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James C. Christensen

James Christensen Pic.png
Well known American religious and fantasy artist, James C. Christensen, was a member of the BYU Visual Arts faculty from 1976-1997. Along with his art, he is being featured in BYU’s 2014 Homecoming Spectacular celebrations. His popular fantasy art character, Everyman, joins him as a feature of the Spectacular; Christensen notes that this hunchbacked character symbolizes everyone with flaws and burdens, and reminds us that we all have weaknesses. However, the overall message of the character is that those flaws are what can sometimes bring us the best lessons and healing.

Christensen attended Santa Monica City College and UCLA before coming to Brigham Young University for a master’s degree in art. Along with the numerous books in which his work has been published, Christensen has published three books of his own work. The second of these, Voyage of the Basset, features a magical ship full of mythical creatures. The motto of the ship is Credendo vides, which is Latin for “By believing, one sees,” which is also Christensen’s personal belief. He says that the common saying “seeing is believing” is much better expressed the other way around.

In 1976, a piece of this fantastical art, “The Invisible Door,” won an award from the American Society of Illustrators, and Christensen was finally convinced that there was a place in the art world for his fantasy work and that first award has been followed by many others throughout Christensen’s life. He has received multiple Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, including the Cover Artwork Award in 2002 for his cover of BYU’s journal Leading Edge. His works have been used by NASA, Time-life Books and Omni Magazine, and he has won all the professional art honors the World Science Fiction Convention offers. His works have also appeared in American Illustration Annual and Japan’s Outstanding American Illustrators.

Christensen currently lives in Orem, Utah. He and his wife, Carole, are co-chairs of the Mormon Arts Foundation. His current work includes painting the murals in the Provo City Center Temple with the same group of artists he worked with for the murals in the Nauvoo Temple.

To view Christensen’s full wiki page, click here.

Brett Helquist


Brett Helquist received his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Brigham Young University in 1993. He is the 2014 BYU Homecoming Spectacular College of Fine Arts and Communications Honored Alumnus Award recipient.

Helquist is perhaps best known for his work illustrating Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, which he considers to be his breakthrough experience in illustration. In addition to the Series of Unfortunate Events, he has also authored and illustrated three of his own books: Roger the Jolly Pirate, Bedtime for Bear, and Grumpy Goat. He also has a long list of other illustrated works, including books by Neil Gaiman, Blue Balliett, and Shana Corey.

Helquist served a mission in Hong Kong and then taught English in Taiwan for a year during his time as an undergraduate student at BYU. It was in Taiwan that he first professionally used his artistic talent, drawing illustrations for a series of English textbooks. After graduating from BYU, he interned with illustrator Robert Neubecker in New York for four months. The experience was formative for him, and he still resides and works in New York.

To view Helquist’s full wiki page, click here.

Honored Alumni

H. Patrick Debenham

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Pat Debenham is the Featured Alumni Artist for the 2014 BYU Homecoming Spectacular.

He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1973 with a Bachelor's Degree in Dance. In 1976, Debenham received a master's degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA, he taught beginning modern dance classes. After graduating from UCLA, Professor Debenham joined the Dance faculty at BYU. He was a Professor at BYU in the Modern Dance Division of the Dance Department until his retirement in August 2013. He is currently an adjunct professor at Utah Valley University.

To view his full wiki page, click here.

Jaynie Litster Brown

Jaynie Brown is being featured in the 2014 BYU Spectacular for her Service to Family.

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She graduated from Brigham Young University in 1972 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications.

After the loss of her baby grandson Matthew in a tragic car accident, Brown dedicated her life dedicated to eliminating drunk driving in Utah. She has collaborated with Dr. Karol Kumpfer to create a DVD and 12-week course, called the Strengthening Families program, based on Kumpfer's research on critical familial skills. She leads a nonprofit organization to promote this program.

Brown also has lobbied for the Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization, served on the Salt Lake City Mayor's Coalition on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs, and trains refugee community leaders to make her program available to refugees in Utah.

To view her full wiki page, click here.

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The Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communications provides information on groups and persons associated with the college--either by employment, study, or performance--as a service to our readers. Statements or opinions expressed by external links or persons written about are provided on the wiki. However, views expressed by people or groups featured on the wiki do not necessarily reflect those of the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For more information on the values, principles and standards of the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications, please consult the BYU Honor Code.

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For more information on the College of Fine Arts and Communications wiki page please consult our Purposes of the Wiki article, featured below.

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The Purposes of the Wiki

Fine Arts Faculty, 1925.

1. To create a record of the organizational roots of the College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University and its departments, places, significant events, professors, students, alumni, friends, and benefactors – and how they have contributed over time toward fulfilling the mission of Brigham Young University.

2. To provide a forum in which college alumni can record their contributions and performances; their experiences with teaching and learning; the ways in which they were mentored and influenced as students in this college, and how they are using their acquired skills to further their careers.

3. To recognize all who have been associated with the college who have made significant, national and international contributions to their fields.

4. To allow those who have been associated with the college over the years to be co-authors and collaborators in writing the college history.

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