ali 007


Today’s art is a digital painting based on the iconic photo by Neil Leifer of Muhammed Ali standing, victorious, over a vanquished Sonny Listen after the knockout punch that ended their second fight in 1965.  Rather than simply running the photo through a filter, this digital painting was drawn and painted from scratch, using the photo as its inspiration.

We lost Ali Friday night, and it was no surprise. He had been fighting the effects of Parkinson’s Syndrome–and handling it with grace and dignity–for well over thirty years. Once his diagnosis became public, he dedicated his efforts to raising awareness of Parkinson’s and raising funds for research and treatment centers.

This was after he rose to fame as one of the greatest boxers of all time, a man who fought for his convictions to not participate in the war in Vietnam, a civil rights icon and a hero to millions. The cruelty of this disease that eventually robbed the greatest talker of the 20th century of his voice is something our culture has been mourning since in the mid-1980s. I grew up watching Ali fight, and talk, and it’s hard to convey to people who were not around then how important it was to the evolution of this nation to have a black man who millions of white kids considered to be a hero.

I was one of those white kids, and I had to do something to pay tribute to one of my heroes. Click the image to enlarge.