Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lucha Libre At the Whitney

I've mentioned lucha libre over the last couple of days, Mexico's unique form of professional wrestling. The contestants are often smaller, more agile men than U.S. wrestlers, emphasizing aerial maneuvers done by flinging themselves off the ropes. They always wear a mask and adopt a persona. There is an interesting discussion of the history masks for role-playing in Mexican culture leading up to lucha libre here.

These paintings of luchadores on sheets of plywood were out on Cherokee Street in our Little Mexico during the Cinco de Mayo festival. I think they're fabulous (but, by definition, I have strange tastes). There is something very edgy and contemporary in them. It wouldn't surprise me to find these works in the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art in New York or one of the city's more out-there downtown galleries, selling for a lot of money. You would never guess that their first show was sitting on the sidewalk in a sketchy part of south St. Louis.

By the way, this picture was a technical challenge. The scene was horribly back lit. When editing it, the sky would be completely blown out or the foreground would be too dark. I decided to put a mask (no pun intended) on the sky, darken it, brighten the foreground and bump up the color saturation all over. It creates a sort of unnatural glow that I like. Tell me if it works for you.

TOMORROW: Cherokee Street


Knoxville Girl said...

The sky kind of matches the intense colors of the artwork this way, which I find very appealing. The luchadores look like they are going to jump right off of that plywood. Sometimes the best artwork grows in sketchy places...which gives me an idea for a future post. You are quite an inspiration, sir!

Raquel Sabino Pereira said...


Anonymous said...

Yep, the sky works for me! As does the artwork! I was at a graffiti festival in London over the weekend - I don't always like graffiti but in the right hands it truly is inspirational art.

Anonymous said...

Love the motion in the background. Reminds me a little of Keith Haring.

Olivier said...

création originale. je sais que je vais devenir obsessionnel;o) mais on dirait des catcheurs.

original creation. I know I'll become obsessive ;o) , but it looks like the catcheurs

mrjacksonismydad said...

this was probably at the FIRECRACKER PRESS on chippwa. he cut those out of wood inorder to ink up and run through a press.