- How much are you willing to sacrifice to follow what you believe. That is the dilemma James C. Christensen presents in The Rich Young Ruler. Christensen's most popular scriptural works have focused on the challenge to live our faith, to give all that we have and to live in a state of thankfulness.Just before his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, Jesus passed through a town where a righteous young man asked him what he could do to inherit eternal life. The young man told Jesus how he followed the Commandments and obeyed the laws of his people, but Jesus asked something more - Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, he said, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. The home of The Rich Young Ruler is filled with symbols of both his success and his dilemma. The laden camels in the frieze in the foreground illustrate Jesus' next words to his disciples, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The ruler himself is richly dressed in fine fabrics and jewels and the room is filled with lush plants, which in a desert setting would be quite costly to maintain. Sputtering beside the entrance to the door is the ruler's lamp that, like the flame of his belief, wavers in the wind. These symbols, combined with Christensen's unique style, make The Rich Young Ruler an elegant story of difficult decisions and of a Master who will always look back and offer another chance.The original painting was commissioned by a successful businessman, today's equivalent of a rich young ruler, says Christensen. He wanted a visual reminder that success has many forms and that faith is its own reward. He wanted to ask himself every day what he would have done in that situation.
- The Artist
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