A fitting tribute to a great man (Pictures: Instagram @davidspeeduk /Getty Images)
Neon painter David Speed – who is a wrestling fan and prolific artist after creating 98 pieces across the capital city from March until the end of 2020 – immortalised the late wrestler with a stunning piece in Shoreditch.
After sharing the artwork on social media, it’s been shared by fans, stars and All Elite Wrestling themselves as it resonated with everyone who held Brodie – who died on December 26 from a non-Covid-related lung issue – close to their hearts.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, David said: ‘It is insane. All I’ve done is just paint him in my style. The way it’s come together – that wouldn’t happen if people didn’t have this warm feeling towards him.
‘I think it’s just a screengrab from an AEW promo with these lights shining on him. I saw the image and with my style of stuff, I thought that’d be perfect.’
Everyone from Cody Rhodes and Dark Order member Evil Uno to WWE superstar Cesaro and Brodie’s widow Amanda Huber have commented or shared the piece.
David – who used to attend WrestleMania every year with his girlfriend but prefers watching New Japan Pro Wrestling and bits of AEW nowadays – has been blown away by the response, and he hopes the artwork is helping at a tough time.
‘For me, the real highlight – I’ve got quite a large social media following, but my fans aren’t wrestling fans and I’ve never really brought wrestling into the work that I make,’ he explained.
‘I didn’t really think anyone in wrestling would see it, but the fact that Amanda has seen it and likes it, I could give her just a tiny little bit of joy during what is probably the s****est time she’s ever been through, that is so huge.’
Brodie’s death on Boxing Day rocked the wrestling world (Photo: TNT)
David – who also runs the Creative Rebels weekly podcast – has been inspired by Brodie’s decision to move onto AEW after leaving WWE, where he spent years working as Luke Harper on the cusp of superstardom.
‘In March, I started painting, really going for it, pushing the neon paint as far as I could take it,’ he revealed, noting that lockdown gave him a big nudge to chasing his dream.
‘I like vibrant street art. My favourite artist is Caravaggio. Although my work looks very different to his, you can see where the interest comes from because I’m obsessed with light and dark and shadows.’
The neon artist was moved by AEW’s tribute to Brodie (Photo: David Speed)
All the attention from the painting has come as a surprise to David, who admitted his tribute was more for himself than ‘social media’.
However, he’s taking it in his stride, and is already looking ahead to his neck project, with most pieces taking between four and seven hours.
‘I have lots of things lined up. The hardest thing as a street artist is finding spaces and walls, but I’m always on the lookout for new canvases, travelling the city,’ he smiled.
‘I’ll be out painting tomorrow, I’ll find somewhere.’
*Find more of David Speed’s work on Instagram.