Friday, October 30, 2015

Birkon Mikdash M'at: NFTY's Bencher

Just in time for Shabbat!

This groundbreaking publication fills a need for a handy source for Shabbat, weekday, and holiday blessings and songs. Created by NFTY, edited by Jeremy Gimbel, and spearheaded by Rabbi Dan Medwin, this app makes all the blessings and songs even more accessible and easy to use. For use in the home, the synagogue, in camps, at weddings, or wherever your travels take you.

And yeah, it features a bunch of my Paper Tefillah papercuts. I'm so proud to be a part of this!

Get it from the app store for your iPhone... or there's a print version too.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

There's No Place Like Camp

Honorees Jim Heeger and Daryl Messinger being presented with "There's No Place Like Camp" by URJ Camp Newman Development and Alumni Director Tracy Klapow

This past weekend URJ Camp Newman held a celebration to honor Jim Heeger and Daryl Messinger for their contributions to and support of the camp over the years – the theme of the evening was "There's No Place Like Camp."

This fabulous husband-and-wife duo have been involved with the URJ camps for many years – serving on the board, developing the long-term vision, and so much more.

I was so pleased the camp asked me to make a papercut for Jim and Daryl, since I'm at Camp Newman every summer and am proud to call it my second home — and I'm glad to share with you a photo of the presentation (above) and a cleaner image of the papercut (below), which I call "There's No Place Like Camp."

Click the leaf to see it bigger!

The papercut is based on the leaf shape used in another event element, but I've filled out the structure with a modified version of the Camp Newman logo. And within? Cut-up comics, of course, including an issue of Lumberjanes. You'll also see a bit of a map (to stress the importance of location), some camp photos, and a little bit of Hebrew text – words from "Mah Tovu," a blessing bestowed upon the Israelites for the beauty of their tents.

Monday, October 19, 2015

"Women of Valor" Opening Reception

A big THANKS to everyone who came out to the opening of "Women of Valor and Other Super Heroes" this weekend – I had a great time, and I think you did too! Here are some photos from the event, including all of the photo booth shenanigans.

(And if you want to swing by NCJW/LA to see the show – 543 Fairfax in Los Angeles – contact Carrie Jacoves at 323/852 8512 or to find out when you can visit.)

My muse/inspiration/bride and I, showing how it's done.

Really pleased with the vinyl wall graphics – they added some extra OOPMH to the exhibition.

Left: Hamsa Thwip. Right: This Is A Job For Us

Getting up close and personal with "Jacob and Esav"

Perhaps a fan of Marie Curie, on whose life "Radiant Energy" is based?

It's me, in action!

My girls manned the photo booth, where guests could step into a simulated papercut.

We premiered some rough footage of a documentary currently in production, titled "You did WHAT to my comics?!?"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kirby, Barda, and "Women of Valor"

Last week I stopped by the CSUN Art & Design Gallery to see a show titled "Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby" – and it was made of awesome, as expected. Any comic book fan is a fan of Jack Kirby – he created most of the Marvel super heroes, as well as an entirely new pantheon for DC called the New Gods. Stan Lee called him the King.

It was great to see original panels drawn and inked by Kirby, as well as the actual comics made from those panels... but also to see some of the groundbreaking collage work that Kirby created for a lot of the comics he drew. Masterful work.

And of course, it was fun to see some of the characters and comics I'm cutting up for my show (which opens this Sunday, October 18), including Big Barda – one of the New Gods. In a reversal of the stereotype associated with female characters at the time of her creation (in the mid 1970s), Barda is physically more powerful than her husband, Mister Miracle, and very protective of him. They're a cute couple.

Kirby artwork on the left; my papercut "Aleph Barda Gimmel" on the right.

I've got three pieces in my show based on the same stucture, which incorporates the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet: "Armor Bet Gimmel," "Aleph Barda Gimmel," and "Aleph Bet Gwen." It's the second of the three that features Barda (obviously) and emphasizes the Hebrew letter "bet." The first one features Armor (a young mutant hero in the X-Men), and the third features Gwen Stacy – known early on only as a romantic foil for Peter Parker (Spider-Man) but in recent years an alternate dimension version of the character has arisen as the very powerful (and popular) Spider-Gwen.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Coverage of "Women of Valor" in Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper

Nice coverage of "Women of Valor and Other Super Heroes" in today's Santa Clarita Valley Signal – and yes, it's the press release I wrote... but still, it's great to see it in print! Check it out here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Dream Lab Think Tank at AJU: Post #1

This is first in an occasional series of posts about the American Jewish University (AJU) Dream Lab – a think tank of artists and educators developing a programmatic vision for infusing the field of Jewish education with creativity through the arts.

I'm honored to have been chosen as one of the Fellows in the AJU Dream Lab program for the 2015-2016 academic year. I'll share more about the program and our plans in future posts, but for now I wanted to write up a few thoughts on this week's Torah portion, after a discussion we had at today's session, the first for our team.

Miriam Heller Stern, the Dean of Graduate Center for Education at AJU, led a discussion on a teaching from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, and technically a "lord" as well as a knight. (Knighted! A rabbi!) He wrote that the creation story consists of three parts:

1. God says, "let there be..."
2. And there was...
3. And it was good.

Miriam followed Sacks' idea that this is a reflection of the creative process: we intend to create, we create, and then we evaluate. But it occurred to me that it also served as a good analogy for the teaching process, which is (of course) part of what we're discussing in the Dream Lab. How so?

1. We need to get our students to accept the role of creator/artist – willing to undertake the effort to make something.

2. The students must engage with the materials and create something, in an authentic and sincere process.

3. The students must be able to acknowledge that they have made something of value – that they are, by definition, creators and artists, and that their work is meaningful.

This all goes to my point that everyone can be a creator – everyone can find the spark within them to make something, in whatever medium they like... but they often need to be first told that they can do this. They need to be told – and shown – that art isn't something other people do, but rather something we all can do. And that the work of our minds and hands is valuable and important, and we are worthy of the title creator/artist.

After all, we are told that the process of creation which began at the birth of the universe is an ongoing process even to this day, and that we must partner with God to continue it. On Shabbat we remember that we are partners with God in creation, and that we must work to make something valuable and important – that is our role, and our destiny.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hamsa Thwip!

This is "Hamsa Thwip," one of the many new works I'll be premiering in my next show, "Women of Valor and Other Super Heroes." Join me in Los Angeles for the opening reception on Sunday, October 18, 2015 from 3 to 5 pm. The show is being held at National Council of Jewish Women / Los Angeles, located at 543 North Fairfax Avenue, across from Fairfax High; a secure parking lot is accessible off of Clinton Avenue.