SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — After the San Francisco 49ers lost in the NFC Championship game to eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams on Jan. 30, many fans felt that was Jimmy Garoppolo’s final game as a 49er.
While it may be bittersweet, one fan decided to have fun with it. Rita Carvalho, who is an artist based in Portugal and goes by Rita Oak, has made her work centered around the inevitable Garoppolo trade.
Oak’s first of daily consecutive drawings of Garoppolo was on Feb. 2.
Earlier this week during the start of 49ers training camp, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Trey Lance will be the starting quarterback this season, and the team has been actively looking to trade Garoppolo.
A 49ers Fan From Portugal
“A lot of people actually think it’s strange because I’m from Portugal and I’m a 49ers fan,” Oak said.
How does the 49ers Faithful make its way oversees to Portugal where a different kind of “fútbol” reigns supreme in popularity?
It started when Oak’s boyfriend encountered his first NFL game on TV about 12 years ago and got really into the 49ers. The two started dating about two years ago, and they would often watch the team.
That’s also when she became a fan of Garoppolo and the 49ers.
How It Started: Drawing Jimmy G Every Day Until He Gets Traded
“It was just for fun in the beginning,” Oak told KRON4. “One fun drawing became this whole series.”
The idea popped up during a cup of coffee with her boyfriend when he told her Garoppolo is likely to be traded. He suggested Oak post drawings of the quarterback on the 49ers Reddit page.
Oak started digital illustrations during the end of last year when she was finishing up her college degree in fashion design and interior design. She would use Procreate on her iPad and send friends and family designs as gifts.
Those gifts eventually turned into a bunch of designs centered around Garoppolo, including hoodies, t-shirts, and mugs of her drawings for sale.
Reddit users loved the first handful of drawings she posted earlier this year and asked her to keep going. At the time, a Reddit user was drawing Los Angeles Angeles star Mike Trout every day until the COVID-19 lockdown was over. The Reddit crowd asked Oak to do something similar until Garoppolo gets traded.
Oak’s work and following crossed over from Reddit to Twitter. She now boasts over 10,000 followers on Twitter and over 3,000 on Instagram.
Behind The Creativity of All 176 Drawings
If you take a look at her Instagram or Twitter page of all her drawings, Oak features Garoppolo in a variety of scenarios. You might’ve seen Garoppolo in a Michael Jackson album cover, a scene from “The Office,” or as a Marvel superhero.
She expanded the creativity in her pieces after initially her first handful of drawings were moments from the 49ers’ season. Oak said she has since brainstormed pop culture ideas with her boyfriend.
How does Oak keep going to have a fresh, new idea after 186 days or 6 months and 3 days in?
“The impact I made on people I think is what really keeps me going,” Oak said. “At the beginning, it was just for fun. Even when I started drawing Jimmy G every day, I really liked to do this. People sent me messages every day like, ‘ I wake up in the morning just to see your drawings; it makes my day.’ Just getting those messages and seeing how my drawings really made an impact on their lives every day… I cannot stop now.”
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Oak will have to eventually stop her signature caption of “Drawing Jimmy G every day until he gets traded Day xxx.” The 49ers have made it clear they plan to trade Garoppolo before the Week 1 in September.
She is already planning for her one last drawing, which she says will be grand. Oak is working on several ideas but is not committed to one yet.
Stay tuned 49ers fans — both for when Garoppolo gets traded and when Oak releases her final drawing.