Al R. Young: Mormon Artist
Al R. Young is a professional artist, author, and craftsman. When he was four years old, a friend gave him a drawing set for his birthday. Young’s mother thought that the gift was too advanced, so she placed it on a high closet shelf. After he twice scaled the shelf to reach it, she let him use it.
Although he drew throughout his adolescence, at college he decided to pursue a degree in journalism to develop some of his other artistic talents. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in 1976 and his master’s in mass communications in 1979. He also studied Colonial American history and documentary editing at the University of Virginia.
Young has enjoyed a multifaceted career: he has been a freelance writer and editor, part-time faculty at BYU and Utah Technical College, consulting firm partner, senior researcher and product designer, senior engineer, and corporate communications and documentation director. In 1998, he and his wife, Nancy, founded Al Young Studios, which is home to several artists and their work, including daughter Elspeth Young. Over the years, their other children have joined in the work of the studio in one way or another.
The studio produces oil paintings, printmaking, stained glass, pen and ink, watercolor, publications, and music. Publications include The Storybook Home Journal (published bi-monthly since 2000), The Papers of Seymore Wainscott Collection (historical fiction serialized since 2005), My Father’s Captivity (2009 book and online archive of primary historical source materials). The studio’s ongoing fine art projects include Heroes of the Book of Mormon series, Pioneers of the American West series, the Messiah series, and Women of the Bible series.
His painting, “The Lord Hath Anointed Me,” was selected for the Payson Utah Temple and appears near the chapel area. He creates scenes using costumed models and paints what he captures. He said of this painting, “I had no intention of painting this particular composition. I had done the costume and gotten things ready for the shoot. After taking a look at the images in the shoot, this jumped out at me as a subject that wanted to be painted, so to speak. As I embarked on the process of painting it, the thought kept coming that this might be suitable for consideration as a temple painting.”