Kansas City based “Painter of Champions” Rob Schamberger recently spoke with Nick Schwartz of USA Today about painting professional wrestlers, how he got involved, his thought process and planning his paintings out, his favorite work so far and more. You can read a few excerpts below:
Schamberger on why he started painting wrestlers:
I realized no one else was. Especially in the fine art world, it was more making fun of it, I guess? Or not really taking it as seriously as I wanted to, and I saw opportunity there because it was something that I would like to see, and there’s most likely other people that would too. I went to WrestleMania XXIV, looked around and saw the [74,000] people that were in attendance there, and knew that they were as passionate about the subject matter as I was.
What is his favorite piece of art he’s worked on so far?
The one that I worked the hardest on and one that I’m maybe the proudest of was celebrating 30 years of WrestleMania [the image at the top of the page]. I actually painted that live at WrestleMania XXX — well, I started it there. It ended up taking over a month to do. It’s a 7′ by 5′ piece that has moments from going all the way back to the first WrestleMania.
How does Schamberger plan out a project, like Roman Reigns, for example?
It’s really important to me that it doesn’t just look like Roman Reigns, but that it feels like him — it matches his whole persona, not just his physical appearance. So I’ll watch a lot of tape, I’ll look through photographs and try to find something that already gets that across. Maybe the Superman Punch or one of his other signature moves, and then I’ll also look for something that works with my high-contrast style.