James Christensen

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James Christensen
James C. Christensen was born Spetember 26, 1942 in Culver City, California. He is a well-known American artist of religious and fantasy art. He studied at the Santa Monica City College and UCLA, and graduated from Brigham Young University in 1968 with a Master's Degree in art. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Uruguay. He later traveled through Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The culture's art influenced him in his own work.

After graduating, Christensen taught Junior High School art and later became an associate art director for the New Era, a LDS magazine for teens. During this time, he also was a freelance artist and continued his own work. He joined the Visual Arts Faculty at BYU in 1976 and held a position until 1997. He traveled with students all over Mexico and Europe.

On January 30, 1996, Christensen was invited to deliver a university forum address. The title of his address was "Imagination." In the speech, Christensen expressed his belief that all people are creative, some just feed their imagination more than others.

In 2005, Christensen was designated as an Honored Alumnus of the college and is a Visual Arts Emeritus Faculty.

In 2012, Christensen was one of two main artists featured at the Woodbury Art Museum's exhibit, Wet into Wet. His art is heavily influenced by myths, fables, and fantasies and always has a unique and recognizable flair which makes it his own. Christensen's art was also featured in the book Passage by Faith: Exploring the Inspirational Art of James C. Christensen.

In 2013, the Springville Museum of Art displayed an exhibit titled Curiouser and Curiouser that includes work from his two daughters, Cassandra and Emily. The exhibit was the most comprehensive collection of his major paintings up to that time. It aimed to illustrate how artistic heritage is displayed in the Christensen family.

Christensen was the featured artist for BYU's 2014 Homecoming Spectacular celebrations. His popular art character, Everyman, was also portrayed by Pat Debenham in dance adaptations at the Homecoming Spectacular ceremony. The same year, Christensen was commissioned to paint murals for the Nauvoo Temple and the Provo City Center Temple with fellow artists Robert L. Marshall, Gary Smith, and Douglas Fryer.

In 2015, he was one of the alumni highlighted by the College of Fine Arts and Communications for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Harris Fine Arts Center.

Christensen is married and has five children, two of whom, Cassandra Christensen Barney and Emily Christensen McPhie, are also alumnae of the College of Fine Arts and Communications at BYU and are notable artists. He and his wife, Carole, are co-chairs of the Mormon Arts Foundation.

Christensen has published three books: A Journey of the Imagination: The Art of James Christensen (1994), Voyage of the Basset (1996), and Rhymes and Reasons (1997). His work has been featured in many other books, including A Shakespeare Sketchbook (2001), which he illustrated.

James Christensen passed away on January 8th, 2017.

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