Rob JacksonWhat is your inspiration for painting? What made you want to pursue a career in art?

My inspiration is all about memories. Whether I’m painting someone else’s, or my own.  Two examples off the top of my head; when I’m asked to paint a player holding the super bowl trophy in one arm and his son in the other or, painting my late dog as a way of letting go, I’m inspired to get those things right. My career choice as an artist wasn’t a hard one to make. I can paint but I’m sure I’m terrible at something others are great at. What matters is, loving what you’re good at and going for it.

What got you into doing sports paintings? Do you do any other artwork outside of the sports realm? If so what else?

I’ve been a sports artist for as long as I can remember. It’s only natural to draw or paint the things in which you’re infatuated with. I know for me, as a kid I would always draw two things more than any other, football and cars. It didn’t matter where I was either. I’d draw at home and I’d draw in school. I just did it because it was fun. At some point though, you develop your technique and others begin to pay attention. I do call myself a sports artist, first and foremost, but mainly what I enjoy painting is simply people. That said, I’m honored when asked to do family paintings. I like to tell people, “they don’t always have to wear a helmet.”

2013Grind1What medium do you work with and why?

I love answering this question because I’m told airbrush artists aren’t considered “real” artists. Before I knew how to paint, I used colored pencils. Later, I came across a painting and loved the look and feel it gave. I was told it was an airbrushed painting and I decided then, that’s what I wanted to pursue.  My grandfather was a diehard Cowboys fan and always had a kind word to say about my art. He knew I wanted to master an airbrush and would always later ask if I’d tried one. My answer was always, “no, not yet.” I bought my first airbrush the day after he passed away as a means of remembrance.

What is your favorite sport to watch and what is your favorite sport to paint? and why? Who is your favorite athlete if anyone? What is your favorite sports team (if any team)?

Easy, football and football. I don’t think I can put into words why I enjoying watching the game other than, it’s the ultimate team sport. In most cases, everyone on the field must do their job for the team to be successful. I love that! I wouldn’t say I have a favorite athlete but I’d lean towards the leadership type such as Ray Lewis and Michael Irvin. When I was younger I looked up to a couple of older Chicago Bears. Walter Payton is responsible for me becoming a football fan and playing through school. Dick Butkus is who I wanted to immolate as a linebacker. I was born and raised in DFW, so naturally I’m a Cowboys fan. However, painting for athletes has made me a bit of a mercenary. I’d say that today I get the most enjoyment watching my clients play, regardless of their team.

Who are some of your favorite artists (past or present)?

Guys I’ve had a chance to get to know and whose work I deeply admire. Guys like Robert Hurst and Brian Fox. I hold a special place for a guy I met when I was 13 years old, Vernon Wells. My mother took me to a gallery to meet a “sports artist” and I was blown away. He had some very encouraging words that really inspired me. That meeting has stuck with me forever. I’ve leaned on him a few times over the years with questions and concerns. I’m happy to call him a mentor and a friend.