Winnipeg artist overcomes hurdles to score big break

April 13, 2012

Posted by Cate Friesen, CBC SCENE Producer | Friday April 13, 2012

Legendary Coach Bowden autographing his portait, painted by Winnipeg artist Jamie Hogabaum, at fundraising event in Lennox, Georgia


Winnipeg artist Jamie Hogaboam feels like his career took a giant step forward last night.

That’s when Hogaboam got a call from Lennox, Georgia with the news that his portrait of legendary Florida State Seminole Coach Bobby Bowden had just sold for $1800.00.

Coach Bowden was at the fundraising event and signed the portrait. Dr.Tim Sellers bought the painting and commented that it “was a huge hit. It may be one of the best of Bobby I have ever seen.”

Getting the call about the sale of his Bobby Bowden portrait affirmed all the hours he has put into his art. “It’s knowing I am doing the right thing”.

Hogaboam, a self-taught painter, has been working at his art for 10 years, and gaining a reputation for his sports-inspired acrylic portraits.

Hogaboam also battles depression and anxiety. He started painting as a means of escape, but says that it became greater than that. It has given him a means to express himself and has given him a greater sense of self-worth.

Hogaboam is an alumni of Artbeat, a local arts initiatve that provides studio space and community for artists whose lives have been challenged by mental illness.

Hogaboam is not afraid to talk to about his depression and anxiety, and he feels strongly that others need to speak out as well, especially in the field of sports. He cited Terry Sawchuk, best known as goalie for the Detroit Redwings, who suffered from depression that went untreated.  Rick Rypien, poised to play with the Winnipeg Jets, committed suicide before the season started this fall.

He is currently combining his passion for art, sports, and mental health advocacy with a series of portraits of Manitoba athletes.

His dream is to exhibit his work, along with the work of other Artbeat Studio artists, at public venues like the MTS Centre.  And in so doing, to encourage athletes and sports fans to have the courage to speak out about mental illness and promote recovery.