacos is hoping this Sunday's Super Bowl between the Cincinnati Bengals and the LA Rams will produce some magical moments that he can use as inspiration for new digital pieces. You can soon see view the Costacos Collection here but you can follow the collectibles company on twitter here.

Costacos, who is from Seattle, was attending the University of Washington in 1984 when he heard a popular song on the radio. It was "Purple Rain" from the late the iconic singer-songwriter-musician Prince. That song and the Huskies football team's win over Michigan prompted Costacos to call a designer friend in LA to create t-shirts with the slogan "Purple Reign".

"It was this cartoon football player falling out of the sky underneath a cloud with rain, and he's about to squash this little tiny player underneath him. And it took off. I sold 23-thousand shirts before I knew what I was doing. I realized if you hit a hot market you have a chance to do pretty well."

Next move for the Costacos Brothers would be to create a "Real Men Wear Black" t-shirt for the Oakland Raiders fans. It wasn't long after they would move to poster art and.....the rest is art history.

During this episode of SportsJam, Costacos tells some funny stories about some of his favorite athletes to work with, including Jim McMahon and Charles Barkley.

Costacos with Moon and McMahon.jpg
John Costacos
/
John Costacos (middle) with two of his favorite quarterbacks Warren Moon and Jim McMahon

You can see the entire interview with John Costacos here.

Stay Connected
Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.