If you’ve ever taken a stroll through Station Square, chances are you’ve seen Sam Thong, sitting at his easel, drawing away. He does it all, from caricatures, to charcoal portraits, to pastels. He has drawn the faces of Pittsburgh for generations, and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.
How long have you been located in Station Square?
I’ve been here since 1981, so 38 years.
What is your background?
I moved to the US from Thailand when I was 17. I went to West Virginia University and got two degrees, one in Graphic Design, and one in Business.
What do you like to do when you’re not drawing?
I like to watch movies and tv, listen to my stereo, cook for my family, and play table tennis.
What kind of food do you like to cook?
Since I grew up in Thailand, Thai food and some Chineses stir fry. My parents are Chinese. I like to cook curry dishes, stir fried noodles, my grandsons love my rice soup, and occasionally spaghetti for my wife.
Have you drawn any famous people?
Lots! Franco Harris, Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd, Tony Dungy, the Saints’ Craig-Ironhead-Heyward, and then 25 years later, I drew his son, the Steelers’ Cam Heyward.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve been asked to draw?
A woman asked me to draw a picture of her baby’s sonogram picture!
What’s your favorite part of what you do?
Seeing the satisfaction on a customers face when they see the finished drawing.
You can find Sam inside Station Square, in between Buckheads and Just Ducky Tours. To see more of Sam’s work, visit samthong.com