For WEC fighter Chad George, the cage is not the only place he feels comfortable doing work. He is just as at home in the art studio, and the bantamweight will show off his work for the first time Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif., in an exhibition that will also show off the photography of UFC fighter Mac Danzig.
George has been an artist since first getting into the graffiti and hip-hop scene in high school. He found fighting as an outlet when he burned out on art.
"I started to work in the art-and-film industry while I was still in school, and then I opened up my own art studio my first year into the school," George told Cagewriter. "I got so into that and I got burned out, and that's when I found fighting. I had wrestled my whole life, and I was looking for something that would get me out of the studio environment. I went to an MMA gym and started jiu-jitsu. Then they told me about MMA and I tried that, and all of a sudden, I was in love with two things at once."
He said that doing the show was an outlet for him as he dealt with his quick loss to Scott Jorgensen at WEC 47.
"It was a perfect opportunity to let myself relax and let myself regroup a little bit. People have been trying to get me to do an art show for years, so when that happened, it gave me a chance to conquer a demon. I've always had every excuse in the world not to do it. Ever since that fight, I've been able to buckle down and conquer this thing I've been running from for a long time. Once I do this, I know I'll be able to focus that much more on my next fight."
Asking Danzig to be a part of the show was a natural fit. The two are training partners, and Danzig is an accomplished photographer.
"Mac's an amazing photographer. He goes on trips after his fights just for photography. He likes to go out and shoot nature and landscapes and get away from people. The stuff that he does is so creative. It's a beautiful art piece when he puts it all together."
At the show, expect to see Danzig's unique take on landscapes paired with George's more urban-minded drawings.
"They're going to see what I think is a unique outlook without any boundaries. My stuff's very urban, very wild. There's no hard lines. There's no erasing. I really enjoy using pen as my medium. Everything's a commitment. There's no erasing. Once you've put that line down, it's there. Every line helps define the piece that comes out in the end."
According to George, fighting has affected his artwork.
"When I'm drawing, I'm not focused on what I'm drawing any more. I kind of just let things flow and let things come out now. I don't have any direction on where it's going to start or where it's going to end. Before, I had to have a purpose on where it was going to start and where it was going to end. Now, it's much more fluid. That came out with the fighting. When I fight, I have to be fluid and in the moment, and that's what my art has been doing. Both of them complement each other."
See "Reflection" featuring art from Chad George and Mac Danzig sponsored by Projekt Label at the Coppola Art Exchange, 315 S. Beverly Drive, Suite 100, Beverly Hills, Calif., 90212 from 6-10 p.m. on May 15. Click here for more information and to see more of George and Danzig's work.