Tatanka by Rob Schamberger © 2013 Rob. All rights reserved.


Tatanka painting by Rob Schamberger

Acrylic on 24″ x 24″ wood

The Native American wrestler Tatanka made his name in the WWE, but his legend has spread beyond. Chris Chavis, descended from the Lumbee tribe, got his start in the wrestling business with George Scott’s North American Wrestling Association, later known as the South Atlantic Pro Wrestling, where he worked as ‘The War Eagle’ Chris Chavis. In 1991 he started with the then WWF under the name of Tatanka, where he would go undefeated on TV for two years. During his first stint with the company he feuded with the likes of Lex Luger, Rick Martel, IRS, Diesel and Bam Bam Bigelow. He faced Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania IX for the Intercontinental Championship. During this time with the WWF he also wrestled for the USWA, where he was a one-time USWA World Heavyweight Champion.

From 1997 to 2005 he made appearances on the independent circuit before returning to the WWE. During this stint he would team with Matt Hardy in a feud with John Morrison and Joey Mercury. WWE over three weeks aired footage of Chavis being legitimately adopted into the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Lakota), a rarity for WWE to do and showing that they recognized what a special event this was. He had a brief feud with Sylvain Grenier, before entering into a losing streak that slowly turned him heel, leading to a confrontation with Bobby Lashley. After leaving the company again in 2007, Tatanka has continued to appear on the independent circuit while also appearing on TNA to compete with Jay Lethal and again for WWE in a backstage segment.

About the piece: This one took me out of my comfort zone, because I decided to really focus on the various details with the head dress. As I’ve stated many times, I don’t see myself as a detail guy, but that’s the fun challenge of art, you know? Doing pieces that make me try new things and continue to grow as an artist.

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