“The wishbone and the Wing-T were playbooks, Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense [is] a meticulous method of gameplanning, but the Air Raid is something more akin to an idea” - Chris B. BrownDeveloped by Hal Mumme and Mike Leach, the Air Raid offense is one of the greatest formal inventions/evolutions in football history. Mumme and Leach took passing concepts from great offenses of the past, streamlined them for ease of communication between players and coaches, while adding personnel tweaks (e.g. changing the distance between the offensive linemen, and staying in the shotgun formation), and injecting a “killer instinct” philosophy to play-calling. To say that their efforts revolutionized the game of football at every level, from Pop Warner to the pros, would be an understatement.
My approach to painting in a post-modern world where all approaches to art are available, but a conservative mindset is prevalent, is similar to the way that Mumme and Leach viewed football in the mid-90’s. There is no need to create an entirely new movement of art whole cloth, or doggedly follow in an old model, rather I am free to borrow what I want from abstract painting, streamline it, add my own formal tweaks, and take no prisoners. As Chris B. Brown notes in his seminal history of the Air Raid Offense on his “Smart Football” website, Mumme and Leach were not interested in playing the same brand of football as their competitors, “Instead they needed to change the game into something different, something, well, weird.” And I could not agree or identify with this impulse more.
Jay Gaskill is an abstract painter based in Portland, OR. Born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C., he received his arts education in New York City, earning a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, and an MFA in painting from Hunter College. His work has been featured in the Pencil in the Studio blog, Maake Magazine, and ArtMaze Magazine. He has exhibited in group exhibitions on both coasts, and his most recent solo exhibition was at the One River School in Lake Oswego, OR in the summer of 2018.