Chad Hawkins is an author and artist whose work focuses on the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He always researches the temples before drawing them. His book Temples of the New Millennium features a section of 150 facts about Latter-day Saint temples.
What sets Hawkins apart are his temples and hidden images in his art.
- One of Hawkins' favorite memories comes from drawing the new Nauvoo Illinois Temple.
- Years before the temple was completed, even before the groundbreaking, Hawkins was in Nauvoo on June 27 at about 5:16 p.m., so he could get a sense for the setting and climate at the very minute the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. Then using an architectural rendering, he painted the Nauvoo Temple. If you look closely, you can see the clock tower reads 5:16 p.m., and there is a hidden image of Joseph Smith holding the Book of Mormon just left of the temple, Hawkins said.
- About three years later, President Hinckley announced the Nauvoo Temple would be dedicated at the same time on the same historic date.
Hawkins has always drawn. As a kid, his parents bought him a chalkboard and he spent hours drawing on it. "It's always been my thing. I've always loved it," Hawkins said. "I don't think of it as work — it's too fun."
As a kid living in Virginia, Hawkins' elementary school class toured the U.S. Capitol and he was fascinated by the large murals featured in the rotunda. The curator told the children about hidden images and symbols in the murals, which made an impression on Hawkins. He started hiding things in his own drawings, he said.
Hawkins recalled for the Deseret News, an experience that set him on his course to paint the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ.
- After speaking at a fireside in 1994, Hawkins was headed to his car when a man approached and asked about the direction of his art career. When Hawkins reiterated his plans to be a dentist, the man's response surprised him.
- "Who do you think you are to bury your talent? Heavenly Father has given you a talent and you need to share it," the man said, poking Hawkins in the chest with his finger.
- ”It was so bold that it got me thinking in a different way," Hawkins said.
- After personal prayer and reflection, Hawkins devoted himself to art, primarily focused on conveying the beauty and spiritual power of Latter-day Saint temples.
Not long after, Church president Gordon B. Hinckley increased the pace of building temples, giving Hawkins opportunities for years to come.
Hawkins is the writer and illustrator of Temples of the New Millennium: Facts, Stories, and Miracles from the First 150 Temples, The Mountain of the Lord, Holy Places: True Stories of Faith and Miracles from Latter-Day Temples, Temples in the Latter Days, Youth and the Temple: What You Want to Know and How You Can Prepare, and The First 100 Temples. He also wrote Latter-day Heroes.
His work is also commissioned.