Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Incredible" Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Yesterday I finished a new papercut of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil from the Garden of Eden -- I call it "incredible" because the background texture comprises cut-up pieces of comics featuring "The Incredible Hulk."

In this piece I'm exploring the double-edged knowledge humankind gets from exploiting the atom -- on the one hand, the potential for great power, and on the other, the potential for great destruction; ask Dr. Bruce Banner about the negative side, and you'll get it.

The shape of the tree is partial allusion to a mushroom cloud, and it's filled with the Hulk (and foliage) from a wide-ranging collection of comics -- including the work of Jack Kirby in the first Hulk comics all the way up through recent storylines like "World War Hulk."

You'll find a few different fruits (keeping with the rabbis' suggestion that we don't specifically identify which tree it was in order to avoid embarrassing it), and as usual I've also thrown in a few caption bubbles. Here are a few detail shots (click the pix below to see them larger) -- but if you want to see it live (and really, there's no better way to appreciate it), stay tuned for details on my upcoming Fall show at Brave New World Comics in Santa Clarita.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Israel" Mural for Temple Ahavat Shalom

Today the mural I designed for Temple Ahavat Shalom's Early Childhood Education Center finally, really, got underway. I started the design in June, got the final version approved this past weekend, and today I went in and sketched it out on the walls. Tomorrow the campers at TAS's Camp Kehillah will paint it in, and if all goes well it will look like the mock-up above (click the thumbnail or here to see it bigger). It starts on one end with Mt. Hermon, becomes the green hills and colorful flowers of the Galil, then the sabras and sand of the Negev, and finally the lush pink coral and blue water of Eilat. (Yes, some liberties with scale and other aspects of reality were taken.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Teaching kids how to cut paper
at URJ Camp Newman, Part 2

As I said in my earlier post, every summer I spend two weeks at URJ Camp Newman leading classes in papercutting. Here are a few more photos of the campers at work on their papercuts.

To read about what theye did, and to see pix of their finished work, check out my earlier post.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teaching kids how to cut paper
at URJ Camp Newman

Every summer I spend two weeks at URJ Camp Newman leading classes in papercutting. The students are all campers in a program called Hagigah, which is focused on Jewish expression through the arts -- fine art, dance, music, writing, photography, video, and more. They're all high school students, many of whom have been coming to Camp Newman since they were little, and the summer is always a great experience.

One of the groups I worked with choose papercutting as their "major" -- two hours per day, six days a week, for two weeks. The other group choose it as a minor, and spent one hour per day with me.

The students took to their knives rapidly, and had a great time learning a new medium. The first project for each group was a mizrach, an ornamental wall plaque used to indicate the direction of prayer (east) in Jewish homes. The major's big project was then to tell a story from the Tanakh (Torah, prophets, and writings) or midrash, while the minor designed the Hagigah poster that would advertise the end-of-session "Peachy Levy Festival of the Arts."

I'm really proud of the work the students did -- and so I'm sharing some of it here for your enjoyment.

Mizrach Project
We brainstormed as a group about what elements should be in a mizrach, to represent the east -- we were all pleased to see so many different interpretations of one extended motif come to life in our class.

Each student in the major chose a story from Tanakh or midrash (with the assistance of me and/or one of the rabbis we had with us) and illustrated it through this new medium they were exploring.

Just for Fun
Some of the students had some time for some smaller projects, just for fun, at the end of the session.

All of this work is copyright by the students who created it -- I'm just not naming them since they are minors. I'll be glad to field any questions about the creators or their work.