Discover the Artist’s Story
Luke the Cardist fell in love with drawing from an early age – he still has sketchbooks filled with his earliest, youthful creations. Growing up, he had two seemingly irreconcilable passions: sports and art. Despite his love for art, his last formal class was in junior high.
As Luke got older, he struggled to integrate his avocation into his vocation. His personal and professional journey found him creating food and packaging art for Trader Joe’s, and working as a project manager for a lighting company. Then, serendipity arrived in the mail: he received a card he bought off eBay that he thought was printed but had been hand-painted. Instead of being mad, he was inspired. Luke painted a 2020 Donruss Optic DK Metcalf and sold it on eBay. This success hinted at a niche market, leading him to go all-in and become Luke the Cardist.
Luke the Cardist’s first 1/1
Discover more about Luke the Cardist, from his first memories of captivating card designs and collaborating with Topps for a unique Series 2 insert set, to the importance of community in this installment of Collector Stories.
What’s your first memory of trading cards and collecting?
One of my best friend’s dad growing up was a collector – he still is. He’s a huge Red Sox fan. I remember vividly going to the Tri-star shows with him in Houston when they were at the George R. Brown Convention Center. He had a friend we called the Candyman who worked for a card company. Every time we saw the Candyman, he’d give us packs, and I’d check the prices in my Beckett Magazines. I was always looking to see if my cards were increasing in value. But I also collected cards that I thought looked cool – that’s what I was always drawn to.
What’s your first memory of a card design that really captivated you?
A Skybox Marcus Camby: it had all these cool acetates and was TV-themed. It had a neon green tv, and the screen was bright pink. The colors were super bright and crazy. I also really like the Stadium Club Ring Leaders Inserts. They had soaring eagles on them, these really flashy rings, and explosions. I remember looking at them and thinking: these are just too cool. And I still have a bunch of them.
How do you approach your collecting and the Hobby today?
I’ve never really cared about value. It wasn’t until I was an adult and trading cards started to enjoy this resurgence I started to think about the investing side of things. Like stocks, the idea of investing in players and careers has become something I’m more attuned to. But I still mainly collect things that have personal and nostalgic value. We’re a big wrestling family, so I buy a lot of wrestling stuff. I also go after different art cards, Wacky Packs, and stuff like that. My approach is to collect the stuff I like because of how it looks or what it means to me and my family. That’s my approach.
How did the 2023 Topps Series 2 collab come together?
The stars aligned. It was VIP night at the MINT, and I introduced myself to this guy looking at my work. It turned out he worked for Fanatics Collectibles, and I had a meeting the next day with another person from Fanatics Collectibles. At the meeting, both guys ended up being there, and we talked about creating something different to chase in addition to autos and relics. The stars aligned, and we created something great with Series 2. And I can’t wait to see how we’re able to work together next.
How important is community in the Hobby, and how has building community played an important part in your career?
Community is really important – especially after things really blew up for the industry in the last several years. I think we’re still in the early stages of this new era in the Hobby, and community is essential to building everything the right way. The Hobby can be overwhelming – how to collect, how to buy, breakers and breaking, so many little things to know. So I try to help people as much as possible and introduce them to the Hobby the same way people did for me. It’s all about getting as many people to partake in the Hobby, feel good about getting into the Hobby, and have fun.
For me, how I continue to grow and build my art and my brand will continue to be all about community building. Everything I’ve been able to do in the last three years or so has been because the people that have supported me and bought my artwork have spread the word. And it’s all only happened because of the Hobby’s already existing community. Whether people are filming content at a show and giving me a shout-out or interview on their channel or buying artwork and showing it off, everything good that has happened is all because of community. And I couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative. I think we’re all in a good spot with the Hobby, and we’re just going to continue to grow and build it.