CNN's Mike Rowe gets a lesson in lucha libre, a form of professional wrestling from Mexico that is famous for its fighters' (known as luchadores) use of masks to keep their identity secret.
Behind the Luchador Mask: Art, Love & Mystery – Luchadores are known for a unique fighting style which relies heavily on aerial maneuvers. Artist Chris Parks has designed masks, capes, tights, trunks and other gear with a luchador named Lince Dorado. "The luchadores are real life superheroes, it's modern day mythology taking place in a wrestling ring," Parks says.
Behind the Luchador Mask: Art, Love & Mystery – Chris Parks, aka Pale Horse, started his luchador-inspired artwork in 2009 after a trip to Mexico and is now creating his own wrestling characters. Seen here is Oraculo, a fighter Parks brought to life based on sketches. "The sketches would inspire the mythologies of the individual characters, which really helped me capture the spirit of those characters in my illustrations," he says.
Behind the Luchador Mask: Art, Love & Mystery – Artist Chris Parks getting "attacked" by one of his Luchadors, Oraculo. "The mask is the luchador's identity, both in and out of the ring. Luchadores will keep their faces and real names a secret throughout their entire lives; some of the more iconic luchadores have even been buried in their mask," Parks said.
Behind the Luchador Mask: Art, Love & Mystery – "I need to find a way to effectively convey the character's personality through the mask and the ring gear, but that ring gear also needs to be functional for the luchador wearing it," Parks explains. "What may look good in a drawing might hinder movement in the ring, so it can be challenging at times."
Behind the Luchador Mask: Art, Love & Mystery – Legendary luchador Solar I is seen here in his mask and trophy room. Solar, a champion luchador, has been wrestling for 40 years and his real identity has never been revealed. Solar's son is now continuing the family legacy, wrestling as Solar Jr. "The characters are passed down from generation to generation, a lot of times from father to son, and those characters are kept alive through the masks," Parks says.
Behind the Luchador Mask: Art, Love & Mystery – "The Oracle and the Serpent" is one of Parks' works that will be on display at the "Pale Horse Lucha: The Art of Lucha Libre" event on May 5 in St. Petersburg, Florida. "The masks in lucha libre can be traced back to the Aztecs and can symbolize animals, gods, mythological figures and other elements of Mexican folklore. The luchadores are real-life superheroes -- it's modern day mythology taking place in a wrestling ring," Parks says.