Acrylic and spray on 24″ x 24″ wood
I may have painted Chris Sabin’s portrait too early, because I feel that his legend will only continue to grow in the years to come. Born 1982 as Joshua Harter in Michigan, he began his training as a professional wrestler after high school. He soon debuted as Chris Sabin on the independent circuit in 2000 and joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2003. He quickly made his name in TNA’s X Division, winning the X Division Championship within a month of debuting there. A fixture of the division, he had notable feuds with Christopher Daniels, Low Ki, Petey Williams, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Jerry Lynn and even Kevin Nash. During this time he also had a run with Ring of Honor, facing Homicide, Bryan Danielson aka Daniel Bryan, Tyler Black, Kevin Steen, El Generico and more.
In 2007 he formed The Motor City Machine Guns with fellow Michiganer Alex Shelley and entered into a feud with Team 3D. They soon entered into a brutal yet thoroughly entertaining rivalry with James Storm and Bobby Roode, Beer Money. The two teams went on to compete in the legendary Best of Five series in 2010, where each match was under different stipulations with ever-increasing stakes, creating in my opinion the best fights to be seen in wrestling that year. The team broke up in 2012 and Sabin returned to the X Division, but soon was injured and didn’t return until the next year. Soon winning the X Division Title again, he used the stipulation on the title to trade it in for a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He did so and defeated Bully Ray to win his first World Title in July of 2013. He soon lost it back to Bully Ray and returned to the X Division, where he won the X Division title for a record seventh time. At the time of this writing he is still an active competitor for TNA Impact Wrestling.
About the piece: With the wood primed using an off-white paint, I used acrylics to render the figure in a more traditional way. With that dried, I used spray paint to lightly spritz in some white to create the framing of Sabin’s face, giving an effect of steam being wiped away from a window. It’s a gamble whenever I work that way, because I never know exactly how it will work, and I can’t really fix it without repainting the piece entirely. Luckily it came together!