Thursday, May 26, 2011

New papercut:
"Higher and Higher"

As I teased in an earlier post, I've been working on a new papercut inspired by the seventh chapter of Bereshit... here's a photo of it on my table (click it to see it larger).

Tentatively titled "Higher and Higher" -- named for one of the snippets of text in the background -- this papercut shows Noah's ark being raised by the uprushing "fountains of the deep" described in the Torah, while flooding rains fall from the sky.

The background is made up of a selection of grayscale and limited-palette comics, pages from a 1946 book of biblical commentary titled Pathways Through the Bible (which I rescued from the genizah box at our synagogue), and a photograph from an old National Geographic magazine.

Here are some close-up shots.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Completed commission:

This morning I finished my latest commission -- it all came together in exactly the right way, and I'm very pleased with the result. Handed it over to the gentleman who commissioned it, and now I'm free to share it here.
Nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank” or “The Hebrew Hammer,” Hank Greenberg played primarily for the Detroit Tigers as a first baseman, and was one of the premier power hitters of his generation. My "Greenberg" is modeled on his 1934 Goudey baseball card (see below).

More than a great baseball player, he was also a great man. One of the few ballplayers to give a warm welcome to the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson, the majors’ first black player in many years, Greenberg is known for a story involving a collision at first base with Robinson. After colliding with him, Greenberg whispered a few words into Robinson’s ear, which Robinson later characterized as “words of encouragement.” Greenberg had advised him that the best way to combat the slurs from the opposing players was to beat them on the field. Robinson later said: “Class tells. It sticks out all over Mr. Greenberg.”

Greenberg was acting in accordance with the words of our tradition: to pursue justice and promote freedom, for we were slaves in the land of Egypt. We read these words every year in the Passover haggadah, which is why the papercut is backed with elements from two traditional haggadot: the 1949 Shulsinger Brothers’ Haggadah of Passover and the 1958 H. Levitt Publishing’s Haggadah for the American Family.

Greenberg’s jersey is composed of key selections from the seder, while his face and hands are made up of scenes showing Jewish life in Egyptian slavery. The Jewish people are made of our stories — we are our history — and so too is Hank Greenberg in this papercut.


I'm making prints of this papercut available for sale, with the kind permission of the gentleman who commissioned the original. The prints are 16x20 giclee prints on archival watercolor stock -- and they are spectacular. Please email me if you're interested in acquiring one.