The sports poster, like so many child actors, often gets forced into early retirement. Once proudly pinned on a dorm-room wall, that Troy Aikman print eventually becomes a guy's awkward reminder of getting older and it gets dumped, or at best gets relegated to a "man cave" along with the other stuff his girlfriend doesn't want to see.
Art of Sport could have named itself Art of Stealth. Its cryptic soccer-team posters appear meant to fly under the radar of a person's non-sports-loving companion, or at least to win her over with minimalism.
"With the help of a few pints we set about sketching out something we could get in the house, and the ladies could live with," said JP Stallard, who met fellow co-founder Rob Duncan while watching a Champions League final in a San Francisco pub.
Those gold hammers set up against a maroon background? They depict the unofficial nickname for West Ham United. The white eagle flying under a light-blue sky? The colors and shield for Manchester City. The Rothko-esque poster for Liverpool FC merely includes various shades of red, the team's home-uniform color.
(As an American football fan, I only know these facts after looking up Wikipedia.)
Stallard and Duncan have focused on English soccer teams since they launched in September, which makes sense because they're die-hard fans of Premier League rivals Arsenal and Liverpool. But they got my attention with a new print that celebrates my beloved San Francisco Giants' World Series sweep.
The poster is consistent with the art-house treatment all the teams get: there's no logo or mention of the Giants. It's just an orange broom with the city's skyline as the bristles and a tiny "San Francisco 2012" written upside-down. It sold me -- I bought one of the 50 that were released.
The designers hope to expand their catalog to more American teams, especially the NFL. And who wouldn't want to see the larger-than-life Dallas Cowboys or New York Jets go all hipster-beard, modern art on us? This needs to happen if only for the amusement.
As for whether the prints really do pass the domestic test, Stallard said they've done so in his own home.
"My wife Brittanie loved them (but she might be biased)," he said. "She's American and more into baseball so was a big fan of the "Swept" poster. So we have it between our "Keep Calm (and Carry On)" and"'Future Site of Low-intensity Conflict" poster on the mantelpiece."
The prints are priced at $45 each, except for the Giants one ($30). They're sized for an IKEA RIBBA frame at 15.75 by 19.6 inches.