By Rich Simmons
AEW Wrestling has taken the world by storm over the last year and Darby Allin has become one of the biggest stars on their talent packed roster.
As a wrestling fan, I have always gravitated towards the darker characters and the risk takers. Sting, Jeff Hardy, AJ styles all come to mind and for the new generation of wrestling fans, a new name can be added in this category.
Darby is an enigma, an innovator and a creative genius who is using his artistic talents to excite everyone tuning in to watch AEW. I'm excited to finally release this interview where the man himself shares his story, passions and thoughts with the Art Is The Cure community.
We know you from AEW where you’ve been one of the biggest stars over the last year, but you also come from a background of skateboarding. How has a history of skating helped prepare you to take on the world of wrestling?
The world of skating has helped me more than almost anything when it comes to getting me ready for pro wrestling. It taught me to be strong. Falling on cement yer whole life gets yer body physically prepared!
I started skating cause I didn’t have to have teammates or coaches just me and my board. That loner mentality I felt most at ease with.
You are one of the most distinctive athletes on AEW with your body paint and the half painted skull on your face. You have said that painting half of your face is because 50% of you is dead inside. When did you first put the paint on and realise this is the version of you that you wanted the world to see?
I first started painting my face a year into wrestling. It’s something I always wanted to do but listened to those around me when they said don’t. Then like a switch I said screw all you I’m doing it my way and never listened to anyone again when it comes to who I am.
Do you also put paint brush to canvas?
I’ve always painted growing up. I love it! You can make a horrible day F’ing amazing once you start creating art. It’s therapeutic for me.
I’ve loved your video segments on AEW where you combine artistic film, written warnings and a monochromatic look to set the tone. How involved are you with the creative direction you take?
I’m 100% in control of my promo videos. If I wanna jump off an 80 foot bridge or skate with Tony Hawk I’ll do it!
Punk rock is a big part of your life. How has this shaped the direction of your wrestling / skate styles and your performances on camera?
Punk rock is up there with skating shaping who I am as a human and as a pro wrestler.
Teaching you that there’s no authority but yourself. It’s an old Crass quote I’ve carried with me my entire life. Don’t put up with shit.
You recently said in an AEW segment that you’ve been dealing with shit for 27 years and that you ‘wanted an audience to experience my pain’. Would you describe wrestling / skating as a form of creative therapy for you?
Wrestling, skating and film making are all therapeutic to me. I’ve done therapy but man, nothing is more helpful than stepping in that ring or on that board.
You seem like an incredibly driven, creative individual. How has this ability to push your limits and be creative helped you in your life?
You start putting chains on me as a human I’m gone. I’d rather be homeless living in my car again being me than live in a mansion being someone that wasn’t me. I’m an adrenaline junkie every sense of the word I live for danger.
You’ve recently added an incredible full sleeve and hand tattoo to your body with a full skeleton cross section. Is the design a continuation of the half skull face paint and do you have plans to add more to the collection in the future? Which artist created it for you?
Caleb Morgan based outta ATLANTA created my arm piece. It’s definitely playing off my face paint I want to add tons more but when the times right I’ll strike!
Do you have any favourite artists, creatives or bands right now that people should check out?
There’s tons of artist / bands out there but I’d say looks into any old anarcho punk bands, Crass, Rudimentary Peni etc doing it 100% raw the way they wanted.
If you could give advice to people looking to discover their creative spark or chase their dreams, what would you tell them?
Listen to yer own voice. There was a time I listened to everyone else and felt I lost who I was and it killed me inside. That’s my advice.
What’s next for Darby Allin in AEW?
Wherever the wind takes me.
You can watch Darby Allin tearing up AEW every Wednesday evening on TNT in American and ITV in the UK.