Acrylic on 24″ x 24″ collaged bristol on wood
Stan Hansen has the distinction of being the most famous American wrestler in Japan, while still being a notorious figure in his home country. John Stanley Hansen II was born August 29, 1949 in Texas, and as a youth actively pursued the sport of Football. He played for the West Texas State Buffaloes, and was involved with the World Football League team the Detroit Wheels before the team (and league) folded. He made his professional wrestling debut in 1973, and started teaming with his long-time partner Bruiser Brody in 1975. During these early days he was also one of the first American wrestlers to start working in Japan, splitting his time between the two countries. In the late 1970’s he had a stint with the World Wide Wrestling Federation where he had an ill-fated program with Bruno Sammartino that saw Bruno’s neck get broken. This match was used by Hansen and promoters to sell the danger of his famed ‘lariat’ clothesline maneuver.
In Japan, Hansen had notable matches against Antonio Inoki and later Giant Baba, becoming the only man to pin both in singles matches. Over there he teamed with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Dick Murdoch, Brody, Terry Gordy, Ted DiBiase, Genichiro Tenryu, Dan Spivey, Bobby Duncum, Jr and Vader. He also had a notorious match with Andre the Giant. He had another notable match with Vader that saw the two getting progressively more and more stiff with one another until Vader’s eye was popped out of its socket!
In America, Hansen competed in the American Wrestling Association for Verne Gagne, where Hansen became their World Heavyweight Champion in 1985. His title reign became shrouded in controversy when he refused to drop it to Nick Bockwinkel, as Hansen was allegedly already booked to defend the title in All Japan Wrestling, and booker Giant Baba had informed Hansen to not lose the belt. Hansen was stripped of the title, but he went on to defend it in AJW anyway until Gagne threatened legal action. Hansen actually drove over the belt with his truck and sent the muddy tire-tracked belt back to Gagne. In 1990 he briefly competed for World Championship Wrestling, feuding with Lex Luger. He left for Japan shortly afterwards when he refused to be involved in the storyline that would see him paired with The Desperadoes, a team consisting of Dutch Mantel, Black Bart and Deadeye Dick. Hansen retired from wrestling in Japan on January 28, 2001 due to several injuries. Hansen now resides in Waco, Texas, and may be most famously known in wrestling locker rooms as legend has it he was the man who ‘discovered’ the famous Ribera Steakhouse in Gotanda, Japan.
About the piece: I ripped up several pieces of blank bristol board and collaged them onto the surface, allowing for gaps and imperfect edges. I then painted Hansen over it with acrylics, allowing for the overlapping edges and gaps to become a part of the texture of the piece. I thought it gave a feeling of a show poster of Hansen that had been wheat-pasted onto a wall, that has deteriorated a bit from the elements.