Velvet paintings and professional wrestling—a veritable chocolate and peanut butter of low culture combos! Artist Bruce White “believes that Elvis and Jesus are not the only icons of the world worthy of being immortalized on a velvety canvas,” and his show “VelvetMania” really captures the personalities of the great wrestling icons of yore. Many of the portraits you see below are for sale, should you be in the market for some fine (and fun) art.
For the unacquainted, professional wrestlers are far more than buff (or even not so buff) actors staging a phony fight—these men are the drag queens of heterosexual masculinity. If you grew up watching wrestling, the appeal is obvious. If you didn’t, I suggest you get right with God and YouTube some classic matches this very minute. If you don’t fall in love with the spectacle, I pity you. But how could you not? The swagger, the bombast, the mullets! The only real question is who to favor? Who will be your champion, and what does it say about you?!?
If you pick Hulk Hogan, you may be attracted to American classics, or you may just be a bore. Jake the Snake and Koko B. Ware (below) may appear to rely on a gimmick of animal companionship, but I assure you, they’re men of great charisma. Then we have Shawn Michaels for the glamor queens, and The Ultimate Warrior—the uber-buff “wrestler’s wrestler.”
You may remember “Rowdy” Roddy Piper from his brilliant performance in John Carpenter’s 1988 dystopic sci-fi classic, They Live, where he ad-libs one of the greatest tough guy lines of all time. Then, for the goth kids, we have The Undertaker—he had great entrances. But I saved my favorite for last—Mick Foley, as his unhinged character, Mankind, and his little friend, Mr. Socko. Fun fact, Mick Foley is a huge Tori Amos fan and does a lot of advocacy for victims of sexual violence. I fucking love Mick Foley, and he’s even a Hoosier, like myself. I’ve included his debut as Mankind at the end—the dude could really put on a show.
Jake the Snake
Koko B. Ware
More of Bruce White’s velvet portraits of wrestlers after the jump…