Ahed Tamimi is a self-proclaimed Palestinian activist and trained provocateur whose claim to fame was slapping and kicking an IDF soldier and subsequently serving an 8-month jail sentence in Israel, which she capitalized on. Before her arrest and her 15 minutes, she participated in many controversial, staged events which demonized Israeli soldiers, but her family earned a reputation for participating in real acts of terrorism, too. Her cousin, Ahlam Tamimi, was responsibile for the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria suicide bombing in Jerusalem where 15 people, including seven children and one pregnant woman, were murdered, and about 130 people were injured, with one young mother being permanently incapacitated.
Ahed’s efforts mainly surround promoting the view that the Israeli community in the Middle East as well as Israel, the Jewish State itself, should be purged from existence. She says, “Our goal is not only to remove the settlement in Nabi Saleh, our goal is to remove the occupation, all of it, the large settlement, which is Israel.” Her self-inflicting propaganda has garnered sympathy from all over the globe. She was featured in Arabian Vogue, a very prestigious opportunity most professional models never achieve. According to Arabian news, for her troubles she was even rewarded a Mercedes GLA 2019 by Daimler-Benz, which had links to the Nazi Regime.
Dismantling the “large settlement” of the Jewish State would ultimately entail mass-genocide–genocide which has already actually been attempted in the Holocaust, in 1947 following a two-state peace solution proposed by the UN which Israel accepted and Arab States and Palestinian Leaders rejected, and in 1948 when Israel was recognized as a state and was invaded by seven Arab armies the next day. Israel’s Jewish history stems back much farther than that, though–like when Hadrian of the Roman Empire renamed the area, including Judea, “Syria-Plestina” in the year 135 AD despite it having been home to Jews for nearly 1500 years since 13th century BC.
Nowadays, Israel regularly fends off terrorism orchestrated by the Hamas, a democratically elected government in Gaza. What made the ancient conflict in the Middle East so trendy on social media lately, in fact, were so-called “peaceful protests” at the border of Israel and Gaza, in which IDF military response was provoked by Palestinians who would encroach upon or damage the security fence and even use one another as human shields in order to gain access to the Israeli civilians on the other side. In addition to stressing the border itself, Palestinians launched hundreds of rockets, mortars, and incendiary devices, which struck public Israeli spaces such as kindergartens and parking lots, and burned down over 8,000 acres of Israeli land. Despite all of this, the UN condemns Israeli for being apartheid.
Of course, Ahed would wholeheartedly agree with all of these consequences. She says, “Whether it is stabbings or martyrdom operations or throwing stones, everyone must do his part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine.” Ahed directly advocates for extremism, violence, and terrorism to accomplish the goal she was brought up with. Vogue, by extension, does as well for commending her. To Ahed, the recent murder of Israelis Kim Yehezkel, a mother of one, Ziv Hajbi, a father of three, and Ari Fuld, a father of 4, whose murderer 17 year old Palestinian Khalil Jabarin will be rewarded more than $1.7 million through a monthly salary from the Palestinian Authority, are noble, progressive acts.
For her extremism and view that Jews and the Jewish State should be annihilated, she is being hailed as a humanitarian icon and a hero. That’s the end of the story, I suppose.
You may be wondering at this point why I plotted my image, on the left, against hers, on the right. To me, the ugly face of propaganda, corruption and cognitive dissonance are no longer shocking. I see it everywhere all the time, in my own country, in the media, and all over the world. People who do the worst are rewarded for doing the best. Even in Pride NYC, for example, of all forums, there was no shortage of thinly-veiled antisemitism and general prejudice operating under the guise of human rights activism. On Facebook, too, Holocaust-denial pages and comments are protected by so-called “Community Standards”, and so is other highly questionable dialogue.
However, this hits close to home. I am an editorial model and despite my unique look have faced significant impediments of prejudice in the modeling industry. Namely, my Jewish lineage isn’t considered “ethnic enough” in the editorial setting in order to be considered relevant to today’s politics. My red mane, despite roaring in a crowd of people who are completely ordinary in NY, is largely ignored. If your first thought was, “What are you talking about? You’re white. You can’t face discrimination,” or, “Judaism is just a religion, not a race,” then congratulations: you are the problem and a prime example of the cognitive dissonance I have already mentioned. I can list the names of professionals in the industry who are of a higher authority level and have tried to censor me and deny me work opportunities.
