At first glance, a professional wrestling organization may not seem like the preferred landing place for a professional artist. But Rob Schamberger recognized that there was a void to be filled, and he worked his way into the industry as the WWE's artist in resident. It's a unique honor that Schamberger takes very seriously. In the latest episode of SYFY WIRE's Artists Alley series, Schamberger told us how got his start as an artist while painting the Undertaker, an iconic wrestler portrayed by Mark Calaway.
"I had a hard time standing out [among other artists]," admitted Schamberger. "I was trying to find a subject matter where there really wasn't a lot of work done yet. And then it hit me, because I'm also a pro wrestling fan. Like 'Oh! No one's doing this... I have to jump into this.' Seven years ago, I got started with the wrestling art, did a Kickstarter and that went off really well. I was able to quit the day job."
Schamberger's work earned him a fan following and eventually got the attention of the WWE itself.
"Within a year, WWE reached out to me and said 'we really like what you're doing,'" recalled Schamberger. "'We would really like to bring you under our umbrella and do this with us.' So for over six years now, I'll go to Wrestlemania with them and paint live there. [They] give me the freedom to create the art that I want to."
Schamberger went on to shed some insight into his style and why he attempts to evoke feelings from his paintings as opposed to photo perfect recreations of the wrestlers. For more details, check out the entire video!