PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Seattle-based artist Kait Schoeb is straight out of Pittsburgh.
"They can tell immediately. Your accent," says Schoeb with a smile. "You're not from here."
The 29-year-old grew up in this in the Baldwin-Whitehall neighborhood of the Steel City. She taught herself how to paint. All it took was one phone call to bring her back to western Pennsylvania -- at least temporarily.
"We are trying to bring opportunities for youth hockey to Pittsburgh and invest in programs that support kids, Children's Hospital and otherwise," explains Pittsburgh Penguins Senior Vice President Kevin Acklin.
"So we are very proud with a Night of Assists with someone like Kait, from Pittsburgh to come here and perform."
The Penguins commissioned three works from Schoeb. They will be auctioned off Wednesday night at the team's annual Night of Assists fundraising gala at PPG Paints arena.
Schoeb admits she is still pinching herself just a little bit at the opportunity.
"I specialize a lot in doing sport memorabilia and things like that, but I mean, to get a call to say 'Hey, do you want to do something for the Pens?' I mean it's like -- a little giddy," she admits.
The Penguins are just as excited to have someone with her talent showcasing their team -- in paint.
"The work speaks for itself," says Acklin. "She's self-taught, it is free-hand, very exciting work, and her ability to capture sports -- again, this town is really -- it's part of our fabric."
The three commissioned pieces are very different. One features Andy Warhol wearing a black t-shirt with gold letters that reads "Straight Outta Pittsburgh." He is standing on the Andy Warhol Bridge. Schoeb painted in that way intentionally.
"Andy really loved Andy, so the paintings that I do of him are of his artwork in the paintings as well," comments Schoeb. "Then obviously, where else would he be in Pittsburgh, but on his own bridge?"
Schoeb also did a modernistic look of the Pittsburgh skyline in black and gold, that was finished in a high-gloss resin. She also has a large 30"x40" canvas of Evgeni Malkin. It features a stunning close-up of his face that looks like it was done in the middle of a game as he wears his Penguins jersey and helmet. The stunning work frankly looks more like a photograph of the Russian star than it does a painting.
The artist says she created three very different pieces in order to appeal to people with different appetites for her work.
"People have different styles especially when it comes to art. So you can have people who really like my realism one like the Geno (Malkin) one. Or when I do the live painting, I only have a couple hours to do the painting so I like to do a fast chunky style so some people really like that."
That live painting will be done on the massive canvas of captain Sidney Crosby. It is well underway, but Schoeb says she will do a bit more to it today before finishing it live in front of hundreds or benefactors tomorrow night at the party.
Proceeds from the Penguins Night of Assits go to youth hockey and special needs initiatives around the city of Pittsburgh.
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