So, when I see this 17-year-old girl who has a markedly weaker editorial look than myself, whose hair is shorter, whose hair is less red, who never once worked as a model and has only used her vessel to incite hatred, violence and confusion in this world, get featured on Vogue specifically because she slapped a Jew…it tends to corroborate my suspicions about the modeling industry itself and the world. Her image, beside mine, is the sheer and utter embodiment of arrogance, entitlement and sadism, all with a smug, antisemitic face which is telltale, and the likes of which we have seen so many times before.
She is an egregious pathological liar, a bully, and a prospective terrorist who will exploit her youth to further maim the global view of an oppressed people and the sanctity of the tiny, infinitesimal yet technologically peerless, charitable, and diverse fragment of the Middle East designated as their safe-haven specifically in light of the world’s failure to treat them like humans. Beside my photo, which was taken by a German photographer who was downright enthralled with my essence, and rightfully so, she looks like a true swine. I couldn’t care less if it sounds vain at this point.
But the true difference between us is hardly that she is less qualified as a model. The true difference is simple: as a Jew, I don’t use violence to express my views. I use my mind and I won’t be rewarded for it–at least not by Vogue.
Thomas B. Howard
Danny, a model, was excited to have his portrait done to promote his underwear brand. It took a number of months and upon showing him the final result he shared it on his Facebook and Instagram pages on 01/12/16. I consider it an accomplishment due to the painstaking, traditional execution of the drawing itself.
As Pride Month (June) came to a close and July, a month commemorating Freedom, began, I finished my portrait of Bryan Hawn on 07/01/16, which he graciously shared on his Facebook and Instagram pages. I was the first to do this, and other artists-namely digital- have followed the precedent.
Here was his comment:
“Thank you Thomas B. Howard for sharing your amazing talent. You have a beautiful gift, and I am honored that you would use me as a subject for your work. You are just awesome!”
The moment the drawing depicts is from a music video of his for Sia’s “Bird Set Free”, when he scaled a 2 mile glacier to sing among the penguins. He then rock-climbed down a 100 ft cliff without any safety gear to commiserate with the elephant seals and discuss the importance of being true to oneself, despite some nay-saying.
I put time aside and cumulatively did that on top of everything else. It was slow and he responded to my updates with words of encouragement. The time it takes to work like this, while staying true to my oath, is overwhelming, but I feel there was no better time to draw him and finish drawing him than on the cusp of two times when people celebrate and declare who they are.
This section is intended just to make mention of my investment in music. I’m no concert pianist (haven’t performed in concert…yet–wink wink) but I’ve taken it seriously enough to teach myself taxing classical compositions since I was 14.
…Hey! I can play and sing like a boss.
(More playing clips in above video at 9:46)
(More singing clips in above video at 8:06)
(Me being sassy for 4 minutes in above video at 12:25)
My men of choice are Schubert, Chopins, Beethoven (typical, I know), Gounod, and Bach. I hope to get Liszt under my belt as well…sometime when I have the time.
My women of choice (yes) are Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga…you know.
That aside…I compose too. I actually began composing before I even knew about notes, which sounds absurd, but somehow it worked to great effect. Now I write in grand staff like any other ‘music-person’.
So, this post will be a mixing bowl of some clips, classical alongside original. These will be dated, fragmented, and quirky, but hey– it’s still something before I go for studio recordings. (Stay tuned for that…) Further updates will be posted here.
Wanderer Fantasie – 1st Movement (Errors abound)
Wanderer Fantasie – 2nd Movement (Whoop, more errors)
There are other clips floating about, some of which on my Instagram page. The rest (Waterfall Etude, Moonlight Sonata) is in my head I’m afraid… I’ll have to film and get more clips up.
Instagram Singing Clips:
Keep an eye out for updates of all sorts.
See you around,
That’s my pensive author face because I’m so deep.
Anyway, More About That
Sure, vacillating between the visual art, illustration, architecture, music and literary industries like some sort of deranged omnisexual chameleon becomes hectic…
(you get the point)
…but I’ve committed to writing a novel anyway. Hundreds of thousands of words of preparation went into the foundation of the story, and finally I’ve reached the stage where I am systematically writing each chapter, a current sum of 65,000 words by the 14th. Whoop.
It is a science-fiction with strong political undertones…and other things as well, to be specific.
In this section, I will post excerpts and updates regarding the book as I create it! If you have questions about the characters, the story, and anything else related to this, feel free to comment here or reach out on social media and I will answer to the best of my ability.
