How do you go from wandering the streets of an eastern Canadian province wondering what you’re going to do with the rest of your life to signing a deal to get Sidney Crosby and Michael Jordan to sign autographs on your original artwork? If you ask Robb Scott, the answer is to be patiently persistent.
Yes, things are indeed looking up for this long-time sports fan from Truro, Nova Scotia. His signed series of Crosby prints was a sell out. Now, via a partnership with the company that manages Jordan’s business affairs and Upper Deck Authenticated, his limited edition run of 72 signed MJ prints is on the market at $1,950 each–all because he refused to say no to a boss who owned a famous racehorse.
“I never dreamed about becoming an artist,” Scott told Sports Collectors Daily. “It was just something I did for enjoyment as a child. Never did I plan for it to become my career. When I became a teenager, social life took over and drawing disappeared from my life completely.”
Still looking for a direction and purpose 12 years ago, Scott decided to become an architect. The school he applied to needed sample drawings and that’s when he rediscovered his first love. “I realized I had a talent then and never completed the application. From that moment I began my career as an artist.”
Drawing is not an easy way to make a living, though, especially when you’re just starting out, have no one to promote your work and aren’t quite sure how to get where you want to go. Scott was essentially broke and sold his drawings wherever he could–on street corners, in restaurants, at trade shows and to tourists during summers on the Halifax waterfront. He even went door-to-door. It wasn’t an easy way to live, but he loved art and refused to quit even with nine years as a ‘starving artist’ in the rear view mirror. A work-related connection to the Canadian-owned harness racing ‘Horse of the Decade’ Somebeachsomewhere helped open the door three years ago.
“I worked doing odd jobs at an auto dealership in Truro,” the now 37-year-old Scott said. “My boss at the time, Brent MacGrath, owned Somebeachsomewhere. I almost lost my job because of the pressure I put on him to let me draw the horse and got a tongue lashing. He wanted a painting. But I knew my drawing would be perfect. When the drawing was completed he loved it and it’s hung in his office ever since. I sold the prints myself through the media. He was also so impressed with the sale of the prints he promoted me into a marketing position. It was a life changing experience in more ways than one.”
“My wife became pregnant and I knew I needed to hit a home run to be able to fully support my family,” he recalled. “I’m never afraid to dream big and went for the biggest athlete in Canada, Sidney Crosby. I had no idea who to contact to propose an idea to create an original drawing for Sidney, give it to him, in exchange for him signing a few prints. Eventually after enough phone calls I found who I needed to speak with. I proposed my idea but Sidney was too busy to agree to anything. However, they expressed interest in my work. That was enough for me. I than took the risk of creating a drawing of him in order to win him over. That drawing took six months to finally complete. I presented it to his people and within two weeks he hand signed 87 limited edition prints.”
After that success, Scott was able to turn to creating and marketing his art full time. He then turned toward basketball’s most famous name, knowing there were collectors out there still looking for something Jordan related that they hadn’t seen–and had to have.
“Once I had Sidney under my belt I knew I had created some leverage. Michael is one of my favorite athletes and was at the top of the list of figures I wanted to collaborate with next. I again shot for the stars. Brand Jordan approved my mock up image and gave me the go ahead to create 72 limited edition prints.”
The 16.5″ x 32.5″Jordan prints showcase Jordan’s signature high-flying dunk along with the well-known image of an emotional moment in the locker room after the Bulls won their first NBA title.
Soon, he’ll work with hockey legend Bobby Orr on another hand-signed piece; a dream come true for a sports fan who once only dreamed of the chance.
“What makes me most proud of reaching this level is that I truly earned it,” he explained. “Nothing was handed to me and I did every miserable thing I could do to make someone notice, including selling art door to door to survive. During my 12 year career as an artist, I’ve tried to quit twice because I wasn’t getting anywhere, it felt. But I kept being lured back. I’ve always worked part time jobs to try and make ends meet. After I completed the Sidney Crosby project, I was finally able to fulfill a lifetime goal of work for myself full time. What stands out most to me was not just the feelings of hopelessness of never making it, but that I continued on anyway.”