The Art of Imagination

I so love it when an idea is plopped in my lap. Sunday I was looking through the newspaper, and there was a wonderful article about James C. Christensen. I thought, hey, he'd be great to write about.

In my last blog, I wrote about illustrators -- I should probably have mentioned him, but only because he has books in print with his art work in them.

This man really stands on his own.

What I love about his work is how it grabs at the imagination. It pulls you into his world, and makes you wonder why he drew it like that, or why he added that -- what is he trying to tell me? I like the creativity of his characters, the colors, the animals, the total imagination that takes place. sigh. I would love to live in his world.

What I remember most about him are two things. The first one is back several years ago when we used to watch TV once in a while, and were watching Extreme Home Makeover. There was a family in Bountiful that had a young daughter (among others). While they were redoing her bedroom, they were able to get (at least this is my memory -- I can't seem to find anything on the Extreme Makeover site to verify this, so don't get too upset anyone...) Mr. Christensen to do a mural on the wall for her of fairies, since she was really into them. It was an amazing mural, a one of a kind piece of art that I hope that girl cherished. It would have been something any of us as a young girl would have loved. The way he does fairies are just dreamy and lovely and -- well, I just loved it.

Unfortunately the other thing I remember about him (vaguely after someone reminded me) was a controversy over his last book which had a painting of mermaids and how they were depicted. After being reminded of this, I now remember reading about how a library was being asked to take the book of it's shelves because the art work was inappropriate. I remember debating within myself, and I guess I figured it was probably not something I'd want my children looking at, but I also put it out of my mind. I have a hard time with art that displays the human body without clothing, even if it's supposed to be 'reality'. I like Disney's version of the mermaid better...but that's a whole different subject. I wasn't part of the debate, and it was soon banished to the inconsequential lands of banalities.

If you aren't familiar with his work, those shown here are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. These were the paintings displayed in the newspaper, but if you look him up here, you can see the full range of his talent and abilities. He truly is amazing.

There's no end to the places the imagination can take us.

Return to the Neighborhood.


I love his artwork!

PS - come to my blog . . . you won the contest!
Cathy Witbeck said…
Christensen was one of my Profs at BYU when I was an art major. One of the things I remember the most is the time that he took my brush and grabbed some paint and said, "Don't you see the color reflected from the girl's clothing in her face?" And then he splashed purple and red and all these colors all over. I thought, what the heck, it's wrecked now, and I just let go. It turned out to be one of my best paintings ever. He showed me how to see colors in places I'd never looked before and he showed me how to loosen up just paint. It was thrilling. He's not just an awesome painter, he's a great teacher.
G. Parker said…
Cool...I would have loved to study under him!! I'm jealous...

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