Here is another tribute portrait for the recently passed, this time of “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali. Actually he passed away late last year, but it’s like now I’m finally posting this on the board. I had started on it last year, but I wasn’t happy with how it was coming out so I had stashed it away out of my sight for some time until my brain could clear up. Then one day I came across the Time Special Edition magazine at WalMart with its feature on you guessed it, the Greatest. I flipped through the pages after pages of photos until I got to the end that shows the older Ali with his lips tightened and holding his fists up as if ready to punch whoever is standing in front of him. Even in his later years struggling with Parkinsons he hasn’t lost his spirit that made him famous, like he is ready to fight to the end and not let the disease or age bring him down. I liked that about the image, and seeing how there are countless portraits showing him in his fresh youthful days, I thought, why not portray him as older but ever so tough, and this was the result. I painted mostly with ink on a scrap piece of wood that was actually a cabinet door I had dug out of a trash can from a random house on trash day. Yeah I’m so cheap nowadays I don’t buy the fancy canvas or wood panel, I look for used scrap wood that’s still durable. I then roughed out the image with sand paper and added splotches of watered down red and blue acrylic to represent the bruises that has been part of his life. It is as if he is staring down at death in its eye and goading it to take him on, he’s not going to be taken down without a good fight.
Rest In Peace, oh The Greatest.