We follow Daniel, a little boy residing in a byzantine place, whose curiosity begins to get the best of him as his cloaked guardians course through the halls of his dwelling like the peculiar blood coursing through his veins.
Without further ado, here we have some very small, random excerpts for your palette:
Hope you enjoyed the little taste. So much was censored– wow, enticing.
I can’t share that many details (or even go as far as to reveal a detailed summary!) but I’ll be sharing more here.
Update as of 7/22/16:
I have decided to read more snippets from the book! Enjoy if you hadn’t seen this already.
See you around,
© Copyright 2016 Thomas B. Howard. All rights reserved.
For NYFW, on Sept. 10th, I walked for Couture Modeling Agency in collaboration with Marvelous Life Entertainment, promoting the work of 2 designers and raising breast cancer awareness.
I participated in a runway competition preceding NYFW and was a finalist.
From Oct. 1st-31st, my 2015 abstract piece “Shalt Not Lie” were in Urban Riche Gallery’s “Abstraction” show as a finalist. This was a nice little drum roll for a new abstraction figure drawing I released shortly after, “From Obscurity ll”..
“Black and White”
“Danny” and “Mansion” were featured by Colors of Humanity Art Gallery in their “Black and White” exhibition. Promo launched on July 1st.
International Contemporary Artists
Two pieces of mine, “Carcass” and “Friend of Chief” have been featured in “International Contemporary Artists”, vol. XI!
From June 3rd – July 16th, one piece of mine, “Carcass”, was displayed in Converge Gallery of PA for an exhibition featuring modern portraiture.
“Black and White”
For the month of April, my piece, “Mansion”, was featured in Urban Riche Gallery’s “Black and White” exhibition as a finalist.
From Feb 1st – 29th, my work was displayed in Urban Riche Gallery’s “Portrait” exhibition, and was chosen for Featured Artist on a dedicated page with a Q&A style interview. For this competition, 86 entries were reviewed, with 4 Featured Artists chosen.
Art Inter/National – Here and Abroad
From Jan 19th to March 4th, my pieces “Afterward” and “Carcass” were displayed at Boxheart Gallery’s “Art Inter/National – Here and Abroad” exhibition, in Pittsburgh, PA.
Photos of the Exhibit:
Art Nation Basel
Three gentlemen of mine, “Petite”, “Kingdom”, and “Freedom” were displayed for the month of December!
Artist Pop Up show in NYC
From September 24th – 27th, four of my pieces, “Friend of Chief”, “Carcass”, “Soft”, and “Cayouette” were displayed in SoHo. Sept 24th was the reception. Two enlarged prints were also displayed.
Rochester Museum of Fine Arts 2015 Biennial
From June 6th to September 26th, a print of my piece, “Beach House” was displayed with 17 others in the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts, selected from over 300 global entries.
In conversation with the Best in Show Juror, Danielle Krysa, she said that she loved the piece and picked it as Runner Up.
Amsterdam Whitney Gallery “Mid Summer Night’s Dream” Exhibition
From July 19th – August 4th, seven of my pieces, “Friend of Chief”, “Petite”, “Freedom”, “Contemporary Demonstration ll”, “Contemporary Demonstration I”, “From Obscurity”, and “Beach House”, were displayed at Amsterdam Whitney Fine Arts in NYC. June 25th was the ceremony.
Chait Galleries Downtown “Faces of Intensity” 2015 Exhibition
Prints of my portrait, “Friend of Chief”, were displayed in IA.
Art Expo NY
Four of my pieces, “Beach House”, “Canvas”, “Carcass”, and “Deluxe Cape”, were displayed in the massive Pier 94 show from April 23rd – 26th for the 2015 Art Expo NY Fair.
World Wide LA Fair
Three of my pieces, “Freedom”, “Soft”, and “Beach House”, were displayed in the Los Angeles World Wide Fair during the month of October.
Three of my pieces, “Beach House”, “Contemporary Demonstration I”, and “Contemporary Demonstration II”, were displayed in the Altman building from May 7th – 11th for the 2014 NYC Select Fair.
4 North Main Gallery Solo Exhibition
Multiple pieces of mine were displayed in Southampton for the month of October in an intimate solo show.
Soon, I’ll be performing on a PBS show, “Celebration of Music”. To STAY UPDATED with regards to this performance, please, use THIS link:
More coming up soon! Stay in touch.