James C. Christensen
American artist and illustrator James C. Christensen was primarily famous as one of the world's preeminent fantasy painters, or as he described it "an artist who paints the fantastic."
Christensen has published more than three books, with many of his works appearing in many more. His first book, A Journey of the Imagination: The Art of James Christensen, was printed in 1994 to great acclaim. His second, Voyage of the Basset (with Renwick St. James and Alan Dean Foster (Artisan, 1996), contains a frame story for a great deal of original work. This book was adapted into the TV miniseries Voyage of the Unicorn, starring Beau Bridges, Chantal Conlin, Heather McEwen, Mackenzie Gray and John DeSantis. His third book, Rhymes & Reasons, was published in May 1997. Christensen also illustrated A Shakespeare Sketchbook (May 2001) with text by Renwick St. James.
Christensen says his inspirations are myths, fables, fantasies, and tales of imagination. Fantasy is incorporated into all his art, even art pieces with religious themes.
Christensen was raised in Culver City, California, and attended UCLA. He then moved to Utah to finish his higher education at Brigham Young University. He then went on to teach art for over 20 years, where he finished his teaching career at Brigham Young University in the late 1990s. Christensen resided in Orem, Utah. Two daughters, Cassandra Barney and Emily McPhie, are also professional artists.
Since his graduation he had numerous showings of his work throughout the US and has been commissioned by numerous media companies to create artwork for their publications, such as Time-Life Books and Omni (Wikipedia.org). In 2013–2014, the Springville Museum of Art displayed an exhibit titled Curiouser and Curiouser that includes art from his two daughters Cassie and Emily. The exhibit was the most comprehensive collection of his major paintings ever shown and aimed to illustrate how artistic heritage is displayed in their family.
Christensen's work has appeared in the American Illustration Annual and Japan's Outstanding American Illustrators. He also won all the professional art honors the World Science Fiction Convention offers, and multiple Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.
He received the Governor’s Award for Art from the Utah Arts Council and was inducted into the U. S. Art Magazine’s Hall of Fame. In 2005, Christensen was designated as an Honored Alumnus of the BYU College of Fine Arts. He was also named “Utah Art Treasure,” one of Utah’s Top 100 Artists by the Springville Museum of Art.
Christensen was selected to work under the direction of Frank Magleby with fellow artists Robert Marshall, Douglas Fryer, Gary Ernest Smith, and Chris Young. They became known as Frank’s Boys. Christensen, Marshall, Fryer, and Smith also created the murals for the instruction rooms in the Provo City Center Temple. Christensen's daughters assisted him in his work. He painted through the process of radiation for cancer. He passed away on January 8, 2017.