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Baseball card artist Matthew Lee Rosen (aka Matthew Rosen) poses in front of his artwork

For years, my parents were begging me to take my childhood baseball cards out of their house. When I finally did, I fell in love with them all over again.

I'm Matthew Lee Rosen... and I'm a baseball card artist. The smell of chewing gum and card stock triggers my fond memories of iconic 1980's card designs. Like anyone else who collected baseball cards as a kid, I was told they'd be worth lots of money when I got older, only to discover they were pretty worthless. So, what happened?

I learned that Topps lost a monopolization lawsuit which triggered new market competition in 1981 from Fleer and Donruss. Over the next decade, a few more brands entered the mix (Sportflics, Score and Upper Deck), and they all vied for shelf space. This created massive overproduction. It was a baseball card boom, and by the late 80's, some of the most popular cards had over a million in circulation. Today, they simply aren't rare to find. My personal favorite, the 1987 Donruss Greg Maddux Rated Rookie, can be purchased for a dollar on eBay. One dollar!

So, to celebrate their designs and help reduce circulation, I decided to turn them into pieces of artwork. In December of 2018, I began paying homage to the sport with my diamonds, which often tell visual stories about the baseball card boom and subsequent bubble burst. Soon after, I started creating my gum stick-inspired art... as an analogy for stained careers. It's since evolved into something broader. 

Artist Matthew Lee Rosen (aka Matthew Rosen) with his gum cards.Rosen's 1979 Topps Phillies Burger king collectible gum cards

During the COVID-19 quarantine, like many others, I was uncertain about the future. My corporate event jobs were all cancelled, and I needed to conserve my budget and resources. Creating these large pieces of art required significant material cost and space... so, I went small. And thus, I began making my collectible gum cards!