Donald Moss – “Premier Sports Illustrator” – 1985 Sport Artist of the Year
Moss’ paintings are featured in The Best of Sports Illustrated, many museums, and the baseball, basketball, and tennis halls of fame as well as USGA’s Golf House. He was invited to the White House by President Ronald Reagan for the opening of the Smithsonian’s “Champions of American Sport Exhibition,” which featured his paintings of Ted Williams and Jack Nicklaus. The inclusion of the Williams painting in the Smithsonian’s 200 Years of Sport in America ensured that, as Joanne Price wrote, “The ear splitting crack of Ted Williams’ bat forever resonates in the crackling rainbow of color.”
Later, as Chairman of the United States Air Force (USAF) Art Program, Moss flew around the world and painted USAF activities. Those paintings are now displayed in the USAF art collection. Moss also authored and illustrated The Art of Watercolor Painting (Walter Brooks, 1975). He has designed a dozen commemorative stamps for the United States Postal Service including one for the “50th Anniversary of Tennis” and was selected as an illustrator for the 1980 XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. for which he also created stamps. The mascot for the Games was commissioned as an animal. Moss “decided it should be a raccoon because of the unique mask-like appearance of his eyes which would be great for the Winter Olympics.” The masked mascot was then named “Ronnie the Raccoon” by school children of Lake Placid, and Ronnie’s distinctive face graced many Winter Games posters and accessories.
Moss said, “I have always been impressed by athletes who give everything to their sport. I admire their intensity, their ability to please others and make a good living at the same time. As a sports painter, I like to think that I do the same.” Thus, Moss became deeply involved in art with affiliations with several prominent committees and memberships. He served as Senior Vice President and lifelong member of the Society of Illustrators. He has also been a board member of the National Art Museum of Sport, a member of the Low Illustration Committee of the New Britain Museum of Art, and a member of the First Marine Division Association. For his entire art career, Moss continued to work on his craft, always striving to improve. “Just like a tennis player tries to get stronger or a runner tries to go a little faster, an artist is always trying to do better,” he said. “It keeps you competitive and keeps you alive.” This dedication, hard work, and high achievement contributed to the selection of Moss as the 1985 Sport Artist of the Year.