Just south of the Brazos River on Interstate 35 is the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Inside, among the autographed artifacts and jerseys, hang some of the state’s most cherished paintings of Texas sports legends. These hanging testaments, created with passion, go beyond the simple depiction of form and figure. They portray an effervescence of life, and a vitality that photographs fail to capture.
The name behind these paintings is a nationally renowned painter, Robert Hurst. Hurst has been the official artist for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame since 1997, and his paintings continue to be appreciated and admired each day by museum visitors.
“What’s not to like? I’m a native Texan. I’m a former athlete. I’m an artist. I know plenty of artists out there that would kill to be in the position I’m in,” said Hurst regarding his position as the official artist for the museum. “I’m extremely proud. I think working with the Texas Sports Hall of Fame is the proudest achievement I’ve made.”
As an honor to the athletes being inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Hurst creates and frames a painting of each inductee, which he then presents to them at the induction banquets. When asked where he finds inspiration for a painting, Hurst said, “I’d say eight out of 10 times I know who they are, and sometimes I don’t know much about them. To me, one of the funnest parts is the research. If I find it interesting, I’ll put it into the piece.”
The history of Texas sports and the accomplishments of the inductees are being preserved by these paintings. “When I can genuinely see it in their eyes that they like the painting, I know that they’re happy about what I did for them,” said Hurst.
In addition to being the official artist for the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Hurst is also the official artist for the College Baseball Hall of Fame, the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, and Rodeo Austin. He specializes in sports, music and western art. “I paint what I love, and I usually have to have people or critters in there,” Hurst stated.
Throughout his years, Hurst has been an animal lover and advocate. Hurst recounts, “I am definitely for helping animals and supporting them because they can’t support themselves. I’m always for the underdogs who can’t help themselves.”
Hurst was raised in Houston, Texas, and growing up he was always known as an artist. He got his first paid commission in junior high school for artwork of Billy Holiday. “I think it sold for like five dollars or something… I started painting professionally probably about the time I hit 28 or 29,” he said. Along with being an artist, Hurst has always been involved in sports, whether it was motocross, martial arts, college rugby or even competitive volleyball.
As a Houston native, Hurst started out a Houston Oilers fan, and he is now a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. Hurst and his friends attended the Dallas Cowboys first game of the 2013 regular season against the New York Giants. “It was very fun, lots of ripping,” he recalled, further stating: “We had pretty decent seats and it was the first time I went to ‘Jerry World’.” AT&T Stadium got its nickname, “Jerry World”, after sports legend and Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. Jones was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2006 and was painted by none other than Mr. Robert Hurst.
Robert Hurst’s sports artwork can be seen in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the College Baseball Hall of Fame. His music and western themed art can be found at the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame as well as Rodeo Austin, and he has a whole wall of artwork in Wild About Music in Austin, Texas. Robert Hurst’s studio is available for visitation by appointment, and his artwork can be purchased on his website, adamnfineartist.com.