"Noble Deeds" The Series

The original work is a Unique Encaustic Mixed Media Work, ranging from 4 to 8 feet The Art Of ©Ben Fink. Limited edition, signed and numbered prints are available in the sizes of 16 x 20 and 20 x 30" on your choice of canvas or watercolor paper. To place an order please email me, at benfinat@gmail.com.

"Noble Deeds" The Series

Project Overview: "Noble Deeds" - A Mythological Expedition into the Imperial Courts of the Americas.

The artist Ben Fink stands tall as the recipient of a prestigious $25,000 grant, marking a significant milestone in the creation of "Noble Deeds: The Portrait Series." This groundbreaking project, inspired by the rich history and impactful work of the Imperial Court System, aims to bring forth a collection of captivating portraits that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their remarkable contributions.

With this generous grant, Ben Fink's vision for "Noble Deeds" is set to flourish. The project will delve deep into the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals, capturing their resilience and the profound impact they have made within their communities. Fink, known for his masterful artistry and profound ability to convey emotions through portraiture, will lend his unique talent to immortalize the subjects and their stories.


The International Court System (ICS), also known as the International Imperial Court System, has a rich and impactful history within the LGBTQ+ community. Its roots can be traced back to San Francisco in 1965 when José Sarria, a trailblazer and the first openly gay candidate for public office in the United States, founded the organization. However, the journey towards its establishment began earlier with the formation of the Tavern Guild in 1962, a response to the frequent police harassment faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

Under the leadership of Sarria and in collaboration with a group of gay bar owners, the Tavern Guild initiated the Beaux Arts Costume Ball in 1963, marking San Francisco's first grand public drag ball. This groundbreaking event became a tradition, with Sarria assuming the title of Queen of the Ball and later proclaiming himself as Empress. This pivotal moment laid the foundation for the development of the court system that we know today.

As of 2022, the ICS has flourished into a network of more than 70 individual charitable nonprofit organizations across North America, with the Imperial Council of San Francisco recognized as the esteemed "Mother Court." Each court or chapter within the system actively engages in fundraising activities throughout the year, channeling their efforts towards supporting LGBTQ+ causes and other marginalized communities. Their most significant and highly anticipated events are the annual Coronation Balls, where two monarchs are ceremoniously crowned. These monarchs dedicate a year to organizing charity events, often featuring talented drag performers.

The courts within the Imperial Court System adopt various titles to reflect their geographical territories and unique characteristics. While most courts identify as empires, some are designated as baronies or ducal courts, particularly when their jurisdiction overlaps with an existing court, such as the Ducal Court of San Francisco.

Beyond its grand spectacles and regal pageantry, the Imperial Court System has played a transformative role in advancing LGBTQ+ rights and supporting a multitude of initiatives. Over the years, the organization has championed significant causes, including the commemoration of Harvey Milk through the issuance of a postage stamp and the naming of the U.S.N.S. Harvey Milk Navy Ship. They have also established college funds specifically for LGBTQ+ communities, contributed to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, supported programs like Toys for Tots, fought for the legalization of gay marriage, and advocated for transgender rights.

Through their tireless efforts and unwavering dedication, the Imperial Court System has become an enduring symbol of empowerment and unity within the LGBTQ+ community. Their impact reaches far beyond the confines of their courts, positively influencing the lives of countless individuals and fostering a more inclusive and accepting society.

Project Focus:

"Noble Deeds," a portrait series, is an artistic and philanthropic endeavor that started five years ago to illuminate the Imperial Court System. The project presents the vibrant personalities of the Emperor, Empress, and court members elected at each of the 70 annual coronations across Canada and Mexico while emphasizing the organization's influence on various social causes.

"Noble Deeds" intertwines photography, digital and physical painting, and a short documentary to craft a visual narrative that shifts from reality to fantasy and mythology. In doing so, the project doesn't merely document the work of the Imperial Court System but also encapsulates the values of acceptance, love, and familial bonds that the organization epitomizes.

Through the construction of a mythological narrative, "Noble Deeds" aims to alter perceptions and lay the groundwork for a future where everyone can find a sense of belonging, irrespective of their disparities. This artistic vision represents the transformative power of storytelling and the Imperial Court System's ongoing mission to foster a more inclusive and accepting world.

In a distinctive twist, "Noble Deeds" integrates elements of fictional writing to augment the visual narrative and deepen the mythology surrounding the Imperial Court System. The artist, a proficient storyteller, crafts backstories for a number of the portraits, infusing the images with more depth and context. These stories, while maintaining the core of each individual's real-life experiences and contributions, further engage the audience in the fantasy world constructed by the project.

The blend of reality and fiction in "Noble Deeds" cultivates an engaging experience that invites viewers into a world of wonder and imagination. This innovative approach underscores the transformative power of art and storytelling, enabling the project to resonate with a broader audience. By piquing the viewers' curiosity and igniting their imaginative interpretations, "Noble Deeds" fosters a deeper connection to the subjects and their journey. It simultaneously raises awareness and appreciation for the Imperial Court System and its noble deeds.

As reality and fantasy intertwine in the hands of the artist, the resulting imagery and narratives often hold elements of truth, which may be vastly amplified to boost the overall impact. This creative flexibility enhances the mythological narrative further, encouraging viewers to join a collective exploration of identity, acceptance, and the transformative potential of art.

"Noble Deeds" continues to grow, and the amalgamation of photography, painting, documentary, and fictional writing creates a multi-faceted project that pushes the boundaries of conventional storytelling. This fusion of art forms, guided by the artist's unique vision, invites viewers to embark on a journey where fact and fiction merge, ultimately inspiring and empowering individuals from various backgrounds to embrace their exceptional stories and join the ongoing pursuit of a more inclusive and accepting world.