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James C. Christensen

The Enoch Altarpiece

Each panel measures 29x17.5 inches


Artist Statement

I like to make things up. I like to tell stories. I like to take ideas and words and play with them. I like to communicate. That’s why I paint. For me, art is about communication. And the joy of art is that it doesn’t have to communicate just one message or idea. If we bring our own life experiences to a work of art, as a creator or as a viewer, we can find meanings that connect us both. I know that I have always had the desire to create things. A wise person has said that “talent” is an ability that one has and develops. But to have a “gift” is to share ones talents and bless others. I strive to be “gifted” more than “talented.”

The inspiration for my work can come from any direction. A clever play on words, a comment made in Church, an interesting photograph, a dream (seldom) or a conversation with a friend (often) can all present themselves as points of departure for paintings. Though I want all of my work to communicate in some way, the best pieces, I believe, not only engage and amuse the viewer, but also communicate an inspirational message or feeling on some level. I wish I could make that happen every time I create a new work, but I do not seem to be able to conjure up a spiritual masterpiece on demand. If the idea hits me, I can develop it into something genuine and touching and meaningful. But if I try to force the spirit into the work, it fails every time.

So I draw ideas and characters into my sketchbooks, and hope that occasionally the spirit will guide me in a direction that will be of value to myself and others who may see the work. If I try to do what is right, and be open and eligible for inspiration, I know that it can happen. Then my “gift” counts.