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Unorthodox Hands: The Art of Steve Cunningham

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Two-time International Boxing Federation Cruiserweight World Champion Steve “USS” Cunningham. Photo: premierboxingchampions.com

Two-time International Boxing Federation Cruiserweight World Champion Steve “USS” Cunningham’s skillset is undeniable; however, the Philly-born contenders’ hands are also skilled in the visual arts.

Cunningham, who began drawing and experimenting with various art mediums in high school, honed his passion for art (and boxing) in the Navy and began writing his USS Comics series in the summer of 2008.

“I was motivated to create a comic book [loosely] based on my experiences in the ring and in the Navy. Before long USS Comics was born.”

In an ever-growing stockpile of more than 200 sketches, Cunningham highlights boxing notables “Brother” Naazim Richardson and Amir Mansour, as well as a cast of shredded and elongated heroes, foes, and dynamic family members.

“First, I draw. Then, I digitize. I’m motivated to draw daily—even when I’m in training camp. Especially when I’m in training camp.”

Accented black and white sketches lead viewers to off the grid locations; vantage points from helicopters, rooftops, and secret science labs transport readers to a world filled with action and twists. Cunningham’s imagined world, much like his boxing world, is controlled and well-studied.

“I like Frank Miller’s style. I also like varying perspectives. I’m aware of the technical aspects of art like the “rule of thirds” and using positive and negative space. I’m inspired by art and the world around me.”

If life imitates art, this husband and father of four knows very well the positive and negative aspects associated with family dynamics. However, his commitment to his core values transcends his art and ring life. His way is one rooted in humanity and optimism: storied elements of sure-to be legends, superheroes, and those who communicate with their hands.

Steve Cunningham fights on March 17, the day that Mansour Saga, his web comic debuts.                   

By Van G. Garrett

Van G. Garrett is an award-winning author and artist. His updates can be found at: www.vanggarrettpoet.com.

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