The Hand


-The Hand-
-Matthew T Ross-

24 by 18 limited edition signed gallery canvas print 1 of 5 Sold
24 by 18 limited edition signed gallery canvas print 2 of 5 Sold


The hand contains one of the densest concentrations of touch receptors in the whole body. The receptors respond to the pull, stretch, and vibration of the skin when it comes into contact with an object. The greater the density of receptors the more detail we can discern, from the texture to the shape of the object. We feel the physicality of the world around us through our touch receptors. We can see an object, but to truly appreciate its presence in the universe, we have to be able to push against it and sense it pushing back.




Our hands feel and manipulate the world around us. They've created and wielded weapons, gripped paintbrushes, instruments, and the hands of fellow humans. Through our hands we have modified our world into the image we desire. While our brains might be the most complicated structure in the known universe, our hands are the most powerful.

The Hand is a work of digital art created as part of my series on anatomy. The image is based on my own left hand. The style of the series is meant to change in appearance depending on the viewer's perspective. When standing away from the artwork, the "cells" of the hand blend together creating a cohesive image, but as you approach it, the individual curves and circles that make up the hand become more apparent. To understand something, you must zoom in and explore the individual units that make it up before you can understand how those units coalesce into some greater whole.


The cell was discovered in 1665, however it wasn't until 1839 that cell theory stated that all living organisms are made up of individual units. This truth has been at odds with our sense of identity ever since. We think of ourselves as a single whole, however, our hands along with the rest of our body is made of individual cells. Those cells function both independently and as a group. Of course, for those cells to stay alive they depend on an extremely complicated series of interactions with the many cells around them.










No single cell knows of its own existence and yet together the cells in my hand created this image.

The colors are sampled from images of the "pillars of creation" taken by the Hubble telescope. From the microscope to the telescope lies awe, beauty and terror at the tiny bits that make up ourselves and the grandness of the universe those bits inhabit. It is up to the artist as much as it is to the scientist to explore our place among this continuum. As we have explored this continuum it has only grown wider as a result of that exploration, but we have always been the better for it.



Below you will find a video showing a time-lapse of the drawing:


Image Information:
Number of strokes: ~11,350 strokes make up the hand itself
Image Medium: Vector
Image source: Photo of my left hand
Colors sampled from: "Pillars of Creation" photographed by the Hubble telescope


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