Monthly Archives: January 2016

Cami Goldman: Animals


Cami Goldman is an illustrator and creator. Her recent series is a geometric approach to animals. She lives in Utah.

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Tell us how you became an artist. I grew up in Utah with five older siblings. Both my parents and most of my siblings have always been very artistic and creative. I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. As a kid I took art classes up through high school and was always sketching something. As I got older and busier I did it less and less. In 2014 I was really missing it and feeling the need for a creative outlet, so slowly started picking it up again. Friends and family saw my work and encouraged me to keep with it and even start selling it. So I decided to go for it and here I am.

How have Mormon artists been influenced by social media? I think Mormon artists have been influenced quite a bit. It used to be that you only saw the traditional LDS art in religious bookstores and even on the Internet, but because of social media and the artistic community within it, I think LDS artists have felt more encouraged to share their art and have had more success doing so.

What do you wish you would have known when you were getting started? When getting started I wish I would have known that even though I get lots of emails and “likes” there will always be people who don’t necessarily care as much about my work as I do. It can be easy to feel rejected. But you just have to remember to keep focusing on doing what you love and worry less about how many people follow you or don’t.

Visit Cami Goldman’s website.

Follow Cami Goldman on Instagram.


Chase Westfall: Terror Function


Chase Westfall draws on a broad range of influences to investigate the cultural meaning and societal function of violence in his new exhibition Terror Function at the 101/EXHIBIT gallery in Los Angeles. “Through sometimes jarring combinations of graphic representation of torn human and animal flesh alongside geometric abstraction, his work gives equal voice to both the heat and brutality of the violent act and the cool, detached analysis to which he seeks to subject it. Though trained as a painter, Westfall’s practice encompasses a broad range of media including painting, sculpture, installation, video and performance.” Westfall received his BFA from the University of Florida and MFA from the University of Georgia. He is currently the director of Gallery Protocol, a contemporary art gallery in Gainesville, Florida and assistant director of Westfall lives in Gainesville, Florida with his wife and kids.

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Tell us where you grew up and how you became an artist. I was born in Albany, NY and spent my childhood moving around as my Dad finished school (undergrad at BYU, graduate studies at UGA) and went through a few starter jobs. We settled in Alachua, Florida when I was about 11.

What has been the reception to Terror Function? The reception has been cautious, but very positive overall. Going into it, I felt that some of the ideas/content of the show might be considered controversial (it’s all the proverbial ‘religion and politics’) and that people might respond negatively, but people have really just rolled with it. I will say that coverage of the show has tended to talk about it in broad terms without getting into too many of the specifics – which is where things start to get messier. There are a lot of abstract concepts in there so there’s plenty to deal with without having to get your hands dirty, so to speak.

Where have your thoughts gone during the recent terror events in the news? It’s a roller coaster. On a human scale it’s, obviously, an incredible tragedy and you have (one has) a very strong set of emotional reactions to it. In terms of my thoughts, as a result of the time I’ve spent ‘studying’ the subject I’ve gotten myself to a place (maybe a psychologically unhealthy place) where I tend to think about these kind of events in a more disimpassioned way. With that said, I was stunned by how consistent these events were with the proposals/statements/assertions about terrorism that I had just made in the exhibition. The Gallery’s press release for the exhibition had been scheduled to go out on November 14 and we had spent the previous week revising the text and a document called “Artist’s Notes” that was going to be included which elaborated on the ideation for the exhibition. When everything happened on the 13th (in Paris) we had a moment when we weren’t sure what to do as it seemed, on the one hand, insensitive and/or exploitative and/or in very poor taste to be promoting an art exhibition about terrorism against a backdrop of real human suffering and death. On the other hand, I can say that the exhibition developed out of a very sincere desire to make some sense of the terror and violence we see in the world and that the ideas developed in the show were, for me at least, very helpful toward that end. When in doubt you stick with the plan and so we ended up sending it out.

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Visit Chase Westfall’s website.

Visit the Exhibition Website for Terror Function.

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Amelia Murdock: The Noble Equine


Amelia Murdock is an exquisite painter and horse lover. She studied illustration at BYU and continued her studies at The Water Street Atelier at The Grand Central Academy of Art for two years. Her work, “shows the delicate bewitching quality of the horse and it’s landscape through her artwork.” Murdock lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois.

