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Made in S.A.: Blue Rooster Customs

Art helps a San Antonio man turn his life around. Now this local artist is using his work to help others get back on their feet.
Credit: KENS 5

SAN ANTONIO — The art of pin-striping is all about symmetrical lines.

However, walking that straight line has not always been easy for Steven Sample or “Rooster” as they call him.

"I'm an alcoholic and did a lot of drugs,” Steven Sample said. "My life was a mess it was absolutely in the toilet. I was facing prison or suicide and I couldn't decide which. But I decided to get some help and man just started a whole new life."

Sample made the decision to focus on his art eight years ago.

It’s also when he found a community who also shared his love of oldies, rockabilly and hotrods.

"I started taking my stuff to car shows and it took off. From there and it went from bringing art pieces that I had done to painting live at shows," Sample said.

He began to find solace in what was a dying art form.

“I like making the swirly lines. It's a learning process getting those brushes to work right, but it’s really relaxing. It's cool," Sample said.

Don’t get him wrong, although he's got natural talent, it wasn't always easy.

“It was really a moment of freedom…a couple of years of doing this I was like you know what I'm an artist…. I was always like I've never been to art school, so I had all these preconceived notions in my head and I realized I was the only one holding me back," Sample said.

But just as he grasped that confidence in his work life hit him with another blow.

"I got diagnosed with lymphoma in December and I had to have surgery and I was paralyzed,” Sample said.

Rooster spent a month in the hospital.  

“It was really, really tough that day when they told me in the hospital, but by the end of the day I wasn't sad anymore," Sample said.

As he learns to walk again he's leaning on his community to support him.

“Just the love has just lifted me up and kept me going," Sample said.

With just one round of chemo left to go Rooster is walking with a cane.

Determined to overcome this too.

"I kind of designed this life where I can kind of just work out of this chair,” Sample said.

However, the lifesaving medication is creating more challenges for him.

"The chemo and the steroids they put me on makes me shake, makes my eyes twitch. It's hard so I've got about a week and a half a month that I can actually work,” Sample said. "I'm still going it's really good people are really patient with me.”

In his spare time, he still gives back to those who are homeless or struggling with addiction.

“It really brought out that love of humanity, “Sample said.

Leaving him with a straight "line" message for anyone who thinks they can't overcome.

"There's no I can't! You can literally do anything you want. People can change. Find somebody who has what you want and figure out how they did it, ask questions, go to school, do whatever. Figure out how you can get your dream because we all can do it,” Sample said.