A Portrait of History

By: Spencer Neff
December 14, 2020

For those of us who have been lucky enough to attend the Indianapolis 500 at one point or another since 1911’s inaugural running, the memories of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” are what stick with us over time. Between the evolution of the race and its numerous historic moments, the experiences are what is taken from each running and preserved as we go on.

This summer, the program for the Indianapolis 500 featured cover art that reflected more than a century’s worth of those memories and experiences.

Motorsports artist Alex Wakefield was commissioned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to design the cover for this year’s program. For the Iowa native, it was the culmination of his two great passions, art and racing.

Wakefield’s passion for art and racing are evident in this work, like his others. The program cover featured historic figures and moments ranging from Carl Fisher, founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to the March announcement of the postponement for this year’s race.

“I like to give my own interpretation on how I see a given period in racing that I find interesting- a more colorful, emotional piece or a precise technical exercise to help convey my visual story,” Wakefield notes on his website.

A signed and numbered copy of Wakefield’s print for the 2020 Indianapolis 500 Program Cover (Alex Wakefield)

Beyond this year’s program cover art, subjects of Wakefield’s art run the gamut of auto racing, from motorcycle racers like Valentino Rossi to IndyCar legends like Mario Andretti.

“I want to show motor sport from my viewpoint” Wakefield adds of his work.

“I want to take the viewer on a colorful, exciting ride into a sport I’m passionate about.”

For those with interests outside of the racing world, Wakefield also has portraits of other historic figures, including Queen Elizabeth II and David Bowie.

On his website, Wakefield offers framing, sizing and finishing options for his prints, as well as signed and numbered limited edition prints. A poster of Wakefield’s 2020 Indianapolis 500 program cover design is also available at the IMS Museum Gift Shop site, including a copy signed by 18-time Indianapolis 500-winning car owner and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Owner Roger Penske.

At this time, Wakefield is accepting commission inquiries and is available to clients for help with choosing a piece of their own. Contact him here regarding additional inquiries.

Header Image By Alex Wakefield


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