If you’ve ever seen one of his many MMA pencil portrait drawings, you’re likely to have had the same type of take-your-breathaway reaction countless others have had when viewing his artwork for the fi rst time. Evan Shoman’s art is timeless and brings forth both the essence and spirit of each fi ghter he draws.
You’d think the right-brained Long Island native, who moved to San Diego when he was 11, would make a killing in the art world given his unique talent and dedication, but they don’t call them “starving artists” for nothing. This 35-year-old married father of one lets us know, with his self-proclaimed “ridiculous and raw” sense of humor, what’s up the world of MMA art.
So Evan, how old were you when you realized you had this amazing artistic ability?
I still don’t see it. The only thing I see myself excelling at in life is being a dad. What Fedor is to MMA, what Kelly Slater is to surfi ng, and Jordan was to basketball is how I am to parenting.
Tell us what makes you a stellar dad.
My son is my best friend and I treat him as such. I bring my son everywhere with me. Not to fi ghts though. He doesn’t experience that side of his daddy’s life. His last “what my parents do” showand- tell was epic for him. He got to bring in pictures of my drawings of Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Darth Maul. Also he showed pictures of himself doing karate with Clay Guida, whacking Dan Henderson with a foam noodle, and fi ghting with Mayhem Miller. He was hero for a day in kindergarten even if the kids thought his dad was nuts. He’s also pooped in my hand twice—don’t ask— pissed in my ear, and vomited in my lap… and I didn’t kick his ass. I deserve a medal for the love I give my son.
Did you go to college to study art?
Nah—I never had a passion for it. I wanted to be a sportscaster since I was six. I went to college simply to get a degree and fi nish school. I wanted nothing more in life than to just be done with homework, studying, and, classrooms. I needed a degree and didn’t want to be buried with studying all the time. So I fi gured… art was a way to get around this madness.
Who was the subject of your fi rst MMA drawing and how did that come about?
I did simple black inked t-shirt designs for Ken Shamrock for his fi ght with Don Frye, but my fi rst MMA portrait was of Chuck Liddell in 2005. I posted it on Sherdog, where I was a member. The forum response was tremendously positive.
How many MMA portraits have you done so far?
I’ve done over 80 MMA pieces. How stupid is that? I’ve made about $19 in 3.5 years doing MMA portraits. Giving BJ’s for crack is more profi table.
I’m hoping $19 is a slight exaggeration.
Fine. $19 is an exaggeration. It’s more like $15 but I wanted to show-off for readers of FIGHT! Magazine. You know what they say, “If you want to make money being an artist… become an accountant.” Fighters on the undercard of the “Barn Fighting Championship” in Tustin make more than artists in the fi ght game. They get paid with dry milk chips too.
So how do you choose who you’re going to draw next?
Honestly, it usually just comes down to who I’m “feeling” at the time. There is no real order to any of it. I get emails all the time from fans telling me who to draw. Sometimes I listen. Most times I don’t.
What happens once you decide who to draw next?
According to MMA forum members I use Photoshop fi lters and call it a day. In reality, I just draw my ass off once I start. It takes 40-60 hours per portrait give or take. When I am done, I scan it into the computer so I can advertise online. Then I put the drawing in my pile of drawings in my closet and never look at it again.
Why would you pack your fi nished drawings away in the closet?
Why? Imagine dating a smoking hot ring girl with a phenomenal rack…three years go by and you look at this gal and her rack every day. She bitches, complains, and gets so complex that the mere sight of her pisses you off. By the time year four rolls around, you are so sick of her that you think, “I just want to leave this broad and fi nd a fat girl ‘cause it’s different.”
What are some of the portraits you’re most proud of and why?
These bastards and their tattoos… my best piece is “Notorious” Rick Slaton. He has tatts on his head, feet, hands…basically wherever there is skin. That was easily the most tedious and diffi cult piece for me. I had to shade and detail his body and THEN had to go in and do his tatts over that. Rick and I are good friends but while I drew his piece I cursed him up and down. He called me and I’d just hang up on him. After two weeks he got the hint and waited until I was through. That piece pissed me off so much that I can’t help but be proud of how it came out.
So what’s on your website?
I have autographed drawings of over 30 MMA fi ghters and prints of sports stars, celebs, and musicians on Shomanart. com. Mainly my focus is on MMA though.
What portraits will you be working on in the near future?
Whoever is important to the MMA community. Right now I am drawing Greg Jackson’s camp of Villasenor, Jardine, Marquardt and Evans. A lot of suggestions…or demands… are coming in to draw Brock Lesnar. I just don’t want to get all the “nice upside-down penis sword” jokes.
Obviously you’re a huge MMA fan. How did that all come about?
I watched Ken Shamrock at UFC 1. You either became a Royce Gracie or Ken Shamrock fan after that event. Ken was my favorite and no matter how many times he “hasn’t” been knocked out I will always support him.
Thanks, Evan. I think we’ve actually got a shot at getting most of your ridiculous and raw answers printed!
All this better be in. It’s gold! I can’t be boring and just answer questions easily. That’s Tyson Griffi n.
You said it not us!