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Tell us about your evolution as an artist. Copying Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker paintings from books as a child in my mom’s art studio had a huge impact on the beginnings of my artistic evolution. Growing up in the country, riding horses daily, being homeschooled are also major influences in where I am now as an artist. Sketching my horse and friend’s horses was a favorite past time as a teenager. I knew I wanted to paint and draw in a representation style after years of absorbing masters from Michelangelo, to Rembrandt, and the Golden Age illustrators. Looking at the art programs at universities I quickly realized that illustration was the only place remotely similar to what I wanted. It was where I saw people actually drawing things that looked like real things. I loved my time in the illustration program at BYU, but soon found out the Atelier programs popping up throughout the world. My experience at the Grand Central Atelier in New York City was life changing. I realized I could be a “real artist” and I didn’t have to be an illustrator to create images that resonated with people the way I wanted. I learned how to draw. I learned how to paint. I learned how to work. I learned crucial technique. But the school did not teach us WHAT to paint only, HOW to paint it. I didn’t learn how to create “art”.

I floundered around for a few years after art school trying to figure out what I really wanted to paint. I tried painting what everyone else was painting after art school. I felt I was just a worse version of my teacher. I tried going back to illustration. This didn’t allow for the time I needed to create my work or the subtle, fine art feeling I loved. I tried doing more religious art. I found (as many told me) that multi-figural historical paintings are incredibly difficult, costly and time consuming. Throughout this period I was always drawing horses in my spare time but didn’t consider it fine art. Finally, after going back and forth and feeling rather frustrated, someone asked me— If you could paint for only one more year and then your talent was taken away, what would you paint? Of course I thought of the elegant equine, my love and passion I have for them while I’m painting and drawing. I’ve since focused my art on horses and their landscape.

You once wrote, “I love depicting the noble equine.” I was born in the horse country of Kentucky and love your subject matter. Tell us about this focus in your career. I grew up a horse crazy girl. While friends had dates on the weekends, I had horse shows and trail rides. I actually paid for my entire art education by buying young, untrained ponies and horses, then training them to ride and selling them. And of course I was drawing them the entire time. I bought a big black Thoroughbred racehorse named Lexus when I was 14 and trained him to be my competition horse. He was a bit wild, sensitive and quite a complicated horse to ride. I spent many patient and sometimes frustrating hours of training on him. He turned out to be a fabulous jumper and we became a really great team. But, in the end he taught me so much more then I taught him. The relationship I had with him during my turbulent teenage years did so much for my soul and personal growth, and later my art career. Years later, while painting a figure with one of my favorite art teachers, he happened to see a finished equine drawing I had. It was the first work I had done that really made him take a second look. He said “Your equine work is unique because you capture the true essence of the horse. You just know horses. If I had painted this horse, it would be lacking because I couldn’t capture the essence.” This had a big impact on me. Why am I trying to paint far off lands, from a different time that I don’t know, when I could paint what I do know right in my backyard. And let me tell you people responded. The response I have had to my equine work is amazing. People can truly feel that I know horses and their spirit. I also think people respond to my classical technique and background being applied to the horse, which I haven’t seen very often.

As I have focused on the horse in my work, I have come to realize that horses hold a unique place in our world. People have a huge pull towards horses. Yet, horses do not worship you like a dog does. Neither are they aloof like the cat. They are much more to us as humans then other livestock like pigs or cows. They are the only animals that truly mirror our own emotions. A relationship with a horse is like none other. Trust must be there. A horse will always remember (and won’t so easily forgive) a misdeed as a dog will. This is one reason equine therapy is so successful when trying to teach youth and adults about relationships and emotions. They will tell you when you are wrong, and you will know when you have done it right. They feel your anxiety, your happiness, your fear. This interests me so much. I hope to be able to depict the equine with this sort of relationship to the viewer. Seeking to capture this essence of the equine is something I can keep doing in my art for a very long time.

What do you think about the Church and its relationship to art? What would you like to see in the coming years? I envision the Church being a place where people can find a solace from the world’s view of art. I think the Church is the one place where art can unabashedly be about bringing the spirit of God into people’s lives. There’s no other purpose for it in this setting. Anything that doesn’t do that shouldn’t be held up. I don’t think it should be riding the coat tails of the world’s view of art. The church has the opportunity to reject the modern art world’s view of shocking, degrading, and intellectually meaningless art. My hope is that the Church leadership would provide a springboard for the small yet significant classical realism renaissance that is happening throughout the art world. Hopefully, with the leadership of the Church’s support we can see religious art on a level above what we have been seeing. Both technically and intellectually. Michelangelo never would have been Michelangelo without the Catholic Church’s patronage and recognition.


