Mirrored Praise By inSpire with Lar Justinen

Photo: Lars Justinen
We asked Lars Justinen about his journey into creativity and the impact that art has made on his life.

inSpire - Lars, you have established a strong track record for solid graphics and for creating images that can be used in religious contexts. Before we go there, please tell us about your background and how you came into the art scene.

Justinen – My first memories of creating art were crayon sunset drawings I made on tan construction paper for our little Kankakee, Illinois church’s “investment projects”. My mother was a serious amateur artist and she did all she could to cultivate my interest and experiences in art. It seems like painting and drawing were always a part of my life throughout my school years. My Dad often worked as a colporteur and I remember being influenced by all the illustrated Christian books in our home, especially the great Adventist illustrator Harry Anderson.

In college I planned to go into the medical field because I wasn’t sure I could make a gainful living as an artist, but I took an art major to ensure that my college experience was enjoyable. By my senior year, though, I realized that art really had my heart and decided to launch my career as a gallery artist.

Nearly 30 years ago, I spent time working as a gallery artist in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. In 1985, I accepted a job as an in-house illustrator at Pacific Press. During my time there, I won some national awards, and as a result, drew the attention of a major New York artist agency, which began representing me. In 1991, I started my own company and, in the following years, gradually expanded into digital and multimedia work. In about 2007, I refocused on illustrating and launched GoodSalt, a religious imagery licensing company.
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Along the way, I married the joy of my life, Kim, who is one of the most prolific illustrators in the world, and I also had a part in producing the two greatest creations of my life, our son, Stephen, and our daughter, Hannah.

inSpire - You have an interesting story. What percentage of your art is “religious” or has some kind of spiritual application?

Justinen - When I left university, I started out as a gallery artists showing in fine art galleries in the Pacific Northwest with my subject material being mostly landscapes and wildlife. I had no plans to paint religious subjects. But God had other plans it seems and I ended up being known primarily for my Christian themed artwork. Today about 90% of what I illustrate is based on a spiritual topic or subject.

In a very real sense, though, the creative process is a spiritual exercise, whether I am painting a watercolor landscape or a digital painting of a Bible prophet. “In the beginning God created...” When we exercise our creative powers we mirror our Creator and reveal the truth that we are created in His image.

Visit Lars Justinen online

This interview was conducted by Rich DuBose, Director of Pacific Union Conference Church Support Services and the inSpire project. All rights reserved © 2012 VisitInSpire.org. Click here for content usage information.