MY MOST PERSONAL WORK EVER: Rob Schamberger Newsletter 17SEP23
Take a sad song and make it better.
Hi. My name's Rob Schamberger. I'm that guy who paints rasslers. And other stuff. Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.
HOW I EXPERIENCE EMOTIONS
Back in early 2019 I started going to therapy. I realized I couldn’t make it through what I was feeling on my own and it was time to get some professional help. Among many other things I’m processing, I’ve had formal diagnoses for PTSD and Reactive Attachment Disorder. Because of these conditions I’ve been able to discover that I don’t experience emotions the same way as most people.
It’s really hard to articulate what this is like, so based on the concept of the Emotion Wheel (notably the core emotions in ‘Emotion Wheel II) I’ve begun making paintings that visualize what my experience is like for each feeling. It’s helpful to me, which is very important but it’s also proven to be effective in communicating to my therapists. I’ve made two of a planned eleven paintings so far. Some are going to be more difficult to make or for others to see than others. Some will be self portraits and others will utilize models if that’s an emotion I don’t experience much, if at all.
Heavy stuff, but so far dearly important.
Acrylic on 20” x 30” board
Acrylic on 30” x 20” board
I straight up had a nightmare the night after finishing this one. I just started work on ‘Embarrassed’ and it’s maybe my single most ambitious painting to date.
I’m not going to go into what’s significant about the imagery in each of these. I want them to speak for themselves but to also be open to interpretation.
My inspiration for this series came from Thomas Lea’s iconic ‘Two Thousand-Yard Stare’ painting:
If you’re unfamiliar with this painting, Thomas Lea was an artist for Life Magazine who was embedded with the US Marines in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. He was painting a phenomenon the Marines referred to as ‘that two thousand-yard stare’ that afflicted those who had been through traumatic events and couldn’t shake them. The painting, now in the United States Army Center of Military History, led to the identification and study of combat stress reaction and later the larger designation of post traumatic stress disorder (which I’ve got). This painting is how we know about and can now treat PTSD.
Again, heavy stuff but look at all of the good that’s come from this. In my opinion, it’s one of the most important pieces of art ever made.
My therapists (yeah, I see two for different reasons and it’s helping a lot) are really excited about me doing these paintings because not only is it potentially very beneficial to me but because it can be instrumental in understanding and treating people with adult reactive attachment disorder. There’s very little writing on this condition and maybe, in some small way, I can help others in the future with it. There’s power in pointing at something and saying, “Yeah, that’s me” and there’s a whole different power in a therapist being able to say, “This might be you if you see yourself in these paintings.”
That’s when the work really starts.
Therapy’s not for everyone but if you think it might be for you, I highly recommend it. There are a lot of options out there, between remote video appointments, in person, and cost-effective options known as ‘sliding scale pricing’ where you can get sizable discounts based on your personal financial situation. Worth checking into.
UPCOMING WWE PAINTINGS
Triple H Wrestling Landscape
Cody Rhodes acrylic
LA Knight. YEAH.
Card subject to change.
WHAT I LIKED THIS WEEK
Dark Winds season two is some solid TV. It felt like a smaller scale than the first season, which is okay. It had more of a vibe of The Rockford Files on a reservation, focusing in on characterization and allowing the big moments of season one and how they effected the characters to resonate and breathe. Between this and Reservation Dogs, Zahn McClarnon is doing some outstanding work right now.
Out of Range by CJ Box is a clever twist on the Joe Pickett books, taking Joe out of his home area to serve as game warden for another district, while also attempting to solve the prior game warden’s mysterious death. Pickett is taken away from everything and everyone he knows, and not only does this test him in a whole new way it also helps to define his character.
Totem by Laura Perez does what I love for the sequential art medium to do: It mixes sequences of images with a loose narrative to put the reader in charge of deciding what the characters are experiencing during their vision quest in the desert. One of the art form’s greatest strengths is that the reader is in charge of how fast or slow the narrative proceeds and this book takes glorious advantage of that.
22 minutes in The Bee Gees and Wilson Pickett do a soulful cover of Hey Jude that you should really check out.
All fancy and official and spelled correctly.
I’m almost fully moved into the Schamberger Labs Art Fulfillment Center. There’s more to do and it’s not decorated up yet but as of tomorrow it’s fully operational and your orders will come out of there going forward. I did a walkthrough yesterday on Instagram and Threads if you’d like to see.
Planning and executing the move in addition to making new art and my daily communication with WWE and Fanatics pushed me to (and a couple times beyond) my limits. Not the best week but I’m very optimistic about what comes out of this.
Thank you again for your years of support of my work. It’s allowed this to happen and I’m so grateful to you. We’re just getting started.
Love you more,
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