Gene Locklear, a full–blooded member of the Lumbee Indian Nation, was born in Pembroke, North Carolina, 1949. Gene’s native culture and life experiences provide him special insights into the Native American themes he paints — the plight, pride and spirituality of the Indian people.
Playing baseball and creating art have been his passions since he was a child. Due to his compelling history and challenges he has faced, Gene is sought after as a motivational speaker, sports talk radio guest, and participant in charity events. He has donated numerous works of art to causes he believes are important.
While in the minor leagues, Gene once hit four home runs in one game. He won the Triple Crown one year and has been elected into the Robeson County, North Carolina, Hall of Fame (2005) and the Syracuse Chiefs, (Syracuse, New York) Hall of Fame (2011).
Gene, known as "Chief" to his teammates and friends, played 10 years in the major leagues for the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, and the New York Yankees. He then played one year in the Japanese Major Leagues.
Gene takes pride in having helped to break down racial barriers by becoming the first member of the Lumbee tribe to play professional sports and being one of only about two dozen Native Americans to play in the majors.
He maintains countless friendships with fellow major leaguers and professional athletes from throughout the sports world by virtue of the sports themed art work he has created.
Locklear started painting very early in life. As a 6-year-old in art class, he knew he wanted to be an artist. He continued to paint throughout his baseball career because he needed the extra source of income. He sold his early works for as little as $20 in order to put gas in his car. Finally, after fighting for playing time and dealing with prejudices, he quit baseball and concentrated on art.
Throughout his lengthy career as an artist Gene has produced large murals as well as framed pieces of all sizes. He has painted images on media as small as baseballs and wine bottle labels.
He continues to produce works of art in oils, acrylics, and pencil. As you will see by looking through the portfolio section, his styles include realism, impressionism and abstract. His subjects often include Native American and Western figures and landscapes, professional athletes from countless sports, and animals.
Doctorate in Fine Arts, University of North Carolina, Pembroke
Commercial Art degree, Minneapolis School of Art
Previously commissioned–art clients include:
The White House
The Bureau of Indian Affairs
NFL (Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII, XXX)
PGA Phil Mickelson
LPGA Inamori Classic
PGA Tiger Woods
NASCAR Rusty Wallace
Turner Broadcasting (32 commissioned pieces)
Ted Williams Baseball Collectible Cards
Cartwright's Journal of Baseball Collectibles
Bill Walton, Naismith Memorial basketball Hall of Fame
Rollie Fingers, MLB Hall of Fame Relief Pitcher
Goose Gossage, MLB Hall Of Fame Relief Pitcher
Trevor Hoffman, MLB All-Star Relief Pitcher
NBA Atlanta Hawks
Duke University, Raleigh, NC MLB National League Alumni
Heroes of The Game Collectible Cards
MLB San Diego Padres
Sycuan Kumeyaay Tribe
Los Angeles Clippers NBA team
3 Honorary days in his name in North Carolina
Host Official artist for 3 Super Bowls and 1 Major League All-Star Game
North Carolina Green Leaf Award, honoring his services to his people
Gene continues to accept commissioned assignments and is welcome to working with organizations or individuals to produce art work to meet their needs. Although he has sold paintings for as much as $30,000, he strives to provide art work that is affordable for individuals and organizations. He also invites interested parties to contact him to schedule a visit to his studio and gallery in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, Ca.