Harley Race has agreed to sign the painting I did of him (it's the one in the video, and you can see it below), and everyone who contributes to this project at any level is eligible to win it, providing it fully funds! There's only a few days left to participate and to get the word out, so please contribute if you have not yet, and put out the word if you have! I'm beyond excited!
"Heeeellllllloooooooooooooooooo wrestling fans!"
This, or a greeting like it, would welcome viewers of professional wrestling every week. It's also welcoming you to my project, which is to paint a portrait of every world heavyweight champion. I'm going to start with the NWA, AWA, ECW, WCW, WCWA/USWA, TNA, ROH and WWWF/WWF/WWE. Ideally I would like to continue with other promotions like New Japan and CMLL.
WWE Champion CM Punk
Why would you want to paint heavyweight wrestling champions?
First and foremost, why wouldn't I? But seriously, it's because these men mean so much to so many people around the world. The world championship is the pinnacle of any sport, even a pre-determined one like professional wrestling. The man who holds that title has to be believable as a champion and also has to draw crowds to see him defend his title, both of which are very real responsibilities. In the old days, the champion would often have to legitimately defend the title against opponents who were looking to bring the title to their territory. I also want to do this for the fans who fill the auditoriums and arenas every week, who make all of the magic happen.
Ric Flair. You'll get one of these at the $25 and $50 levels! Woooo!
Who are you to take on a project like this and why would I support you?
I'm a serious painter who takes his work seriously and makes serious art. Not so seriously? I'm a fan just like you. I think these guys are the coolest, and I love the stories around them. I'm not an art world insider, I'm a common guy from the Kansas City suburbs who wants to do something special. I'm Stone Cold Steve Austin going against the Corporation. I'm Dusty Rhodes, a common man of common origins. I'm Harley Race, a man who found what he was good at and used it to entertain the world. I'm just like you: I'm someone with a dream and the ambition and skills to make it come true. But like every wrestler I need you, my audience, to make it all real.
What is the money going towards, you ask? Twenty grand's a lot of money. I want to get real studio space that can also serve as a gallery. I think it would be great for people to be able to come see the paintings in person. Paying for all of these supplies to make the art is costly to boot. For reals, I'm going to need to buy wood and supplies for around 250 paintings!
Kansas City wrestling legend Harley Race
Why would a guy from Kansas City be the one to do this?
Kansas City has a very rich wrestling history. The National Wrestling Alliance was formed here. Harley Race, a five-time world champion, grew up in the Kansas City area and won his first world title in Kansas City. Ric Flair won his first world title here as well. Hulk Hogan won his last WWE championship in our great town. And 'Texas' Bob Geigel has made his home here for decades and ran the NWA as its president from Kansas City. But also, it's because of the deep love that our city has for its local wrestlers and how their histories intertwine that create these personal bonds.
Frank Gotch, the second-ever World Heavyweight Champion
What types of paintings are you going to do?
My style is a mix of influences like street art, comic books, and mid-century illustration, which I feel creates a vibrant and energetic approach to this subject. The art created around professional wrestling has always seemed to lack something. Either it's too real, or it's too cartoonish. It's too polished or too amateurish. I want to be honest to the wrestlers while also bringing that kinetic energy they deliver to their fans. I'm going to do this with a mix of mediums, mostly consisting of acrylics, oils, and spray paint. I'm an experimenter, though, and I'm sure to try new approaches and media as I go.
The legendary Bruiser Brody
What are you going to do with these paintings once you've made them?
Ideally I'm going to sell them to people who share our passion for pro wrestling. I want these to find their way to loving homes, to folks who will look at them and remember why they love this kooky and awesome sport. I've already got interest from wrestlers and promoters. I think some of you will like them, as well!
- (30 days)