KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Rob Schamberger’s life has revolved around art.
“Pretty much from when I was seven years old and I got my first comic book and I said I wanted to do this,” the lifelong Kansas City resident said.
And for the past five years, his artwork has centered around some of professional wrestling’s biggest names.
“A lot of these champions collection paintings — this is again where everything started for me, trying to make each one as specific to the energy of their personas,” Schamberger said.
His passion for wrestling began with his stepfather and the words of the Nature Boy.
“He was flipping through the channels once when I was there doing laundry, and he landed on Ric Flair talking in the ring,” Schamberger said. “It was like the clouds parted. I heard the angel choir, and I said ‘I get this. I’m about this.'”
Schamberger is one of the biggest names in wrestling art. He’s created hundreds of portraits a year for WWE, where he’s been employed for more than five years.
“I debuted with WWE at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans,” he said. “I painted a 7-by-5 piece that was celebrating the 30 years of WrestleMania. No pressure at all, right? But it was really successful, and I feel like it was a good place to start.”
Schamberger’s work can be seen around the world in video games, on action figures and on countless amounts of merchandise. He’s even created pieces in the presence of the biggest stars in the business.
“While I’m in the back painting (during Battleground a few years ago), I feel this presence behind me. I don’t see or hear anything. It’s just like a sixth sense. I feel it. I turn around, and it’s Brock Lesnar watching me paint,” Schamberger said. “It turns out Brock is actually a bit of an art fan and just wanted to watch me paint while he was preparing for his match. He went out and just destroyed Seth Rollins.”
Schamberger’s dedication has transformed him from a WWE fan to a WWE celebrity — proving if you chase your dream, you can catch it.
“To really make things happen, you have to standout,” he said. “There’s one of three things you have to do. You have to be the first, you have to be the best, or you have to be different than everyone else. If you can find one of those things, you’re going to do it. If you can get two, you’re going to be a raging success. That’s what worked for me, and it’ll work for anyone.”
Schamberger will spend the next three days showcasing his art at Planet Comicon in Kansas City. You can also see more of Schamberger’s work on his website.