Todd Marinovich has joined Night of 1,000 Fridas. I don’t know why. He doesn’t know me, and honestly, I was shocked to get a response to my shot-in-the-dark email. When learning about public figures like Marinovich, it’s often hard to tell if the story you’re getting is accurate. He speaks on camera with what seems like such humility and honesty. It makes me root for him, for his second career in art, for his fight against addiction. It made me send an email and ask him to join Night of 1,000 Fridas. He’s in!
Todd Marinovich once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and was a first round NFL draft pick before drugs and alcohol dashed his athletic career and lead to a very public fall from grace. After football, Marinovich worked toward recovery and turned toward art, a transformation documented in the ESPN’s film “The Marinovich Project.” Marinovich continues to battle addiction, and speaks openly to audiences about his own struggles.
Marinovich has been in the public eye since high school when he attracted national media attention as a sought after college recruit. As a result, Marinovich’s struggles with drugs and alcohol have always been public. I can’t help but think there are so many others dealing with addiction who no doubt also stumble while working toward sobriety. At least they can fail in private. Marinovich has never had that luxury.
Yet, in the radio and television interviews there is never a hint of bitterness in his voice or any reticence to share his full story, warts and all. This is an extraordinary act of courage and generosity.
That courage and generosity comes through in his art as well. In the below video, Marinovich talks about the importance of community as he works on his mural for the city of Garden Grove, CA.
When I launched The Night of 1,000 Frida’s project, I gave these six reasons:
- Frida was an amazing artist who led an inspiring life.
- To encourage everyone of all ages and abilities to create art.
- To bring art into public spaces.
- To create community.
- To see if we can.
- 1,000 public images of a bisexual Latina communist revolutionary could do the world some good right now.
I definitely see how’s Marinovich’s story fits in perfectly with the first five reasons on the list. I’m grateful for his participation, and of course now even convinced of the courage and generosity I thought I saw through the television.
By the way, have you signed up for The Night of 1,000 Fridas yet? No art or NFL experience required, but you do have to be a little bit brave.