By The Masked Embroiderer
From being turned off by a siblings over enthusiastic wrestling fandom to being completely enamoured by the whole sport. Kathleen Crilly has always enjoyed drawing and painting and now uses her new found passion in her work.
‘This type of stuff always blows my mind. The detail is amazing’ is how one of her subjects, Danny Edwards, describes her work. So without further ado, here’s SWN’s Behind the Art Interview featuring artist Kathleen Crilly.
Can you start by introducing yourself and what it is you do?
My name is Kathleen Crilly. I’m a painting student at Glasgow School of Art and I also take commissions. I like to paint human forms in an abstract sort of way.
Ok great Kathleen. I understand that you’ve only recently started watching wrestling. So can you tell us when you started and what hooked you?
My brother has always been a big fan of wrestling and WWE but because of the way he used to be so passionate about it, it put me off as a kid. I thought it was just big men rolling about and was more into drawing. A few months ago though I read an article about Drew McIntyre and about all his success in America which lead to me watching loads of videos and documentaries about wrestling. I fell in love completely. I love the combination of real skill and big extroverted personalities. Also I think it’s a good influence on kids. It’s entertaining but not overly violent which is such a unique thing to do.
How does wrestling and Scottish wrestling inspire your work?
I read an article about how wrestling is one of the oldest forms of combat that was referenced in some 15,000 year old cave drawings in France and was initially inspired by that fact. I love how powerful and aggressive but also how theatrical it is in a way. I’ve still not been to a show yet due to this recent lock down but I’m highly looking forward to attending one. To witness in person the way the wrestlers and audience engage with each other either by cheering or screaming at each other, it’s almost like pantomime.
Who are your favourites to watch and why?
My favourite is Danny Edwards. I went to school with him but seeing him now becoming this wrestling star is really incredible and inspiring and I can see his career taking him far. In like 5 years he’s going to be huge. He’s got great skills and it’s amazing how he engages with the crowd.
You’ve painted Danny (Edwards) a couple of times now using aspects of matches he’s been in. Can you talk us through the process of painting a wrestling match and what you might look for in a wrestling match to paint? For instance you painted Danny using multiple angles in one picture didn’t you?
Yeah I wanted to paint Danny in different angles because some of the images weirdly reminded me of old European classical paintings because there is a sort of dramatic and chaotic feel to them.
In my paintings, I wanted to focus on movement and the exciting atmosphere it brings so I use pallet knives and oil paint inspired by Alex Turnett and Giacomo Balla paintings where it’s based heavily on movement in a still image. I like to focus on the finishing move or the most dramatic move as it really captures peak tension.
So you’ll definitely do more paintings. Anything planned you can tell us about or any pieces you’d like to make in the future?
I’m hoping in the future to do a larger series about wrestling and work on a much bigger scale. As I’ve said once lock down is over I want to go to shows and get more inspiration and maybe some models and hopefully do an exhibition at my uni.
Where can people find your work?
My Instagram is the only one I’ve got so just @kathleencrillyart
We’d like to thank Kathleen for talking to us and highly recommend you check out more of her work. One to keep an eye on.
And if you’d like to be featured in SWN Fan Art Corner you can send in your art to: