STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Stone Mountain-based artist George Nock does a little bit of everything. Paintings hang on the wall, but sculpture is his go-to lately. His current project is a commission by a group in Orlando, commemorating the first ever racially integrated Little League baseball game in the area.
"I do a little bit of everything," said Nock.
That includes a resume line shared by few fellow artists: former NFL running back. After a standout career at Morgan State University, Nock played four NFL seasons, including three with the New York Jets and famed quarterback Joe Namath.
"I remember he had all the fanfare," said Nock.
He played in New York from 1969 to 1971 with career-bests 402 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns in 1970. He played a final season with Washington in 1972.
"I think it was a decent career," said Nock. "The problem was injuries."
After his pro football career was cut short, Nock took on a new passion: art. A friend of one of his former teammates saw his work, and encouraged him to become part of an art show she was hosting. He said things changed a lot from when he showed up for that first exhibition with some of his pieces rolled up beneath an arm.
"She said, 'what are you going to show it on?'" said Nock. "I said, 'what do you mean? I came for the show!' That was my awakening."
In the early 2000s, Nock relocated to Metro-Atlanta. He's lived in several areas, and now has a studio on Main Street in downtown Stone Mountain.
In addition to making a career of selling his work, Nock also wants people -- especially young people -- to pay attention to their passions, even the ones that are still a work in progress.
"I really wanted [to be an artist] and didn't know it as a kid," said Nock. "If you can sit someplace and work for 8 hours, and you don't mind doing it after the 8 hours, and you say, 'I can't wait to get back to it tomorrow,' that's your passion."
You can find more information on Nock's work, including where it is available for sale, on his Facebook page: George Nock Fine Art