Let’s make some art

    Everyone has a little artist inside them. Maybe you don’t know your way around a painter’s or sculptor’s studio, but you spend a bit of extra time making that birthday cake look nice—you know you do—and when you find yourself doodling absent-mindedly, you think, “Hey, that’s not half bad.”  There is joy is making something from nothing. It’s magical.

    Mormon culture has DIY in its DNA. We are crafters, quilters, carvers, and scrapbookers. We rock the Pinewood Derby. Our gardens are glorious. We knit, sew, and weave. We remodel our own homes. We rebuild our own cars. We sew our own wedding gowns. Brigham Young, the ultimate do-it-yourself-er, would be so pleased.

    For a few years, Mormon Artists Group has been looking for a way to blur the gap in fine art between making and acquiring. We thought, Wouldn’t it be fun to develop a project that people could use to make art of their own?


It has to be Kent Christensen

    We decided to approach an artist with the task. Being chocolate lovers, our minds ran to chocolate molds. These could be mini, edible, bas-relief sculptures. But we wanted something more than mere craft. Who could elevate the idea into art? Who better than the artist who has made his fine art career satirizing the imagery of commercial sweets: Kent Christensen.

    Christensen responded with four drawings that capture four significant moments in our religious life:  baptism, service, missionary work, and temples. They are finely detailed, witty creations that wink at art history as they inventively find new ways to symbolize what is uniquely Mormon.



    To create the molds, the four original drawings were transformed into 3-D CAD drawings, and then translated into professional molds by the only remaining maker of polycarbonate injection molds in America, Micelli Chocolate Mold Company, in West Babylon, New York.




Baptism

    The first medallion features a dove descending from the skies with the text, “Jesus Came to John the Baptist” radiating above and “Baptism” undulating, like water, below. The imagery is based on the magnificent alabaster window in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, “Dove of the Holy Spirit” (ca. 1660), by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.




Mormon Helping Hands

    Christensen’s next design represents LDS volunteerism, specifically the Church’s community service and disaster relief program that provides much-needed assistance in the form of physical labor in hard-hit communities around the world. Workers wear yellow vests with a logo of two hands reaching toward each other. Christensen reinterprets the hands and places them before background imagery of natural disasters—earthquakes, hurricanes, and typhoons.




Angel

    Quoting the Book of Mormon Prophet Alma, the third medallion trumpets the zealous wish to be a missionary, “O that I were an angel...that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God.” (Alma 29:1). In this image, Christensen employs an angel based on the weather vane that topped the original Nauvoo temple (ca. 1840), which also held a book of scripture and blew a trumpet proclaiming Truth.




Salt Lake Temple

    In the Church, everything leads to the temple, and in his fourth design, Christensen creates an image that perfectly symbolizes what the temple means to us. Above the facade of the Salt Lake Temple (ded. 1893) float the sun, moon, and stars that represent the kingdoms of heaven. Ingeniously, the artist overlays an image of eternity at the base of the temple: the mathematical symbol for infinity.


Kent Christensen

    The beguiling artwork of Kent Christensen has recently been the subject of widespread admiration. A retrospective of his career was exhibited May 10 - July 20, 2013 at the Woodbury Art Museum, Utah Valley University, in Orem, Utah. In the fall of 2012, Christensen’s work was shown in a large exhibition, “Bad for You” at the Shizaru Gallery, in London. Alongside Christensen were some of the most recognized names in the Contemporary Art today: Cindy Sherman, Ed Rucha, Tony Ousler, Alexis Rockman, Marina Abromovic, and others. He was featured in an article in London’s Daily Telegraph about his painting of Prince William and Kate Middleton. He has exhibited his work in gallery shows regularly in London (Eleven gallery), in New York (Volta NY Art Fair), and in Utah, including an art-in-residence at Salt Lake City’s The Leonardo.


Original Artworks

    We are pleased to announce that Kent Christensen has created original artworks based on Medallions, for sale. There are the original four pencil drawings (above), plus four watercolors, and four oil paintings. Read more about them on the checklist page that follows.


Medallions

    Medallions is a polycarbonate injection chocolate mold (10.25” x 7” x 1”). Each mold holds three sets of all four medallions (1.75” in diameter and approximately 1/8” thick), for a total of 12.


$49.95



What will you make with them? We have been playing with the molds since the first prototypes arrived. Chocolate first, of course, but then what else? Hard candies? Pats of butter? And how about decorative soaps, too? We’ve had so much fun that we decided to make a little scrapbook of ideas.