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ARTISTS / Artist of the Day: Rob Schamberger

Robert "Rob" Schamberger is an American painter known for his portraits of professional wrestlers.

A little history: the origins of wrestling

Wrestling, one of the oldest sports in the world, has been practiced in various forms throughout ages. In the 19th century, the success of wrestling tournaments in Europe increased and allowed its most athletic form to develop considerably, as evidenced by the place obtained by discipline at Olympic Games in 1896. At the same time, a more popular form of wrestling appeared in representations of wrestling booths installed on fairgrounds, where fights put in scene a combination of techniques taken from various schools of traditional wrestling. It is from this fairground wrestling that wrestling (or "professional wrestling") has its origin.

Rob's technic

It consists of tracing and copying promotional images or stills on paper or canvas, after which he uses various materials such as acrylic, watercolor, ink and markers to create his works. His tools for creating his work are synthetic round brushes of various sizes and a painting knife.

Rob uses unusual color combinations, as well as a technique similar to Photoshop's posterization tool to break down the original reference photos, to create something unique from source material.

His career

Rob is the official artist-in-residence for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the most well-known wrestling company in the world today, and has been for years. While he operates an independent store, most of his WWE art is purchased by the organization itself and sold through their official storefronts and auctions. Rob's work is printed on a variety of WWE merchandise, including t-shirt designs.

He also hosts the Youtube show Canvas 2 Canvas with WWE Network. On the show, he unveils new portraits of past and present wrestlers.

Excerpts from an interview on Bleacher Report's website

When did you start making art

and when did you know you wanted to make a career

to make a career out of it?

When I was eight years old, I got my first comic book and I thought, "Oh, I want to do something like that." From that point on, I devoured every comic book I could find. I started finding the how-to books, and pretty soon the art teachers at school realized that I had the passion but it didn't fit the curriculum in time, and they worked with me independently. At age of 17, I started getting paid for my work.

When did you first become interested in professional wrestling?

I didn't get into it until '98 or '99. My father-in-law was a fan in the Kansas City area. He was flipping through channels and Ric Flair was in the ring doing a promo. The next week, not knowing anything about wrestling, I wanted to know more and I stumbled upon Raw. As time went on, my brain being what it is, I started to go deeper and deeper. My friends would tell me about things that had happened, and I would look them up on video.

Artothèque Sud focus

Illustrations created by Rob Schamberger are quite similar to those of the French artist Bernard Rancillac, present in our catalog, notably his work from the collection

Pour le Peuple Sud Africain (silkscreen).


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