Kings, queens, knaves and clowns... your favorite Shakespearean characters come to life. The Bard and more than 50 of his dramatis personae take a bow in this remarkable tribute to Shakespeare's entire canon 38 plays, including the obscure Two Noble Kinsmen. With the Old Globe Theatre as backdrop, James assembles an eclectic cast of fictional characters and actors in rehearsal mingling with a few thespians who never tread the boards (but might have flittered above them). You'll find Romeo proffering a rose to Juliet, who rebuffs the salacious overtures of Henry VIII. Viola of Twelfth Night is in the act of binding her breasts to fill the manly role of Cesario, while beside her other Shakespearean heroines don male apparel to play their virile counterparts - all the more interesting when you consider that in Shakespeare's day men played all the female roles. Caesar is a self-portrait an opportunity for the artist to make a statement about backstabbing (he doesn't like it.) and revel in applause (notice Titus Andronicus giving him a warm hand). All humor aside James' prodigious knowledge of Shakespeare manifests in a work offering multiple layers of meaning and countless discoveries. "All the World's a Stage" was commissioned by the Utah Shakespearean Festival - winner of this year's Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre - in celebration of its 40th anniversary.
James Christensen Biography
Inspired by the world's myths, fables and tales of imagination, James C. Christensen wants his work to add up to more than a beautiful - if sometimes "curious" looking work of art. Having taught art professionally for over 20 years, he likes to think of the world as his classroom. His hope is that through whatever he creates - be it a porcelain, fine art print or book - he can convey a message, inspiration or a simple laugh. He believes that teaching people to use their imagination helps us find solutions to sooth the stresses of everyday life - or get a little lift to help us keep going. In short - all things are possible when you share Christensen's philosophy that "Believing is Seeing."
Christensen was born in 1942 and raised in Culver City, California. He studied painting at Brigham Young University and, for a while, the University of California at Los Angeles before finishing his formal education at BYU. Since then, he has had one-man shows in the West and the Northeast and his work is prized in collections throughout the U.S. and Europe.
The artist has been commissioned by both Time/Life Books and Omni to create illustrations for their publications and his work has appeared in the prestigious American Illustration Annual and Japan's Outstanding American Illustrators. Christensen has also won all the professional art honors the World Science Fiction Convention can bestow, as well as multiple Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.
Christensen's fine art now appears as works of art in porcelain, artist-inspired products such as note cards, silk ties and several books - A Journey of the Imagination (1994), the adventure fantasy Voyage of the Basset-adapted for television by Hallmark's Odyssey Channel as the Voyage of the Unicorn, Rhymes and Reasons (1997), Parables (written by Robert Millet, 1999), The Personal Illumination Series and The Personal Illumination Journal (2000), a series of interactive journals and A Shakespeare Sketchbook (2001).
"Life seems to be more complicated than ever. And, all too often, too serious. I use my artwork to ease the burden of everyday stuff. My characters deal with the same problems we all face in what we call 'life.' Their unique point of view helps me put my own problems in perspective with a smile - and hopefully yours. We are all on this journey together and anything we can do to help each other is a good thing." - James Christensen