“In the ring, I never really knew fear.” – Rocky Marciano
Rocky Marciano, born Rocco Francis Marchegiano on September 1, 1923 in Brockton, Massachusetts, held the heavyweight boxing title for four years between 1952 and 1956.
He became champion by knocking out Jersey Joe Walcott in the 13th round on September 23, 1952. Marciano defended the title six times and he retired undefeated with a record of 49-0 in 1956.
Rocky Marciano died in a small private plane crash near Des Moines, Iowa, on August 31, 1969.
”These guys are like concrete. This is what I want to paint. Showing that kind of fury in a fighter. It’s one of the best paintings I have ever done. I wish every painting I did could be like this.
Stephen Holland's interview to Limelight Agency
”I was so grateful to have been allowed to paint this [Marciano]. I have my talent, whatever that is, I have what I have put into it, I have my thoughts but sometimes something else happens. And that, I have no control over. I don’t mean to get spiritual or anything like that, just some magical has happen. I believed when I looked at Rocky, at the finished painting that that happened. I was grateful it came through me like that.Stephen Holland's interview to Limelight Agency
The quality of his work and his popularity rank him among the most successful and sought-after current American painters.
Born in New York in 1941, Stephen Holland is best known for his portraits of athletes and celebrities.
Holland attended The School of Art and Design, Art Students League, The School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute.
Stephen Holland has garnered the respect given to a master painter, witnessed by the numerous commissions and accolades he received in the field of music and sports, including The American Sport Art Museum and Archives, Los Angeles Kings, ’96 Olympics, The GRAMMY’s, LA Dodgers, Major League Baseball, Baltimore Ravens, Colorado Avalanche and proud, private collectors worldwide.
Holland’s most famous paintings have been of fighters and particularly Muhammad Ali, with whom he had a special friendship.
As a young painter, Holland could not afford to hire live models. The images he found in boxing magazines became his subjects.
Years later, and in the world of boxing alone, Holland will be asked to paint just about every major name in the history of the sport: Tyson, Leonard, De La Hoya, Chavez, Klitschko, Marciano, Frazier and of course Muhammad Ali.
Holland is the master of painting the “tough guys.” There is struggle and triumph, grit and glory, humanity and spirit, in every Holland painting.
His latest boxing painting was a portrait of Gennady Golovkin, commissioned by GGG’s management to be used in the promotion of his fight against Kell Brook in London’s O2 Arena.