Artist glorifies God through digital art inspired by the Bible.

This is Larson's interpretation of Ezekiel's vision of the cherubim.

PHOTO SUPPLIED

This is Larson's interpretation of Ezekiel's vision of the cherubim.

March 31, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Ted Larson evangelizes through his artwork. The Seattle-based digital artist says the bulk of his artwork is inspired by the Bible, which he has read from beginning to end many times.

"My art is a way to use my talent to glorify God and participate in the work of the Holy Spirit on earth, bringing the Gospel to people's lives," he says.

Larson's artwork, which includes many of the supernatural visions found in Scripture, was exhibited March 21 at an Arts and Faith Conference at Edmonton's Concordia University College.

Larson, 52, was a traditional artist for 20 years before he became a digital artist in 1995. He began drawing and painting when he was a child. During his teen years his mother encouraged him to become serious in his art studies. She shared her love of classical art with her son and opened his eyes to the beauty and passion of the great masters.

Larson's summers were busy with evening drawing classes at the University of Washington. After high school, the young man worked and put himself through a commercial art and design school.

In 1992, he began his career as a freelance illustrator and designer. During this time, he travelled to Europe to see his favourite artists' paintings.

"I loved the Vatican's collection of paintings and sculptures," he recalls. "The classical works by Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini were particularly impressive. They set the standard of excellence I strove to achieve with my art as I taught myself painting while working from life models, landscapes and photos."

READ FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION

However, it was when he took a friend's challenge to read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation that Larson became inspired to combine the stories of the Christian faith with his art.

Moses sits in front of the burning bush as told in the book of Exodus.

PHOTO SUPPLIED

Moses sits in front of the burning bush as told in the book of Exodus.

"Once I read the Bible, I was inspired to do all this Christian art," he explains.

"Some people are gifted with a wonderful voice and they glorify God through singing; my way of doing it is through my art, with my pictures."

Upon his first reading of the Book of Ezekiel, Larson felt a calling to illustrate the "supernatural visions of the Scriptures."

In 1995 Larson saw his first digital art pieces. He was struck by the unlimited possibilities the various digital graphic arts tools presented. He decided to buy his first computer and teach himself Photoshop and several other design programs.

"I was a traditional painter for the first 20 years of my career and then, when I discovered digital imaging, I got really excited about exploring that," Larson explains.

A NEW INSTRUMENT

"It's sort of like if you are a classical pianist and you discover the electronic organ. You can create new music with it so I got excited the same way a musician would with a new instrument."

In 1997 Larson's first biblical art was accepted in an online gallery. That exposure led him to doing some freelance illustration for a Christian multimedia company. "I worked for them until 1999 illustrating three books of the Bible – Revelation, Daniel and Zechariah."

Ted Larson

Ted Larson

Later, Larson began to sell his own CD Art collections and prints. "I then illustrated Exodus and Ezekiel to round off my collection to five Bible art collections," he observed.

"I have been blessed to have my work purchased by churches, seminaries and lay people all over the world. I also have had my Christian art used in articles, book covers, posters and websites by various individuals of different faith backgrounds."

To Larson, digital imaging is a contemporary medium to reach young people with their smartphones and iPads. "It's a way to bring some of the stories of the Bible up to date in a contemporary medium that young people can access and easily digest and understand."

Which is easier for Larson - traditional painting or digital imaging? "I'm very comfortable with both; I think they are both equally easy for me now," the artist replies.

DIGITAL FASTER

"I think one is faster. I think doing digital art has become faster for me so it's good for meeting deadlines. If I have a customer who needs a picture by certain date, I can do it a little faster than an oil painting. Oil paintings take longer to dry."

To see Larson's pictures, one has to have a home computer, a smartphone or any portable device that provides Internet access.

Larson's philosophy is to make "seen the unseen," whether the source of inspiration is a dream, a vision or flight of the imagination. His hope is to delight and challenge the viewer by portraying the impossible as something real and tangible.

Currently he is working on a series of dream images blending both traditional media and digital imaging tools. His aim is to blend the warmth of handmade art on paper and canvas with the unlimited possibilities of digital imaging.

To learn more about Larson's artwork visit www.digitalartbytedlarson.com.