Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Schepping nachas





I created the “Superman Samson” papercut in tribute to “Superman Sam” Sommer, and tonight at the 125th Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), it was presented to Sam's parents: Rabbi Michael and Rabbi Phyllis Sommer.

I am so proud to have been able to be a part of this incredible effort, raising money for pediatric cancer research. The organizers (Rabbi Rebecca Schorr notably among them) kept adjusting the goal upward as it was met and exceeded throughout the campaign, and the total is now more than $570,000 (and still going up!)


Sam Sommer succumbed to acute myelogenous leukemia earlier this year, and his parents and friends organized a fundraiser through St. Baldrick's to support pediatric cancer research. Originally designed around 36 rabbis who would shave their heads to raise money for the cause, the number of shavees wound up more than double that number, with countless volunteers and supporters.

The papercut I created to support the cause is a mix of sadness and joy, of challenge and triumph – fitting for Samson's story, and Sam's as well. It's made with cut-up Superman comics, including the "World Without a Superman" trade paperback, and includes a speech bubble which reads, “Those are lessons I'll never forget” — it's a reference to the lessons we take from Sam's life, from this event, and from our determination to fight the good fight.

How can you get involved? Give. And for those who give $360 or more in new donations at this special "Art for a Cause" page, you'll receive a limited edition signed and numbered giclée print of "Superman Samson." It measures 14" x 11" (same size as the original), and will only be available for a limited time.

A new direction for Nice Jewish Artist

Check out the new direction I'm heading in – I'm done cutting paper, but still using a knife.

UPDATE

April Fool's.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Superman Samson" –
supporting "Shave for the Brave"


I created the “Superman Samson” papercut in tribute to “Superman Sam” Sommer.

Sam succumbed to acute myelogenous leukemia earlier this year, and his parents and friends have organized a fundraiser through St. Baldrick's to support cancer research. Originally designed around 36 rabbis who would shave their heads to raise money for the cause, the number of shavees is now more than double that number, with countless volunteers and supporters.

The papercut I created to support the cause is a mix of sadness and joy, of challenge and triumph – fitting for Samson's story, and Sam's as well. It's made with cut-up Superman comics, including the "World Without a Superman" trade paperback, and includes a speech bubble which reads, “Those are lessons I'll never forget” — it's a reference to the lessons we take from Sam's life, from this event, and from our determination to fight the good fight.

How can you get involved? Give. And for those who give $360 or more in new donations at this special "Art for a Cause" page, you'll receive a limited edition signed and numbered giclée print of "Superman Samson." It measures 14" x 11" (same size as the original), and will only be available for a limited time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Super Heroes, Holy Land:
"Altar Flame" and "Altar Smoke"

These are two of the pieces in my current show, "Super Heroes, Holy Land!" now showing at UCLA Hillel's Dortort Gallery in Los Angeles – on the left is "Altar Flame" and on the right, "Altar Smoke." The originals each measure 24" x 36", though 20" x 30" prints are available in my online store.

Details on each are below – if you want to see them in person, check out the show: open through April 21 (extended!) at UCLA Hillel's Dortort Gallery in Los Angeles, at 574 Hilgard Avenue; call 310-208-3081 for hours or click here for details.

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Altar Flame
24" x 36"
Mixed media
2013

The eternal flame on the altar was a symbol of God’s continuing presence with the Jewish people, and people from across the land would journey to Jerusalem during the three festivals — as these sacrifices could only be fulfilled in this one spot. The presence of this flame and the sacrifices that were made on the altar were a very physical process that we have since replaced with the work of our minds and the recitation of words, hence the inclusion of parts of the Life Science Library volume titled, The Mind.
Includes:
  • 300 #2 (Jun 1998)
  • 5 Days to Die #2 and #5 (Sep 2010)
  • Automatic Kafka #2 (Oct 2002) and #3 (Nov 2002)
  • Avengers vs. X-Men #1 (Jun 2012)
  • The Infinite Horizon #6 (Nov 2011)
  • Paradise X #8 (Feb 2003)
  • Ten Grand #3 (Jul 2013)
  • Wonder Woman #44 (Jul 1990)
  • X-Infernus #1 (Feb 2009)
  • X-Men #199 (Nov 1985) 
  • Life Science Library: The Mind. Ed. by John Rowan Wilson. Time-Life Books, Virginia (1980).

