One man’s passion project

While my spectator sport of choice is baseball, I can, when pressed, come up with the names of a handful of NBA stars.  One of them is Houston Rocket James Harden, who in addition to being a spectacular player, sports a rather spectacular beard.

James Harden
With just 6 games left in the season, Harden leads the league in scoring with 36.2 points a game, eight points more than the second leading scorer.  Not too shabby.

As I learned in a New York Times piece last weekend, that beard has served as an intriguing source of inspiration for Filip Peraic, a freelance illustrator from the Croatian city of Zadar.  Since 2013, Peraic has been creating a series of portraits of Harden, each in profile, each in a different style.  Here are some of my favorites:

Harden flowers
Flowers and more
Harden flowers #2
Flower and more….34 days later
Harden olive oil
Olive oil
Harden Hurricane
Hurricane Harden
Harden whale
Whale of a beard
Harden single line
A single line
Harden swish
A nod to Hokusai*
Harden Dylan
A nod to Milton Glaser*
Harden Hardenia
Isle of Hardenia
Harden #1
Peraic’s first Harden portrait

I’m in awe of people who possess the gene for this kind of ridiculously inspired creativity.  I wish I had it, but I don’t.  (Past posts I’ve done on others that possess it include this and this and this.)  And to see the other portraits Peraic has created to date, click here.  Not all of them succeed (in my opinion), but he went there, and that’s to be admired.  The artist notes, “The best portraits are when I surprise myself.  I’m thinking about James Harden’s head constantly — it’s my passion project.”

Here’s to passion projects, and to surprising one’s self.

*Peraic’s points of reference for two of the above portraits:

Glaser Dylan
Milton Glaser’s 1966 poster was included with the release of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits in 1967.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa, a woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai


  • Wow! Those are amazing! I followed all the links and looked at all the pictures. I had missed (or just don’t remember) your post with the “autopsy pics” of artists. I was glad to revisit your older blogs and to see every one of Peraic’s Harden compositions.

    I was most amazed by the picture of Harden done in one single line. I wondered how a person could do that, but then I explained to myself with my reasonable brain that he must have (MUST HAVE!) planned and sketched it out multiple times before doing the final sketch. Because otherwise, if a person could just sit down and draw that w/o planning, I need to trade my brain in for one like that. That’s a thing, right?

    Thanks for introducing me to such cool things through your blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Melanie. I really appreciate your stopping by. And I’ll wait in line with you for ‘a brain like that’!! ; )

      Liked by 1 person

  • I am not much of a fan of the NBA not because I don’t like basketball but because I prefer the less than perfect college game. But I too know the names of a handful of NBA players and James Harden is one of them. And because I pretty much only watch ESPN (and NESN for the Sox) I do know that the “experts” are critical of Harden’s scoring streak this season. Maybe it’s the beard, but I don’t recall anyone complaining about Michael Jordan, or Larry Bird, or Magic being a ball hog. James, it appears, is a ball hog. But the artwork is impressive and like you I sit in awe of creatives like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  • These are amazing. Given all the Red Sox players with beards, imagine the possibilities. As a 100% left-brain person, I am truly awestruck

    Liked by 1 person

  • Here we have a talented Croatian artist focusing on the head of an American sportsman. We do live in a strange world, don’t we?

    Love these quirky art-posts. Took the boy back to see your Christoph Niemann posts. He loved the ink bottle camera image.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Enjoyable piece as usual, Jeanne. In addition to the Bob Dylan artwork, that particular style of swirling colors made me think of “The Yellow Submarine “

    Liked by 1 person

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