Get a tour of the planning behind this multi-figure painting and the unexpected twists along the way. Oil paint, surprise models, research, and non-gold dust all blend in this ever-evolving design. Learn more about the making of this promotional illustration for the 2018 WELS West Regional Choral Festival in this episode of The Process.
Koine asked me to develop a visual for their album of Martin Luther hymns. The title, "Cross, Heart, Rose, Sky, Ring" refers to the parts of Martin Luther's Seal. Benj Lawrenz explained that the band wanted to deal with Luther as a fellow artist. The album cover alludes to a materiality and an unresolved concept. It presents the parts of the seal before they had converged in his mind. Luther may not have always been so sure of himself. I can relate to ideas part-formed. While our salvation is sure and finished, the direction of our temporal lives remains mysterious.
There was something meta happening during the making of this piece. Benj said he wanted to get at the idea of Luther trying hard to get something right. He wanted a very tactile quality to the artwork. As I searched for a solution I found myself engaged in exactly that kind of "trying hard to get something right."
Watch as I make 1 dove image by drawing it 4 times and apply it to 2 projects. Who says I can't do math? See a preliminary design for a banner at Martin Luther College and a drawing on granite for Heritage Memorial and Stone Creations. Warning: contains graphite, ink, photoshop, penmanship, a diamond-tipped stylus, and a crazy studio cat.
This is an illustration to accompany Michael Zarling's upcoming post in Bread for Beggars. It's a pretty straightforward remix of the central portion of my St. Croix mural. Click this post for video, commentary, and process photos related to that project. While the original mural incorporates a wide range of symbolism, this piece needed to focus on Jesus as the Bread of Life. As Confessional Lutherans we hold the means of grace as central to our relationship with God (namely Baptism, The Lord's Supper, God's Word). We believe that in these sacraments God comes to us in grace and love. Worship is an opportunity to visit with and be visited by God himself. The "Bread of Life" image emphasizes Jesus' seeming paradox of victory in his willing sacrifice. He is shown in a moment and posture of utter defeat, but simultaneously glorious and radiant. His substitution on our behalf was THE turning point for all of humanity, even as it was his utter defeat...temporarily. I have designed the image to evoke this both-at-once mystery. Stalks of wheat surround him referring to the Lord's Supper and the life-giving meal of the Gospel message. Those stalks of wheat radiate from and direct our attention to the ancient scroll from which he seems to emerge. That scroll represents the Word of God and is inscribed with Hebrew text of the protoevangelium-the first promise of a Savior. Some people have asked whether the number of wheat stalks is symbolic. I'm built for visual symbolism rather than logical or rational parallels, so the answer is no. Think more on the timeless nature of "daily bread" and the eternal implications of such a daily need. Besides "The Bread of Life" Jesus is also referred to as "The Word". The original St. Croix painting also includes symbolism related to Jesus as "the Vine" and "the Living Water".
The St. Croix mural is shown below. It's 15 feet wide and with textured paint, gold leaf, super vibrant colors, and good lighting...it really should be seen in person.
The folks planning the 2016 Men of His Word Conference asked me to produce a graphic representation of their theme, "Stand Firm". Learn more about this conference at menofhisword.org. My first thought was a knight standing in full gear looking cool and ready (some old drawings to that effect are included below). But as my sketches progressed I realized there needed to be something to stand against. I brought the look of the protagonist closer to home with office-ish khakis and a tie. Rather than some fantasy from centuries past, he could be one of us. He stands against a wave that threatens his position on a narrow bit of ground and he's clutching a big book. As this conference is called "Men of His Word", it seems appropriate for 1) a Man to be 2) of His Word. The double meaning of this conference title cleverly alludes both to personal accountability, as in "I give you my word", as well as a Christian man devoted to the Lord. The wave can represent whatever threatens a man's relationship with God. One's faith can be tested from political events, personal crises, temptations, finances, or even apathy. When in personal crisis cling to Christ and wait out the storm. Stand Firm.
Producing a layered photoshop graphic using ink drawings has gradually become a standard "style" for me. While I'm happy with this illustration, it isn't groundbreaking in my body of work. HOWEVER, motion graphic production is a whole new world for me. My daughter and I decided to take the plunge and learn to animate in Adobe After Effects. It's been a steep climb learning the AfterEffects workspace, but I'm excited to apply new skills in the future. It's amazing how long it can take to produce 20 seconds...have a look. https://youtu.be/QQwJObB63Ug
This ain't my first rodeo! Click this link to view my "Shelter From the Storm" design for the 2015 Men of His Word conference: http://jjjaspersen.com/shelter-from-the-storm/
This post collects 6 designs I produced for St. Mary Magdalen Catholic church in Kentwood, Michigan. These designs were printed on glass and mounted with back lighting. Each design is a composite of 6 to 10 ink drawings, painted text, a photo texture, and various photoshop manipulations. This was part of an effort to rebuild the parish after a tragic fire. The final designs are shown first. Find a few earlier iterations and comments below. Links to other projects for this reconstruction can be found at the bottom of this post.
The following are earlier designs with significant differences from the finals. It was my intention throughout this project to portray these people as accessible, regular individuals. Therefore I photographed models for many of the drawings and wanted some specificity in their features and expression. Patrons wanted images "like we are used to seeing of saints". Also, I was encouraged to portray the moment when the "sinner" became the "saint". Wow, that threw me. From a Lutheran perspective the "saint" and "sinner" is a lifelong struggle. "Simul iustus, et peccatur" (At the same time saint and sinner) is a central belief in my understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. This difference in intent was creatively paralyzing for me. What I wanted to do was fundamentally different from what they wanted done.
I greatly prefer the portraits in the Peter and Augustine designs below. However, I feel the Dismas iteration benefited from revision and I prefer the flow of the newer design shown above.
I also designed CNC carved doors and two more large glass illlustrations for the folks at St. Mary Magdalen. Learn more at http://jjjaspersen.com/prodigal-son-windows/ and http://jjjaspersen.com/?s=mary+magdalene
I got an email invitation to participate in a design competition from Mike's Hard Lemonade. This isn't my usual scene, but I thought it was an exciting prospect! So I went to work on a can design for the "Mike's Harder" line of drinks.
There are over 600 other entries for this competition and part of the selection process is a public vote! Please help out by voting for my design at this link: https://zooppa.com/en-us/ads/tigers-blood-design-the-next-can/prints/beauties-vs-beast Designs that start out with a lot of votes will likely gain momentum as voting continues! Voting is open June 31-August 31.
The assignment was to provide a totally original graphic for their new flavor, "Tiger's Blood". They market towards 21- to 29-year-old guys and emphasize a goofy, vintage, fun aesthetic. I brought my ink style with some digital twists and tried to tell an interesting story. It reads a bit like the adventurous cover of a comic book.
My design takes place under water. Lovely women dive for treasures of strawberry and watermelon (flavors in the drink), but a ferocious tiger guards the flavor treasure. Don't worry about the girls, they're the reason the drink is called "Tiger's Blood". The women are based on Japanese " ama" pearl divers.
I would appreciate your vote and please share this like crazy!
See the can design below as well as early some process images and an unused concept.
This design was developed as a gift to commemorate Tracy Fedke's contribution to Koine over the past decade. It combines continuous contour sketches of each member of Koine posed as the letters of the band name. Those letters appear directly above each band member. Verses from the hymn "When In Our Music God is Glorified" are incorporated into the band name. The result is a visualization of Koine's mission. Note also the inclusion of significant textures: stone, sky, wood, water.