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Altar Smoke
24" x 36"
Mixed media
2013

The smoke rising from the altar at the Temple’s Holy of Holies was the physical remnant of communicating with God in ancient times – it was evidence that we had engaged with the Eternal. The smoke would bring sweet smells up to the very anthropomorphized God that could only be addressed in this way, in this particular spot. The smoke represents the direct line of communication with God; Jerusalem is still considered the place with that direct connection to God.
Includes:
  • Astonishing X-Men #26 (Oct 2008)
  • Automatic Kafka #1 (Sep 2002) and #4 (Dec 2002)
  • Batman: The Black Glove (2008)
  • The Infinite Horizon #4 (Apr 2009) and #6 (Nov 2011)
  • Judenhass (2008)
  • Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1 (Feb 2009)
  • The Mighty Thor #399 (Jan 1989)
  • The New Mutants #27 (May 1985)
  • ROM #31 (Jun 1982)
  • Superman #77 (Mar 1993) and #18 (May 2013)
  • X-Men Legacy #246 (May 2011) 
  • The World of Ancient Israel. David Meilsheim. Tudor Publishing Company, New York (1973).

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Journey of the Sun

This is the first new papercut I've completed on my new studio table: "The Journey of the Sun." It borrows heavily from Egyptian iconography, showing  the Sun god Ra (also known as Khepri, and often represented by a scarab beetle) rolling the sun across the sky, transforming bodies and souls.

It includes cut-up comics featuring Blue Beetle (of course), as well as some pieces out of an old dictionary and an old encyclopedia volume.

I made "The Journey of the Sun" for this weekend's annual fundraising gala at Albert Einstein Academy, a local charter school. As I understand you can't bid on it online; only gala attendees can bid. But if you're a serious bidder, contact me via email... maybe we can make something happen.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Moving into my new studio:
building my new table

I've just moved into a new home studio space, and I needed a new, bigger table to work on new, bigger papercuts. Luckily, I know someone who is a talented craftsman and – more importantly – was willing to help me make a table from scratch.

Seriously – we bought lumber and everything.


This was a first for me – I cut paper, but usually not wood. Alan helped me plan what the table would look like based on what I needed it to do – and we started by buying a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood, oak  for the edges, and all sorts of other stuff. He, of course, had all the tools we'd need.


Like this power saw. Yeah, he did a lot of the work – but showed me how to use some great tools, and taught me a lot about quality woodworking. Alan? Definition of the master woodworking perfectionist – no detail too small to be done exactly right. Once we had the board the right size, we added oak edges and drilled for the legs.






In this photo of the underside of the table you can see the pocket holes Alan made with a big, heavy machine made specifically for the purpose – that's how we attached the edges without having any holes in the exterior; it's all hidden underneath.



I'm drilling holes for the legs, which are made to adjust from about 30" to 40" – allowing my plenty of flexibility as I determine the height at which I want to work... and allowing me to change my mind if I wish. Perhaps I'll like cutting at one height, and assembling backgrounds at another... who knows?

The top of the table is a laminate which we glued and rolled on – the trickiest part of the process. Alan and I were glad we got the top on with no bubbles, no bumps, no problems at all. I won't be cutting on the surface – that's what cutting matts are for – but it's a great durable white surface that's easy to clean.



The finished table is 3' x 6', and it looks great in my new studio.

Thanks to Alan, I couldn't be happier with my new table (and my new space) – now I've just got to get the last of my shelving in, put up some track lights, and it'll be the perfect studio.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Super Heroes, Holy Land:
"Fantastic City"

I cut this papercut as a navigable map of the Old City of Jerusalem showing its four quarters and major thoroughfares. My favorite route to the Wall is on here (from the Jaffa Gate, through the Armenian Quarter), and I'm sure you'll find your way as well.

Each of the quarters is represented by a member of the Fantastic Four: The Thing for the Jewish Quarter, Mr. Fantastic for the Christian, the Invisible Woman for the Armenian, and the Human Torch for the Muslim. The Temple Mount is backed with academic texts on these religious traditions.

There are pieces of Israeli comics in it as well – including a bit with the Hebrew for "amen" at the site of the Western Wall.

This papercut includes:

Fantastic Four #17 [trade book] (Aug 1963), #248 (Nov 1982), Annual #18 (1984), #265 (Apr 1984), #272 (Nov 1984), #296 (Nov 1986), #297 (Dec 1986), #300 (Mar 1987), #314 (May 1988), #354 (Jul 1991), #410 (Mar 1996), #542 (Jan 2007)
Fantastic Four: Flesh and Stone (2001)
Fantastic Four 2099 #6 (Jun 1990)
The Last Fantastic Four Story #1 (Oct 2007)
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #34 (May 2008)
Silent War #1 (Mar 2007)
The Thing #22 (Apr 1985)

Ultimate Fantastic Four #4 (May 2004), #10 (Oct 2004), #42 (Jul 2007)
Life World Library: Israel. Time Incorporated, New York (1965).
Sacred Books of the World. A.C. Bouquet. Penguin Books, London (1954).
"Fantastic City" is in my current show in Los Angeles, "Super Heroes, Holy Land" – in which all of the papercuts are inspired by my recent family trip to Israel. This one is already sold, but there are still pieces available for purchase.