The Champions Collection
Athletes Unlimited believes in the fabric that creates culture, and values the threads between artistic expression and the world of sport. The Champions Collection was developed to create a collection of portraits of Athletes Unlimited champions by commissioning emerging artists whose work and approach speaks to our mission and values. Our goal is to draw arts and sports closer together while providing a platform for these artists and deepening our ties to local communities.
Softball 2020 | Champion: Cat Osterman | Artist: Hailey Losselyong
Portrait of Cat Osterman. Acrylic on Canvas.
Hailey Losselyong is a Chicago-based visual artist who uses a wide variety of “canvases” to display abstract portraits of women. “I am very inspired by women and femininity. I feel like it is important for me to help girls and women see themselves in artwork.”
Volleyball 2021 | Champion: Jordan Larson | Artist: Abi Salami
Portrait of Jordan Larson, 2021. Acrylic and Gold Leaf. True to Salami’s work, the finished portrait is full of symbols and personal meaning. Landscape, textures, apparel and special details all tell stories from Larson’s personal life.
Abi Salami is a self-taught artist who creates large-scale surrealist works that explore her experiences as a Nigerian immigrant and Black women in the United States. Through the use of a personal visual lexicon made up of symbols, she explores topics such as sexuality, mental health and race. Salami was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and is based in Dallas, Texas and Brooklyn, NY. She was named as part of the Saatchi Art 2020 Rising Stars Under 35 Class.
Lacrosse 2021 | Champion: Taylor Cummings | Artist: Abigail Rugg
Portrait of Taylor Cummings, 2021. Oil and Gold Leaf. The portrait features Champion, Taylor Cummings, standing supreme in front of an abundance of black-eyed Susans, the state flower of Maryland, and a gold, abstracted lacrosse field.
Painter, sculptor and installation artist, Abigail Rugg was born in 1999 in New Jersey and is now based in Baltimore, Md. She attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, and received a BFA in Painting, with a concentration in Curation. Her work includes figurative oil painting, large-scale abstract installation, sculpture, fibers, ceramics, and multi-media pieces.
Softball 2021 | Champion: Aleshia Ocasio | Artist: Laura Collins
Portrait of Aleshia Ocasio, 2021. Acrylic on Canvas. The portrait features Champion, Aleshia Ocasio in a pose that highlights intensity, a competitive spirit, concentration, confidence and leadership. The background is a treatment based on Ocasio’s favorite flower, and is bold statement about color, energy and gender roles.
Laura Collins holds a Master of Arts in New Media and a Graduate Certificate in Women & Gender Studies from DePaul University, and a Master of Fine Art in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine and Applied Arts in Painting from the University of Illinois.
Basketball 2022 | Champion: Tianna Hawkins | Artist: Isaac Pelayo
Portrait of Tianna Hawkins, 2022. Oil on Canvas.
Isaac Pelayo’s work combines the hyperrealism with elements of street art, and the result is a beautiful contrast, a visual representation of the dichotomy within him. It is not only a combination of influential art styles, but a combination of the dueling personalities he feels within him. His works come from both the loving intellectual and the defiant rebel.
Volleyball 2022 | Champion: Bethania De La Cruz | Artist: Jesus Treviño
Portrait of Bethania De La Cruz, 2022. Oil on Canvas.
Jesus Treviño (b. 1995, Brownsville, Texas) received a BA in Studio Art from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2018 and his MFA in Painting/Drawing at the University of Texas at Austin. His work is rooted from his experience being raised on the U.S./Mexico border and deals with the erasure of history, displacement of people, and its residual personal, emotional, and social effects.
Lacrosse 2022 | Champion: Taylor Moreno | Artist: Julia Gould
Portrait of Taylor Moreno, 2022. Acrylic on Canvas.
Julia Gould was born in Baltimore County, Md., in 1999. She is currently living and working in Baltimore City, with a rigorous painting and printmaking practice to develop personal narrative. Her work discusses corporeal experiences, with the goal of investigating their metaphysical implications. In addition to her art practice, Gould practices Judo and Jiu Jitsu, and has attained the rank of Ikkyu through Jason Morris Judo Center and blue belt through Zenyo Jiu Jitsu.
Softball 2022 | Champion: Dejah Mulipola | Artist: Jennifer Cronin
Portrait of Dejah Mulipola, 2022. Oil on canvas.
Jennifer Cronin is a Chicago-based visual artist, known for her meticulously rendered paintings which explore the mystery and complexity of everyday life. Sometimes starkly real, and other times other-worldly, Cronin’s style of captivating realism pulls the viewer into the world of her paintings and drawings. From exploring inner psychology to highlighting income inequality, Cronin is constantly working to explore what it means to be human.
Portraits in Progress
- NaLyssa Smith (2023 Champion, Basketball)
- Taylor Moreno (2023 Champion, Lacrosse)