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Piledriver – Jesse Wright


Piledriver explores the parallels professional wrestling manoeuvres and spectrum of mental health



For those who don’t already know, who are you, and what do you do? 

Who am I? My name is Jesse Wright, sometimes shortened to JESWRI. I'm an artist and illustrator out of the Inner West, Sydney. Last year, I left the advertising world to pursue a full-time career as an artist because I grew tired of my creativity being watered down and moulded to fit the suit & tie environment. I wanted to create for the sake of expression and experimentation, without any limitations. Since leaving, I’ve been working with some incredible companies and amazing people giving me the pathways to do things that I love. I've been lucky enough to work with the likes of Young Henry's, MTV, Foo Fighters, Commune, Vilify, The Lazy Smith and some of the biggest names in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.


 What can people expect to see at your exhibition? 

People can expect to see a radical study of the human anatomy; twisted, slammed and broken. This is an exploration of my perceived parallels between your favourite wrestler's signature moves and the spectrum of mental battles we all go through in some form. Those struggles that feel so visceral and physical, leaving you feeling as if you have been on the bottom end of a righteous smackdown.


How did you go about creating the work? Can you describe some of the process?  

The artworks were created by referencing vintage medical journals and watching hours upon hours of wrestling footage. I used a combination of water-based spray paint and acrylic brush.


What are some key themes or inspiration behind the show? 

I was inspired and influenced to create this show PILEDRIVER due to my obsession with Professional Wrestling. The name and hero image is a clear visual representation of life picking you up and dropping you on your head. I feel that wrestling has been present since day one; I grew up playing with some of my older brothers action figures like Ultimate Warrior and Big Boss Man. A couple of years forward, I remember looking up at the television in the hospital room to watch Sting clash with Hollywood Hogan on WCW Nitro when my grandmother was having her own clash with cancer. It became more and more frequent, that I would play hours of the wrestling related video games with the door locked and volume on high, when I needed to escape my fathers drunk and fuelled rampages or distracting myself with old video tapes of Wrestlemania to escape a chaotic, self-destructive household. I look back at polarising figures like Stone Cold or CM Punk who have inadvertently taught me to speak up when I’m uncomfortable and own the things that make me, me. Wrestling is a way of immersing myself in that feeling of nostalgia, to feel like the kid inside me has never faded away. It’s a chance for me to transport myself into another realm, to be told stories about good vs evil and the struggle to become to the best you can be, to fall down and get up in order to stand up against the people who hold you down. 

It's my safe place and my escape.