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Wrestling your way to drawing


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.