The All American Game was painted as the result of a personal dare. An art critic wrote a review of the Mexican artist stating he was "stuck in his genre" and "could only paint Latin American-type Art." After reading the review, Escalera took the review as an attack on his talent and wanted to prove to the world that he was not "limited" by any genre. Thus “The All American Game” was born.
Escalera is thought to have taken the focal point of this piece straight out of United States History. Dice have been used in North America for hundreds of years. Early dice were made of bone, and have been excavated from forts used in the American Civil War by both Confederate and Union forces. Escalera wanted to capture a universally American theme. A game of dice, one of the oldest forms of gambling, is what he decided on. After coming up with the initial idea to paint this all american scene, Escalera went to his sketch pad.
Escalera first captured “The All American Game” in a stippling drawing, using black ink as his initial medium. The characters were all fictitious, vivacious and well animated. However, the characters from the drawing never made it to the canvas of the final painting you see above. He took his initial idea and asked family members and friends to join in on the birth of the painting by posing as models. He used some models twice; painting their front side in one section of the painting and their back side in another.
Escalera Fun Fact:
Every character in the All American Game is a relative or family friend. The only fictitious character in the painting is the toothless sheriff overlooking the game. Escalera even painted himself into the scene. Can you guess which one he is?