Next weekend marks the 31st annual Breeders’ Cup World Championships. This is Thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international event, consisting of 14 races and purses and awards totaling $27 million. So it will come as no surprise that this event works with an odds-on favorite in the art department. Enter John Mattos.
Mattos is a multi-award winning illustrator with more than one hundred honors for graphic excellence. His corporate clients include the likes of Apple and Microsoft, and he’s illustrated for Time, Newsweek, Forbes, and Town & Country just to name a few. Also on Mattos’ list of awesome achievements is the artwork from the Aerosmith t-shirt worn by Garth, of “Wayne’s World” fame, throughout the film and a spot on the American Film Institute’s 100 Best Movie Posters of all Time for “The Rocketeer.”
Luckily for equestrians and horse-enthusiasts, John Mattos is also serving as the official illustrator of The Breeders’ Cup for the second year running. “I have been drawing and painting horses my entire life,” says Mattos, “so it was a real joy to capture the impression and the excitement surrounding such an outstanding international event as the Breeders’ Cup.”
Mattos’ image for the official poster this year imagines a horse and rider etched into the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains that tower over the Santa Anita Racetrack and onlookers. This image will also appear on Friday’s tickets and program. Saturdays’ tickets and program will feature a second image from Mattos in which the racing action is reflected in the aviator sunglasses of a well-dressed woman.
In many ways, Mattos is a shoo-in for the job. His 1930’s art deco style is a perfect fit with the Cup’s host this year, the Santa Anita Racetrack, which is itself an art deco icon. Opening on Christmas Day 1935, the Santa Anita Racetrack is designed in a type of art deco known as Streamline Modern, and features signature colors of the era, Persian Green and Chiffon Yellow.
Mattos’ style also earned him a 2007 commission from the United States Postal Service to create a commemorative stamp featuring Seabiscuit, the celebrated racehorse who gave American hope and inspiration during the Great Depression. Racing fans will know that Seabiscuit won a stunning victory in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap and that his statue still stand prominently at the track.
Mattos even likes to have fun with equestrian events that could be held around his native San Francisco, as seen in his polo and steeplechase prints. It seems that the imagination of John Mattos is so filled with equestrian imagery that we would all be lucky if he served as the Breeders’ Cup official illustrator from now on!