Macho Kiss by Jonathan Cooper
What makes a working artist? Is it the romantic ideal, the artist who exists outside the consensus reality of “a job” and “paying rent” and “contributing to society” in order to produce an esoteric work of singular vision? Or is it the less mythical but more practical type, who works full-time at a conventional career, exercising his creativity in service of a commercial endeavor and only occasionally produces an object purely for art’s sake?
These are the questions provoked by Andre the Giant and Macho Man Randy Savage.
On Friday night, LTD Gallery opened a new show entitled “Velvet Legends of Wrestling.” It featured over a dozen paintings, done on black velvet, of professional wrestlers, mostly from the mid-‘80s WWF Golden Era. Organizer Monte Michaelis (aka Eliot Mechanism) and many of the contributing artists work full-time in the video game industry; the show was both an exercise and homage.
Black velvet is a notoriously difficult medium, quickly sucking paint from a brush, demanding meticulous attention and patience (“like painting a moving dog,” Michaelis quipped). Usually confined to the digital realm, a few artists hadn’t used actual paint in years. But the subject matter was enticement enough and combined with the medium in an apropos union: pop-culture gods imbued with the extra drama and kitsch of black velvet. When it worked, it really worked.
Velvet Legends of Wrestling hangs until Feb. 24. Ltd Gallery, 307 E Pike St.
Oooy Yeah by Cory Allemeir
Andre the Giant by Karen Madran
Legion of Doom by Patrick Jandro
Misterioso by Misael Armendariz