Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Uncanny Ben Zoma

My latest commission is in the hands of its new owner, so I'm pleased to share some photos with you here on my blog. Click on the pic above to see it bigger.

"The Uncanny Ben Zoma" measures 36" x 24" and comprises four panels representing some lines  from Pirkei Avot:
Who is wise? One who learns from every person.
Who is strong? One who overcomes their nature.
Who is rich? One who is satisfied with what they have.
Who is honored? One who respects all of creation.
Each panel is based on one of the four fundamental forces and features members of the X-Men; you can click on the pix below to see blown-up details from each section.

At the far right, “Who is wise?” Within the lines of electromagnetic force are Professor Xavier and Jean Grey. Professor X was the founder of the X-Men and the first headmaster of the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters; Jean was a later leader of the school, and it was eventually rebuilt as the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. As a nod to magnetism, at the center of this panel is a portion of Magneto – though often an enemy of the X-Men, at times in Xavier’s absence he has stepped in to lead the school.


“Who is strong?” features Wolverine and Rogue, renowned for their physical strength and abilities, but both of whom must battle against their nature. The strong nuclear force is the foundation of this panel, fitting as mutants are often referred to as “children of the atom.” Wolverine is continually at odds with his bestial, animal nature; to be truly he must not lose sight of his humanity. Rogue has, at times, aligned herself with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and even as a member of the heroic X-Men she constantly struggles with her mutant power.

The third panel is “Who is rich?” and is built on the weak nuclear force, responsible for the hydrogen fusion at work in the center of our sun.  Angel is the heir and CEO of the multi-billion dollar Worthington Industries, and finds himself dealing with the question of what “rich” really means, and how he can use his wealth and his mutant ability for the betterment of all. Kitty originated as a younger, sunnier, member of the team; though faced with danger and death, she maintains her belief that the world is a wonderful place, if only we take the time to realize it.

The last panel is “Who is respected?” and features two key X-Men team leaders: Cyclops and Storm. They are respected for their abilities in leading a team, and in upholding the guiding principle of the X-Men: they stand up for all people, mutant or not. The panel structure is based on the force of gravity, which binds the planets in their orbits and all objects and people to one another.

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