What is your career like these days? Ah, well I am working on my Magnum Opus for the majority of my time. My 3-year-old daughter and my 7-month-old baby girl. But, with my spare time, I am currently working on a few major commissions, both landscape and equine that should take up the rest of next year. I’ve pulled my work out of the small galleries I was represented in as I just don’t have the time to produce for them what I need along with commissions and anything else I feel prompted to paint. I mainly garner commissions through word of mouth and sell work regularly online. I will be taking a few trips next year to Ocala, Florida (horse capital of the world in the winter) for commissions and my own new project and a few other major horse locations. I’m really excited and happy with where my career is and where it is going. My time is limited, so it is moving a bit slower because of my two precious babies, but that’s ok. I have the rest of my life and all of eternity to master painting the noble equine.

Visit Amelia Murdock’s website.

Follow Amelia Murdock on Instagram.


Best of 2015 ‘Harry Anderson: Mormonism’s Non-Mormon Artist’

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Harry Anderson‘s artwork is canonized within the LDS Church. His paintings can be found in manuals, books, websites, and in the homes of members. His prints are found hanging in church buildings, literally, around the world. What most members do not know is that Harry Anderson was never a member of the Church and was a proud Seventh-day Adventist.

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Anderson was first hired to create paintings for the Church’s pavilion at the World’s Fair. He accepted many more commissions to create paintings for the Church and the Church uses this same art, well, religiously. You can see from the image search on just how many of the standard prints used in the Church were commissions of Harry Anderson including the famous The Second Coming.

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Robert T. Barrett and Susan Easton Black wrote an excellent history of Anderson including this interesting exchange involving wings. “When Anderson was counseled to paint angels with no wings, he complied but never missed an occasion to attempt to convert Church leaders to the correctness of his personal biblical interpretation. Artist Bill Whittaker remembers being amused at the doctrinal bantering Anderson enjoyed with Gordon B. Hinckley.”

Jim Pinkoski has been documenting the art of Harry Anderson for decades and met the artist shortly before Anderson’s death in 1996. His labor of love can be found at Anderson was as prolific an illustrator as Norman Rockwell and I find his non-LDS religious art fascinating. The first time I saw the images I said to myself, ‘Wait, that’s our Jesus.” Pinkoski was kind enough to answer a few questions about Anderson.

What attracted you so much to Anderson’s artwork? When I was 34 in 1984 I attended a 5-week Revelation Seminar being done by the Seventh-day Adventists, and two things amazed me: first, their ability to be able to explain the Bible from cover-to-cover in a way that far surpassed any other church’s explanations, and the nightly slide show included lots of Harry Anderson’s amazing art that I had never seen before!

Explain why Anderson only painted Christ or Bible stories for the Mormon church. Harry has done about 300 paintings for the Adventist church, which he had joined in 1944 — in the late 1960’s and 1970’s when he agreed to paint 20 or so pictures for the Mormon church, he stipulated that they would only be scenes from the Bible. When Harry became an SDA, he did so by understanding why he was not joining other churches… he was not going to be a Baptist, or a Catholic, or an Episcopal, or a Jehovah’s Witness, or a New Ager, or a Pentecostal or a Methodist — he could only belong to a church that held to what he understood to be the correct doctrines of Scripture, as he came to understand them. If even one doctrine was off, then belonging to and/or supporting that denomination was not possible. And he could not in good faith use his talents that God had given him to promote anything that he disagreed with — in his commercial work he refused doing ads for alcohol or cigarettes, and when it came to doing his religious art he could not illustrate the extra-biblical scenes from the Book of Mormon.

Is Harry Anderson held in the same regard with the Seventh-day Adventist church? Oh yes, Harry was held in very high regard within the SDA church during the 1940-1970 time period. With the passage of time and Harry’s death in 1996, fewer and fewer people know about him and unfortunately today his impact upon today’s Adventists has lessened — lots of newer SDA artists like Nathan Greene and Lars Justinen have taken over illustrating our books and publications.

What is your favorite religious painting by Harry Anderson? It would have to be What happened to Your Hand? (shown at the top of this post) which was Harry’s very first painting of Jesus.

What’s your favorite story about Harry Anderson? I have three: First, I really admire how he responded to hearing about the Lord from a humble Adventist man who came to their house in 1944 to do chores for them, and Harry and his wife became SDAs; second, how Harry was willing to do 300+ paintings for the Lord while taking far less than his normal salary, even though it put his family in a tight financial spot for many years; third, in his later years when Harry had his stroke and was laying in a hospital bed paralyzed and they prayed that the Lord either heal him or take him, he was healed (which made it possible for me to actually meet him in 1986)! When Harry’s family was faced with a huge hospital bill that was impossible to pay, the Lord arranged that Harry sold two of his paintings that covered the needed amount. Praise the Lord!

Visit the Harry Anderson website.

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