This 'Bow is picture perfect
• Photo gallery: Sean Montplaisir
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai'i coach Mike Trapasso will tell you there is some talent on the 2010 Rainbows baseball team. But for junior outfielder Sean Montplaisir, his skills go beyond the field.
Despite not having any formal training in art, Montplaisir has shown a flair with the pencil, brush and other media in his drawings since he was in grade school. Through the years, he has even sold some of his works. Some of his pieces can be viewed on his Web site:www.sean-montplaisir.com.
"It started with my teacher," said Montplaisir, who is from Bonney Lake, Wash. "She asked me to do a portrait of her kid, so I did a portrait of her kid. The rest of the teachers started asking and word got around the town. Other people started calling. Then I got an article in the newspaper and more people started calling."
But since he started classes and baseball here in 2007, his art has been slowed down a bit. He said he'll doodle on the side. He has done some portraits for several teammates, who caught wind of his skills.
"It was super cool," former UH Gold Glove shortstop Jon Hee said. "I gave him a picture and he pretty much replicated it. I've seen his other stuff. He's amazing."
It was a picture of Hee and his girlfriend.
When time permits, Montplaisir said he will visit Tabora Gallery at Hilton Hawaiian Village and talk to some artists.
Still, as much as he loves art, baseball is No. 1
"Art is a close No. 2, but I enjoy them equally," Montplaisir said.
At least he has options. Like most of his teammates, he'd like a career in pro baseball. But making it to the big leagues is probably as difficult as it is to make a good living off art. Originally an art major, Montplaisir has since switched to marketing. He understands the practicality of a business degree.
"I hope to try to get a job with a marketing firm," he said. "I'll always have art on the side. If I can make a living off the art, I'd definitely like to have a career in art someday."
So serious about his business degree, he spent the summer in Tokyo taking classes to fulfill some foreign language requirements. That meant he didn't play any summer ball. But it might have been a blessing.
"I was a little worried taking the time off because I might fall behind," he said. "But if anything, it helped me. My body felt just amazing afterward. My work ethic was a lot better because I really wanted to get back into it."
Montplaisir finished his sophomore season last year strong, batting .291 with 16 doubles and five home runs in 46 games, 42 as a starter. He hit 13 of his doubles in Western Athletic Conference play. His performance wasn't lost on conference coaches, who picked him for the preseason all-WAC team.
"Last year, the first half was pretty rough," Montplaisir said. "I've been working out with Coach (Keith) Komeiji and Coach Trap. They really kind of turned my game around, so I'm hoping I can keep it going."
Coming to Hawai'i also was a blessing for Montplasir, who said he considered Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Stanford and Pepperdine. He said most of his previous artwork was done solely in the winter, when inclement weather forced him indoors.
"I'm from the Northwest, so it's cold and rainy all the time," he said. "I wanted to play at a place where I could play every day and it would be warm, so anywhere in the Northwest was out of the picture and the California schools are really expensive. Hawai'i was just perfect."