SAM BASS – NASCAR’S 1st OFFICIALLY LICENSED ARTIST
Michelle Hoskin – December 14, 2014
Sam Bass – 2014 Final Race for the Chase 12
2015 will mark the 34th Anniversary of Sam Bass’s career as an officially licensed NASCAR artist. I was recently able to connect with Sam and he was kind enough to sit down and take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for his fans within the NASCAR community! The photo of the 12 Race for the Chaser’s above is proof positive of Sam’s love and knowledge of the sport of NASCAR, as well as his innate artistic abilities.
Sam’s love for art and NASCAR started at a young age, he stated that “I have drawn and painted since I was a little boy”, and he received his education through the “Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.” Growing up he was a huge “Bobby Allison fan and has been since 1969.” His passion produced his “first NASCAR paint scheme”, which he was commissioned to do for Allison’s “Miller car in 1988, and he won the Daytona 500 in it the first time he drove it!!”
Sam Bass – Various Cars Collage
A few questions posed to Sam:
Your biggest ‘seller’ of all-time? “Probably my Wheaties paint scheme I did for Dale Earnhardt. My painting was put on millions of boxes of the product in 1997, and was a favorite of his.”
Your family? “I have a daughter, Kendyl, 14 and a son, Mark, 11. BOTH are very interested in art, and make me VERY proud!!”
Your favorite track? “Of course, my home track, Charlotte…but also Daytona, Richmond, and Bristol!” – We definitely share the love of Bristol!
Ever driven in a Cup car? If so, who drove? “Yes…I have taken numerous driving schools and absolutely love driving! I have had the opportunity to ride with Bobby Allison and Jeff Gordon, both of whom scared me to death!!”
Do you do lessons? “No not yet…mainly give advice. However, that is something I would enjoy very much and am looking into.” – We will definitely be keeping an eye open for any upcoming announcements in this area…
What one thing would you change about your life? “I wish that I had not been born with diabetes. It is tremendously challenging, especially with the deadline stress and schedule I keep. However, I am extremely blessed that it is treatable…A LOT more now than it used to be!!” – Being Diabetic myself, I fully understand the trials and tribulations involved in this disease…
What is your most memorable NASCAR painting/drawing? “Probably “The Magnificent 7”, featuring Dale Earnhardt. I completed the painting, framed and presented it to him at the RCR shop. ESPN then sold out the entire edition of prints from it during a broadcast of their “SHOP TALK“ show later that evening….It was just amazing!!”
Sam Bass – Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Your best NASCAR memory? “Being in Daytona in 1998, when Earnhardt won the Daytona 500…It was the most emotion and electricity I have ever felt at a race track!”
Sam Bass – Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s #3 Car
Is your work paintings/drawings? “My work is primarily done in watercolors and mixed media…Pen and ink, colored pencil, markers, etc. I enjoy working in lots of different Medias, as it mixes things up and keeps me inspired!”
What motivates you? “Just being a part of and working in this sport. I love what I do so much, and the NASCAR officials, drivers, tracks, sponsors, and especially the fans have all been so great to me! I am tremendously blessed.”
Has a driver ever turned you down to do a painting/etc.? “No…I have been extremely fortunate in that area. All of the drivers have been fantastic to work with throughout my career, and for that, I am VERY APPRECIATIVE!!”
Do you work off of pictures or the actual subjects? “Usually photos that my professional photographer friends take or that I get at the races I go to. I like to know my subjects personally. I think that is important as it allows me to capture their personality better. It also helps that they know I am sincere in my efforts to do my best possible job of capturing their look, talent, and emotion.” As anyone can see, Sam’s innate talent for ‘reading’ his subjects is amazing, he captures their true emotions, making them come to life on canvas.
Sam Bass – Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Car
Sam Bass – Carl Edwards #99 Car
Sam Bass – Jeff Gordon’s #24 Car
Sam Bass – Charlotte Motor Speedway, All-Star Race 2014
Do you do strictly NASCAR themes? “I do primarily NASCAR illustrations since I began in 1981…I just love the sport! I have occasionally been presented with the opportunity to design and paint other types of cars, which I tremendously enjoy too since I am such a huge motorsports fan!” When asked if he could do anything else in the world, what would it be, Sam replied “I would be a singer/guitarist in a touring country or rock band. I love live entertainment/concerts, and have played guitar since I was 8.” Luckily for Sam, he is able to combine the best of both of his worlds at times…
Sam Bass Sprint Cup Series Awards – Vegas, Guitar
When asked about his other works of art besides his amazing NASCARS pieces, Sam stated that “during the holidays I do a lot of private commissioned work, such as portraits, Christmas cards and illustrations”. A few of his adorable Christmas pieces are pictured below:
Sam Bass – Christmas Artwork Pieces
What do you think of your fans? They are absolutely the best. Their support and encouragement keep me motivated and working hard! I can truly identify with them all because I am such a NASCAR fan myself!
Sam’s gallery is located at 6104 Performance Drive in Concord North Carolina and his website is www.sambass.com. While in the Concord area, you should definitely plan on stopping in and personally checking out his work and making that special purchase for the NASCAR fan in your family (or for yourself!). Though the fluctuating economy has definitely affected everyone, Sam stated that “we ALWAYS have sales and specials going on…I like to stay busy and keep the fans happy with new art and specials. Just like everyone…the economy has made it tremendously difficult to work, and you have to be creative and inventive to continue to survive” – THANK YOU Sam for keeping that creativity alive and bringing NASCAR to life!
Sam Bass with his Jimmie Johnson #48 collage…