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Maria Sharapova

Sharapova painted as a relentless puppet machine in a femme fatale nightmare. “Surreal but Real” is how Tom Lohner describes his art. Sharapova painted the moment before she cracks a serve, the background paint dripping upward in anticipatory dread: each one of Sharapova’s cool assassin’s bullets accompanied by 100 decibel shrieks and screams. Some fans complain, but they all come out to watch this tall-leggy-Russian-American-six-page-spread in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.  Year after year, more endorsement money than any female athlete on earth. But not easy being blonde, a bombshell. Not easy getting spanked by Serena Williams 18 straight times for 12 straight years ouch! ouch! ouch! ouch! after Sharapova beat her at Wimbledon and the WTA finals in 2004. Her game’s built on two great strengths. 1) Sharapova’s one of the purest ball strikers ever, rifling fearless, powerful groundstrokes repeatedly close to the lines.  2) Sharapova’s one of the toughest, grittiest competitors tennis has ever known. In hundreds of matches big and small, I have rarely seen her lose focus or choke. “During games of special importance you can increase your Mildronate [the trade name for Meldonium] dose to 3-4 pills (1hr before the match).”   How to win matches, how to look good, all the while selling products, the female self. “I shop, therefore I am,” writes the feminist artist Barbara Kruger. Female identity, how it’s constructed . . . 

Artist Bio: The wildly inventive and popular Austrian artist, Tom Lohner, has the following credo: “Where passion pulls – follow. Never question this – it may be the only chance in your life to be truly alive.” Celebrated for paintings that combine a traditional medium of acrylic colors and futurist aesthetics, Tom Lohner is perhaps most famous for his Art of Hard Rock series, where he transformed 13 iconic rock stars into animals, a show that toured throughout Europe in various Hard Rock Cafes. As a classical music lover, my favorite painting of his is Vivaldi.  Check it out! You can learn more about him and his work on Tom Lohner’s website or follow him on instagram.

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Maria Sharapova first published with the National Senior Men’s Tennis Association.

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