Wrestling your way to drawing

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Post from Rob Matthews

Nice post on the smiling wrestler. Thought you might be interested in another collision of wrestling and art. Here are some quick ink drawings I made in grad school. They’re part of a larger group of about 40 drawings.

rob matthews
Rob Matthews, Wrestler 2

They were made at a time when I could barely muster the concentration to spend more than 8 hours on a painting or more than 15 minutes on a small ink drawing. My how times have changed. Anyway, I would take photos off of World Wrestling Federation videos that I got from Blockbuster and try to draw 3 or 4 over an hour’s time to get warmed up. They eventually turned into paintings for my thesis show, which dealt more with dismemberment. I loved the pseudo-heroism of the wrestlers.

Hendersonville was home not only to me and various country stars but also to some professional wrestlers. I went to school with their kids. This is our greatest…uhmmm…export: Jeff Jarett.

He’s a few years older than my brother. His dad was/is a big time wrestling promoter and has the biggest ugliest house in Hendersonville. They did give out the best Halloween candy though.

Rob Matthews
Wrestler 1

Anyway, despite not being good drawings, they still made me think more about drawing. By the time I got out of school, I knew that I wouldn’t be a painter for much longer. Eventually I stopped painting and just made ink drawings and charcoal/cold wax drawings…then eventually that became pencil. A 15 minute drawing turned into an 8 hour drawing turned into a drawing that probably takes 60 hours. Thanks WWF!…err WWE! [Ed. note: WWF changed it’s name to World Wrestling Entertainment.]

P.S. Those drawings got the only really positive crit from a visiting artist that I got in grad school. The guy just kept saying, “You can show these in New York.” I remember thinking, “Well that doesn’t say much for New York.”

Artist and blogger Rob Matthews is a frequent Aartblog contributor. Read his story about working at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at Spector’s ArtJaw.

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rob matthews, wrestling

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