The sport of wrestling holds culturally and socially significant subtexts, such as power, athleticism, and desire. McNutt’s in-depth, artistic exploration of this sport throughout history demonstrates a natural obsession with these subtexts. Perhaps McNutt’s artwork is a representation of all of our fantasies, obsessions, intrigues, and desires.
His work stands as a part of a larger body that chronicles the human fascination with the athletic form. However, his use of photography extends this conversation by intentionally framing our perspective. In doing so, our impressions, responses, and desires become inseparable from the subjects in the photographs. McNutt allows us to share an intimate embrace with wrestling.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 5’10, I weigh 151 pounds, I was born in Kentucky, and I live in Maryland today. I have a Labrador retriever, I deadlift 300 pounds, and I just discovered reddit.com/r/bravorealhousewives. I started photography because I was really into flickr.com when I was 14 years old. I just kept taking pictures after that.
Why wrestling? What does wrestling do for you that other sports can’t?
I challenge you, the reader to think of another sport that is:
20,000 years or older
culturally relevant to all geographic regions for longer than 500 years
visually relevant in the form of art from 5000 years to present time
still practiced daily across the world
The sport of wrestling holds culturally and socially significant subtexts, such as power, athleticism, and desire. It is a kind of signifier of humanness. It is ancient, cross-cultural, progressive. My artwork is a representation of all of our fantasies, obsessions, intrigues, and desires. And though my work stands as a part of a larger body that chronicles the human fascination with the athletic form. My use of photography extends this conversation by intentionally framing our perspective. In doing so, our impressions, responses, and desires become inseparable from the subjects in the photographs. I allows us to share an intimate embrace with wrestling, and with humanity.
Do you wrestle, or ever tried?
When you look at your own work, what goes on in your mind?
I definitely don’t have the same thoughts every day when I Iook at my work. I can’t always be critical, smart, thoughtful, or conceptual when looking at my work otherwise I’d be exhausted and overthinking everything I do. Sometimes I need to be just plain silly, or stupid, or just excited about what I’m doing to keep making work. When I look at what I’ve made so far I see a desire to add more political, socially-complex work.
Aside from photography, what are your hobbies/passions?
My dog, video games, plants, vacuuming my dogs hair off the floor, lintrolling my dogs hair off of my socks.
Can you tell us a bit about your coloring book? How did you get the idea to make it?
I’m not sure exactly where I got the idea, I remember googling ‘wrestling coloring book’ and noticing there wasn’t any content that depicted freestyle or collegiate wrestling, just the more theatrical WWE kind. Then the whole idea just came together in my head. I could make something accessible and traditional while still being creative and unusual with the content, having fold out pages you could rip out of the book and hang as posters, etc.
Who who would be your dream model, someone you’d most like to see in a wrestling singlet?
I don’t have a dream collaborator/model but it would be an honor to get to photograph and work with any number of the talented wrestlers in the world such as Pawan Kumar Saroha (India), Taha Akgül (Turkey), Kyle Snyder (United States of America), Roman Vlasov (Russia) or Hassan Yazdani (Iran).
Find Ben: benmcnutt.com www.instagram.com/funbenmcnutt