Title: Ali: Sting Like A Bee | Limited Edition 25
The painting of Muhammad Ali attempts to capture the intensity and ferocity of Ali delivering a devastating blow at Sonny Liston. I utilized a high black contrast underpainting and then applied color to preserve the highlights and tone of this classic scene. The two fighters are emphasized in different color tone with Ali in a lighter hue of pink and green while Liston is in the more somber tones of eventual defeat.
Muhammad Ali was the first black athlete to transcend the sport of boxing to become a cultural icon with his showmanship and activism unmatched by any athlete since. Ali was a gifted fighter with a sharp wit that provoked fighters and the societal perceptions of blacks during the late 60’s and 70’s. Ali was involved with many classic boxing matches and was eventually a three time Heavyweight Champion with a record of 61 wins- 35 by knockout- and only 5 defeats.
Ali was also an innovator within the sport. He developed the “Ali shuffle” that displayed his dexterity while making him an elusive target. He also possessed a snapping jab that held aggressive fighters at bay while he rested or set-up his opponent as jabs took their toll over the course of the fight. He was a tactician and strategist as exemplified by the “rope-a-dope” strategy against George Foreman in the fight oft referred as “The Rumble in the Jungle”. Despite his controversial remarks, Ali was always in control of the media- seemingly one step ahead about self-promotion that is almost taken for granted today. Many of his quotes are well remembered such as:
» "The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life."
» "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
» "Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."
» "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."
» “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Self description
To best understand Muhammad Ali is to understand the context of his era. There is an excellent DVD documentary that can be rented on his fight with George Foreman promoted as the “The Rumble in the Jungle” titled “When We Were Kings”- highly recommend.
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