Concept

James C. Christensen

Summary
James C. Christensen (September 26, 1942 – January 8, 2017) was an American illustrator and painter of religious and fantasy art. Christensen was born and raised in Culver City, California. Christensen began his studies at Santa Monica College. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles and obtained a MFA from Brigham Young University (BYU). Christensen only started oil painting after he began studying at BYU. Christensen began his career as a free-lance illustrator and a junior high school art instructor. Christensen was an instructor at BYU from 1976 until 1997. He has had numerous showings of his work throughout the US and has been commissioned by media companies to create artwork for their publications, such as Time-Life Books and Omni. Christensen appeared in an episode of ABC's show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2005. He created a picture featuring a member of the family as a fairy. The design team filmed a segment at his studio. The Greenwich Workshop donated a framed Court of the Faeries that Christensen presented to the family for the room as well. Christensen said his inspirations were myths, fables, fantasies, and tales of imagination. He employed many-layered medieval and Renaissance clothing, and hunched backs symbolizing the burdens people carry in life. One his trademarks were flying or floating fish and he explained, "In my paintings a fish usually symbolizes wonder and wisdom. I often paint a fish floating in the air to remind the viewer that this is a new reality, that there is magic in the world." He was approached by Pixar to consult on Finding Nemo but declined in order to work on a mural for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Christensen painted several murals for the Provo City Center Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Christensen's book Voyage of the Basset was the source of controversy in 2006 when a resident of Bountiful, Utah, demanded that the book be removed from circulation from the young adult section at the Davis County Library in nearby Farmington, Utah because some of the illustrations were deemed too suggestive.
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