SWN Fan Art Corner #8 | Behind The Art: Jackson Zorn

We’re delighted to be able to bring you a Scottish Wrestling inspired fan art piece by a good friend of The Masked Embroiderer’s Jackson Zorn (@jedijackyeti on Instagram) and we’ll let him set the scene of how it all came about.

Jackson and I were bonded by our mutual appreciation of wrestling. He lives in America and I live in Scotland but despite the distance between us, the wrestling world brings us a lot closer together.

Jackson’s work is highly influenced by religious themes and I’ve been wanting him to make a Scottish Wrestling inspired piece for the SWN Fan Art Corner for a while now as his work is fantastic. And although he doesn’t see much of the Scottish wrestling scene he appreciates the hard work that is put in and he came up with the piece below.

Jackson explains the story behind his work.

‘The “Turnbuckle Prophet Series” in which I include this piece of work, features sculptures, videos, photographs, and drawings, and is my attempt at a modern understanding of sacrifice and belief. Two ideas rooted in spirituality and faith in a higher deity.

To clarify I grew up under the umbrella of Christianity so most of my references comes from that source.

The cornerstone of most organized religion is sacrifice, typically personal, physical, and most times violent sacrifice.

But where is the modern context? What can be our contemporary hitching post for understanding such timely ideas? As many things in life I understand the world through art. If art cannot explain it, I look to wrestling. If wrestling cannot explain it, it can’t be explained in my opinion.

The bible tells us Christ was given the choreography of the events to come by God that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was to suffer immense physical sacrifice, torture and crucifixion. Most of us know this and consider it an old, somewhat dated story from a dusty old book now. But how does it relate to me and why should I understand it?

If you are fan of wrestling it relates immensely and if you understand it, you understand wrestling. Professional wrestlers, dare I say, are the only contemporary parallel to religious tales of tremendous physical sacrifice: blown out knees, bloody noses, concussions, contusions, torn ligaments, chair shots, broken tables in temples full of worshippers supporting their beliefs in their preferred deity, and sometimes even crucifixion. Please see Sandman v. Raven 1996 Extreme Championship Wrestling and the final segment of Monday Night Raw December 7, 1998. You are beginning to get the point. And what of this sacrifice? To what end? The finish has been set. Much like Christ, the physical pain is real for an end that is composed.

We, of course, can go on pulling more parallels, but many are retellings of old stories with different characters. David vs. Goliath, prodigal son, brother vs. brother, Abraham and Isaac, demons, saviors, redemption, good vs. evil, so on and so on.

Even with the above mentioned, I think the major theme in wrestling that runs religion adjacent is physical sacrifice. What could possibly be worse than destroying your physiology for the well being of all human kind? How about sending your only child to do it instead? This is why we see such importance placed on The Virgin Mary within particular sects of Christianity. When I began this series I was firmly focused on Christ as the ‘sacrificial’ lamb. Wrestlers substitutes for Christ or apostles and vice versa.

But I have more recently cast my gaze on the heroines of these stories, who perhaps hold a much larger part though get slightly less attention. (“The Representation of Women in Religious Art and Imagery”by Stefanie Schafer-Bosset) In the story of Christ, for example, Mary is there before his birth and she is there after his death, bookending fittingly and playing a major role. She is also a part of Christ coming out of retirement or “resurrection” as a believer would call it.

Alas, we come to imagery depicting femininity, strength, faith, and sacrifice. Much like religious depictions of the past, these voices need be in different languages and directed at different groups of people from a deity that looks and speaks like them (“Christ versus Christianity” by Erik Jones) So I have begun casting a wider net for my cause, fishing for women and men of a different tongue than my own. “Viper” is one of my first attempts at this broadening of horizons. And I hope that the people of Scotland will value its existence. Thank you.

Jackson Zorn

@jedijackyeti (only on instagram)

If you have a Scottish Wrestling inspired piece of fan art and would like to tell your story behind it. You can send it into us:

Twitter – @TEmbroiderer
Instagram – @themaskedembroiderer

Or use the hashtags

#scottishwrestlingart
#scottishwrestlingfanart

Spread the word people and thanks again.

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