The Art of Rob Schamberger
Top Exemplary Pieces List...
While doing the research for the wrestling lists on my website, I stumbled upon a beautiful portrait of Curt Hennig rendered in what seemed to be acrylic paints. This led me to the website of Rob Schamberger who has devoted much of his artistic talent to rendering expressionist portraits of almost every professional wrestler you can name. He has quite a following on twitter and his website is well-constructed and easy to navigate. He also has a store on the WWE site where he sells originals and prints. The following list is my top ten selections from his portfolio of the pieces that I believe best exemplify the energy and feel of the wrestlers, managers and valets that have now become legends.
10. Sid Vicious
There is great range in the colour palette with this piece. The rough strokes denote power and fury while the nuances of transparencies around the forehead remind us of Sid's fiasco with working the mic throughout his great career.
9. Macho Man Randy Savage
This piece has great composition and the framing of Macho Man in the lower half of the canvass reminds us of his high flying finishers while the chiaroscuro wisps cascading above his head denote both the solitude and "madness" of this enigmatic figure.
8. King Kong Bundy
This piece is clever in representing the cinematic namesake of Bundy. The hard lines and minimalist style recall the work of Patrick Nagel which makes the use of the Art Deco Empire State Building that much more appropriate and rich in meaning.
7. Nature Boy Ric Flair
This piece is timeless and exemplifies the quality of "stylin and profilin" that Flair always promoted. The grasp of the right hand is represented subtly reminding that Flair had great control over his fate in a competitive and ruthless industry.
6. Curt Hennig
This piece appropriately has great detail allowing for layers of depth through an interplay of light and shadow. Curt's pose recalls the wrestling honour and tradition that he promoted through being one of the most technically sound wrestling of all time.
5. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
The minimalist chiaroscuro style for this piece emphasizes the ambivalent character of Heenan who defied audiences as a heel manager par excellence but also inspired the fans through cleverness and dedication. The pose is a classic reminding that Heenan was a man on a mission.
4. Hulk Hogan
The composition of this piece is rich with layers of banners that recall how important Hogan was to branding the professional wrestling product throughout his career. The banners also reveal depth and longevity for a champion who held many title belts and defended many reigns at different promotions. The titles of the banners represent a marquee reminding that Hogan had a successful transition to acting on the silver screen.
3. Miss Elizabeth
This piece elegantly marries some of the patterns and palette from the Macho Man piece. The demure look of Miss Elizabeth is captured in sepia tones representing her classic beauty. Miss Elizabeth was magic allowing young male viewers to project the values of femininity from their imagination on her and allow a greater understanding of their desire for physical brutality. The focus is the eyes and in the case of Miss Elizabeth they weren't the window to her soul but instead were a mirror for reflecting on one's own soul.
The fracturing in the composition of this piece is intuitive and brilliant. The layers reveal the long history of Sting in professional wrestling while the flanking of the Crow halves recall how torn and trapped the Gothic Sting was. There is a remarkable intensity which is amplified through the multiple sets of eyes and remind that Sting had rich meaning as a character and great influence as a wrestler.
1. Scott Hall
I have a soft spot for Scott Hall. I find him to be one of the most interesting people in our time let alone professional wrestling. This piece captures the glory of the Razor Ramon days while utilizing a colour palette that represents the nWo Wolfpac. The basking of light provides a pleasant framing of Scott in one of his most liberated moments.