Former Bulldog Sam Ingram gets recognized for portrait of the late Kobe Bryant

Not only does Holmes alumnus Sam Ingram of Madison make his mark on the football field, he also does in the art world after one of his pieces honoring the late Kobe Bryant went viral over the weekend.

Sam Ingram photoIngram, now a pre-med/biology major and football player at Mississippi College, played center on the football team for the Holmes Bulldogs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. On Friday, he drew a portrait of Kobe Bryant only using the number 24 as the background. Some 15 hours later and up to 8,000 No. 24s, he had a perfect likeness of Bryant. During the drawing process, he recorded a time lapse video and placed it on his social media sites - Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

Kobe BryantThe Germantown High School graduate and Madison native said he got a few thousand views in a short time on TikTok but was pleasantly surprised when the images and video posts began blowing up on social media.

Bleacher Report on Twitter asked him for more images, and as of Tuesday afternoon, the images had over 42,000 likes and 6,600 retweets. Other views of the video and pictures include: Ingram's main Instagram account at samingram98 has nearly 1,500 likes; his art Instagram at sams.sketch has over 500 views; TikTok at samingram26 has nearly 35,000 views and 6,000 likes; and samingram5 has over 2,100 likes and 500 retweets.

"That style has been around a long time, but I've never seen anybody do it with numbers," Ingram said. "I saw someone do it with words. I thought it was a unique style, and I wanted to do a tribute to Kobe.

"Kobe was one of my childhood heroes," he said. "I looked up to him and had his basketball cards when I was young. "He always told everyone to love what you do. I love to play football, and I love to draw so I did what he said and that's what came out of it. Hopefully, Kobe's family will see it and they will see how big of an inspiration he was to me and everybody else who looks up to him."

Ingram said he's been drawing since he was in the second grade and just recently started posting his work for others to see. "I've only recently started putting stuff out that would be post worthy," Ingram said. "I always kept most of the art to myself. Over the last two to three years, I've started getting to where I was comfortable without embarrassing myself."

He said he's never taken a drawing class. "I've always done it all myself," he said. "You can see me progressively get better. He's had an art account, sams.sketch, on Instagram for a year and has posted some art up to three years old on there.

Ingram did take an art appreciation class with some of his football teammates at Holmes. "It's usually historical stuff and reading about techniques," he said. "You learn to appreciate the art, not do the art."

His ability has let him sell some pieces which helped finance his college education. "I would go home on the weekends and draw a few commissions," he said. "I would post some things and see if somebody wanted to buy it. That and scholarships is how I go to school...paying my own way."

Ingram, the son of Tony and Shea Ingram, said his mother is involved in art as well. She sells custom picture frames, does color matching and does some interior design.

He doesn't feel like he will become an artist full-time because he's planning to be a doctor or a physician's assistant. But art will be available to him in the future. "I want to see what I can do in the medical field first," Ingram said. "I might minor in art just to have a minor. I don't know what I can really do with it. I do it on the side, and I love to do it. It's just one of my hobbies...playing football, playing guitar and drawing."

Ingram has also painted a portrait of the late John Wayne. John Wayne's official Instagram account "johnwayneofficial" with 250,000 followers liked the portrait and commented "amazing job". He also has other famous people and family members on the sams.sketch Instagram account.

He is also working on a project with a Super Bowl theme. "I'm not going to tell ya'll who it is," Ingram said.

According to Jay Cheatham, art instructor and Fine Arts Department chair at Goodman, who taught Ingram's art appreciation class, the drawing style is derived from Pointillism, which is a style of image making where the artist uses little dots of color. The technique was first used by Georges Seurat in his Cafe Concert. Later artists, such as Chris Ofili, used a similar approach in his Prince Among Thieves with Flowers.

To see more of Ingram's work, go to samingram5 on Twitter, samingram98 and sams.sketch on Instagram and samingram26 on TikTok.