Wrestling fans can appreciate wrestling’s past legends and current Superstars in a myriad of ways. There’s tons of fan pages for certain stars floating around social media, awesome T-shirt companies that cater to wrestlers and streaming services that delve into the history of sports entertainment.
A highly esteemed painter by the name of Rob Schamberger displays his love for the sport in form of awesome drawings. These incredible works of art showcase wrestling luminaries such as CM Punk, Austin Aries, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan and many more. We took some time with Mr. Schamberger, who gave us some insight into what he does and why he does it.
Rob Schamberger’s paintings speak volumes for the man, but we’re glad he offered us a few words from such a creative mind.
So give us a brief summary of your childhood, what got you into becoming an artist and your appreciation for wrestling.
When I was 7, my older step-brother bought me my first comic book and we spent the weekend redrawing it. I knew right there that I wanted to be an artist for the rest of my life. I didn’t get into wrestling until I was about 18. I was at my folks’ place and my step-father was flipping through the channels and landed on Monday Nitro with Ric Flair doing a promo, and I was instantly hooked.
What are some of your fondest wrestling memories?
I think it’s the communal part of it more than the in-ring action for me. Like, who I was watching the show with, or who was at an event with me. My friends would come over to my place back in my 20’s on Thursdays to watch SmackDown, which we referred to as ‘Wrestling Night’, and looking back on could have easily been a season of The League. Or my now-wife coming to a Royal Rumble party with me and realizing she grew up watching wrestling with her dad, and she instantly became a fan. Or standing backstage with a bunch of producers watching Hulk Hogan doing a promo, and getting swept up in the magic of it.
Which paintings and illustrations garnered the biggest response from wrestling fans?
My Ultimate Warrior pieces get big reactions. He’s a lot of fun to portray. The ’30 Years of WrestleMania’ piece I painted live at WrestleMania 30 Axxess also gets a lot of love. That one is hanging up at WWE’s world headquarters now.
What led to the WWE reaching out to you and presenting your works through their YouTube channel?
My work is slowly getting integrated into all facets of WWE, and it’s really exciting. A couple years ago I organized a charity show while SmackDown was in town and reached out to WWE to see if they could help promote it. They did, which made the show a great success, but they also wanted to start working with me, too. At first we sold original paintings through WWE Auctions, then started adding products to WWE Shop. They brought me to Axxess last year to paint live, then the YouTube videos came in, and later in the year included a lot of my paintings in the True Giants DVD. We’re always talking about how to do more, too. It’s a really energetic company to be working with.
How were you commissioned to create jackets for the late great Ultimate Warrior?
Warrior was a fan of my work, much to my surprise. He was an artist himself and appreciated what I was doing. It was a huge honor to do the jacket he wore in his final appearance on Raw, a day before he passed away. I think about his family often.
Have any of the wrestlers you’ve drawn reached out to you?
Pretty much everyone, especially since I work with the company now. Several I’m friendly with, and they’re all very easy to work with when I go backstage, as well as sharing my work online. I tell you, there are few things cooler than sharing some beer with Stone Cold Steve Austin, or hanging out in Hulk Hogan’s room at a show.
What are some of the newer illustrations you’re planning to paint soon?
Right now I’m in the midst of doing a series of paintings of each WrestleMania, which is keeping me busy. Most of my work right now is preparing to paint live again at WrestleMania Axxess. Last year was a blast, and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with the fans again and sharing my work with them in person.
Who are some of your favorite wrestlers on the current WWE roster?
Now if I answer this question I’m going to get some angry text messages from whoever I leave out! It’s different when you get to know everyone in real life, and see how passionate they are and how hard they work. I know it’s a cop-out answer, but they’re all really cool people who put in so much just to put smiles on the fans’ faces.
What are you hoping to see take place at WrestleMania 31?
The spectacle of the show in person is like nothing else. If you’re a wrestling fan, you need to go to at least one WrestleMania to get the true experience. Like last year when The Undertaker’s undefeated streak was broken by Brock Lesnar, there was a palpable, real feeling of the air being sucked out of the SuperDome when 75,000 people gasped at the same time. What do I hope to see? The hard work of hundreds of people pay off.
What are some of the ways fans can purchase your work?
We have lots of prints and posters up at shop.wwe.com and signed prints and original paintings at auction.wwe.com that a lot of people tell me make great gifts for the cool wrestling fan in your life!
Make sure you also check out Rob Schamberger’s personal YouTube page, where you can get a close look at his latest paintings.