RHEA RIPLEY: Rob Schamberger Newsletter 30APR23
Girl, you know it's true.
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Hi. My name's Rob Schamberger. I'm that guy who paints rasslers. And other stuff. This is some sort of thing, girl, I can’t explain.
I made this Rhea Ripley painting using a new-to-me technique called ‘acrylic glazing’ where I thin out acrylic paint with a liquid glazing medium and then build up values through layers. It’s similar to watercolor and colored ink in that way, but the paint behaves in a very different way that I find to be fascinating and that I’m going to continue to try to master.
Rhea’s a subject that I’ve been fascinated by for years but I feel I’ve until the last year or so struggled to get right. It’s hard to find the balance between her toughness and her beauty. If I go too far in either way it feels wrong but once I got my head around the right balance it clicked.
ICYMI, here's last week's Canvas 2 Canvas episode. Tomorrow's episode will go up on WWE's YouTube channel at 11AM CST!
5/14: Austin Theory
Card subject to change.
HEADS UP: The prices on my prints at Schamberger Labs will be going up by $5 in the next week or two. Real-world cost-of-doing-business stuff is making that happen. I put it off probably longer than I should have but here we are. Thanks for your continued support of the arts!
WHAT I LIKED THIS WEEK
Katy and I started watching Marvelous Mrs Maisel season five earlier this week and it’s spectacular. Each episode starts with where the characters are 20+ years later, teasing at so many huge things we haven’t got to yet in the show. It’s a brilliant framing device for the show’s final season. Also, I don’t know if I just didn’t notice before or if they stepped things up for this season, but it’s shot gorgeously. The lighting, the camera work, all of it. I remember noticing here and there in prior seasons, but this is one of the prettiest things I’ve seen since Spielberg’s West Side Story.
I decided to drive to Chicago last week to work WWE Raw, which is about an eight hour trip each way so I listened to the audiobook for I Want My MTV by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. It surpassed all expectations. It’s the oral history of the first decade and change of MTV and goes deep on all aspects, from the corporate side, to the VJ’s, the making of various videos and why the network ultimately moved away from music. There’s a whole chapter on just Van Halen videos that’s WORTH IT.
Hawk the Slayer by Garth Ennis and Henry Flint is the book no one demanded but you really can’t miss. Yes, it is indeed the official sequel to the 1980 movie of the same name and friend, it is RAD. I’m not a sword and sorcery guy overall, but this book, created by two people at the top of their craft, is a sheer blast to read. In the afterward, Ennis says that he wanted to make a sequel to something that hasn’t been explored to irrelevancy so that it can be a good story and not a nostalgic wankfest.
I started listening to The Town podcast a few weeks ago and thought it was time to give it a mention here. It’s an easy-to-digest look at what’s happening in entertainment news, the big stuff as well as the small things worth keeping track of. It’s a very in-the-weeds thing but I’m the sort of guy who likes such things.
Did you know there’s entire episodes of Solid Gold on YouTube?
Rob, what do you do when you’re working backstage at WWE?
We ran into a snag with the testing phase of Top Secret Project: CODENAME SABOTAGE that’s going to hold it up for another week or two. It’s the nature of these things, I’m told. But it’s a lot better discovering these things at this stage instead of when it goes live. As frustrating as maintenance delays can be for a flight, it’s better when they find them on the ground than in the air, right? Much, much lower stakes, but the same thing here.
So, what else went on this week?
I was in Chicago working WWE Raw. No, I didn’t see CM Punk. The Allstate Arena’s backstage area is a pretty unique setup spread over two building connected by an underground tunnel. I was in the other building. When I saw the news I went over to the guys I was sitting with and asked, “Where the hell was I at?!?”
“Sitting right there.”
It was a pretty good day overall. I’ve got a lot of my emotional issues that transfer over to the WWE experience that can make these days hard for me, but through therapy and time I’ve learned things to do to take care of myself. The big one now is that I draw and/or paint during the down time. It keeps me occupied and balanced and also shows the people walking by my process and that I’m more than the guy trying to get them to sign prints.
As we know, the WWE Superstars get hounded especially at airports by eBay flippers to sign things and it becomes a real drain on them. They’re not compelled to sign for me, it’s a nice thing they do for me and my collectors (that they’re contractually compensated for) but some days they just aren’t able to do it due to everything else they do at a show for pretapes, photoshoots, warmups and, you know, wrestling.
So, I’m often told “I’ll try” or “I’ll come back” and it just doesn’t happen. It’s the way of things, but having so much of myself tied into my work as well the above-mentioned emotional issues it can be…tough at times.
On Monday two people who said they’d come back were Dakota Kai and Trish Stratus. ‘Kota has been fantastic to me over the years and is as incredible in real life as you’d hope but she was under a lot of pressure that day. Plus, there’s that whole ‘underground tunnel’ thing so it’s unusual for someone to actually come back over.
But after her match I see her running up the ramp from the tunnel, still in her gear, hair and makeup all over the place post-wrestling, laughing and saying, “I told you I’d come back!” I was stunned and told her this just doesn’t happen and thanked her profusely. She’s great.
I’d somehow never met Trish Stratus before Monday, and after WWE staff and Kevin Owens introduced us to each other she said she had a lot to do but would definitely come back. Sure enough at 9PM here she comes up that ramp and we had the most lovely talk while she signed for me. I told her that my favorite feud of hers was with Molly Holly, she told me how selfless Molly was throughout that, and friend she is one of the best people around.
We’re going to get something really special out of this run from her and I’m excited to see where it goes.
There was also a delicious vegan pasta in catering with a delectable velvety sauce and mushrooms that I thought was awesome.
Love you more,
EXCLUSIVE PAID SUBSCRIBER CONTENT
Paid subscribers this week will get an exclusive 25% off discount code for prints, upcoming signed print releases at WWE Auction, 24 hour early access to the ORIGINAL RHEA RIPLEY PAINTING and access to the exclusive chat. WE ARE GO FOR PAYWALL.
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