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Time Travel Art Machine: Crockett Promotions
The Good Old Days
Around ten years ago Michael and the fine folks at Highspots asked me to make this painting in conjunction with their documentary Jim Crockett Promotions: The Good Old Days (available for streaming on Highspots TV, by the way). They gave me a large list of who they wanted included and then I was off and running.
I admit to not knowing a whole lot about JCP and the people who wrestled there in its heyday at the time I got the assignment but it was a great excuse to dig in on some of the best pro wrestling ever. If you’re likewise unfamiliar but you’ve enjoyed Cody Rhodes’ current WWE run or the overall creative direction under Triple H, this is some great stuff to explore. I know Stone Cold Steve Austin has said it’s his personal favorite era and he still throws on matches and episodes to watch for fun.
As far as the painting itself, gosh I’d do it very differently now. I had a very limited set of paints and brushes I was using back then and I was wont to take on too much work so everything felt kind of rushed. I mean, I was impatient anyway so nothing had the kind of polish I try to give my work now. But that’s what a decade of mindfully improving your craft gets you, right? I’m sure someone who works as a carpenter looks at what they did ten years ago and feels the same way.
Something I try to be cognizant of with these looks back is to not bash my older work, because that would mean bashing all of the people who genuinely like it. And this was a very popular piece when it came out that meant a lot to a lot of people.
I learned early into my professional career to not correct people when they say they like my art. “I could have used better paint. My lines weren’t very confident. I didn’t capture all of the likenesses,” and so on. Instead, I genuinely thank them for the compliment as intended and internalize those other thoughts. Or try to.
Hopefully decades from now once I’ve set down my paint brush for the final time and others can look at my body of work, they’ll see an evolution. Maybe even the way we can still enjoy the style of wrestling Jim Crockett Promotions perfected in the early 80’s informing the work in WWE happening today.
Also, I still like how Ole Anderson turned out on this.
Love you more,