Jordan Spector had all but abandoned his passion for art during his time at Temple, instead focusing on kinesiology and playing wide receiver for the football team. After suffering a concussion, everything changed.
“I got a concussion mid-season, and in high school I had three,” said Spector, a 2015 kinesiology alumnus. “In football you get to a certain number where you run the circumstance of brain damage.”
A doctor advised him to stop playing football.
“Once football ended, I finally started to pursue things closer to my artwork,” he said. “Soon a friend would tell me, ‘You should never waste your talent,’ and it kind of hit me and flipped the switch on.”
Before attending Temple, Spector had been drawing since the day he “could pick up a pencil.”
Spector’s high school art teacher, Pat Rampulla of Upper Moreland school district, remembers him as “a quiet art student who went about creating his artwork.”
“He created a terrific piece of artwork which I admitted in the Montgomery County High School annual art show,” Rampulla said. “Our high school never takes first place in the drawing/painting category, but Jordan took first place. What an accomplishment for him and he made our school proud.”
After graduating high school, Spector had to focus on his career and found less and less time for art.
“When I came to Temple, I lost touch with my artwork, and didn’t get back in touch with it until my junior year,” Spector said.
He didn’t return to his art until his accident, but once Spector started drawing again, he didn’t stop. Today, Spector mainly paints football players, like Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich, but he also enjoys creating portraits of famous individuals like Albert Einstein and Rocky Balboa.
Spector also has an interest in Temple-themed art. He recently completed a piece showcasing the Philadelphia skyline with a Temple logo and owl.
“Why not mix football and art?” Spector said. “I’ve done portraits, family portraits, abstract stuff people have asked for, a cheesesteak restaurant and I recently did a piece a week and a half ago that will be showcased at the Super Bowl.”
Jordan knew combining his two passions would help him find his way.
“My inspiration comes from what’s currently going on in the sports world, like a player I really like in the NFL or whatever sport I’m watching,” Spector said. “Or something in my life that inspires me, like in pop culture.”
“I like to see the satisfaction of the customer,” he added. “The fact that people are willing to pay me for my artwork is the coolest thing in the world to me.”
As of now, Spector is commissioned to create a painting of Mike Ditka and Ron Jaworski for the annual “Ditka and Jaws—Cigars with the Stars” night in San Francisco. After meeting a member of the NFL Alumni Foundation during an Eagles game, Spector was asked to create a piece for the event’s silent auction.
For the future, Spector looks to put both of his passions at the forefront of his life.
“I’m very focused on art and my career, and I’m going to do all in my power to keep working on both,” Spector said. “When I’m in graduate school I’m going to try to work on more commissioned pieces. It will be tough, but I’m up for the challenge to build my artwork and art business.”
Henry Savage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video by Margo Reed