Creation of the Week

Creation of the Week 65 - Tianna Williams: Oil Painting of St. Gianna Molla

Tianna Williams is at it again, this time working on an oil painting of St. Gianna Molla. If you haven’t seen her beautiful paintings, or any of the stunning time-lapse videos that she’s done of her painting process, check it out here!

Personally I never got past a 1st-grade painting level, and in my attempts to recreate fire trucks and dinosaurs I really only succeeded in getting paint all over several of my patient homeschooling Mom’s belongings. As a result my commentary comes more from my appreciation of the art of painting than any semblance of experience in it.

That being said, I find Tianna’s work to be uplifting and inspiring on multiple levels. Incidentally she is also a talented Graphic Designer, Web Designer, and Photographer, but I’d like to focus here on her prowess at oil painting, and specifically the piece she’s currently working on, of St. Gianna Molla.

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One of the things I find fascinating about Tianna’s work, is her process of drawing inspiration. Before the actual painting even started, Tianna looked to the CC community for inspiration, in this post:

It’s been on my heart for a few months now to paint an image of St. Gianna Molla (and God keeps reminding me... pretty much every day, haha). But I’m struggling with how to portray her... In all the famous photos and in every painting I’ve seen she is holding her babies—which is lovely and iconic but I feel like I’m supposed to something more than simply copy a photo. I think part of the struggle is that I’m only passingly familiar with her story. So. Those of you who love her—what about her inspires you the most? What details of her story stood out to you? How do you imagine her? What kind of painting would you love to see? I’m in the stage of gathering ideas and inspiration, as I’m still a few weeks away from starting the painting, so I’m open to all suggestions!
— Tianna Williams, April 30, 2019

A series of beautiful reflections on the figure of St. Gianna Molla ensued, and from the looks of it Tianna has drawn from this inspiration in a beautiful way.

The image is vibrant and full of life. As with all of her other saint portraits, you can almost feel the character of St. Gianna bursting off of the canvas. Her spirit as wife and mother shines in her eyes, and her lab coat covering her everyday clothing alludes to her role as a professional woman. She is surrounded by white flowers, among which lilies, roses, daffodils are immediately recognizable, pointing perhaps to the way she lived purity in her vocation as wife and mother. Her gaze is lifted to heaven, with hope and quiet joy. It’s still a work in progress, but I can’t wait to see the finished piece!

We reached out to Tianna to share a bit about herself and her work, and here’s what she said:

I was raised in a ministry family. My father is a Catholic evangelist and singer/songwriter, and his concert tours took us all over the USA and Canada. So, from an early age, I was given a great appreciation for the power of art in communicating the beauty and goodness of God.

We are all artists in my family, stretching back generations. For as long as I can remember, we’ve been encouraged to not only use our gifts to the best of our ability—drawing, painting, music, video, writing—but to use them for the glory of God and love of neighbour.

I’ve carried that with me into adulthood, into the graphic design & photography business I began at age 16 and now into my ministry as an oil painter. Every painting is a prayer—a journey with the saints into the wilderness of my soul, where I encounter Christ so that I can share him with the world through my art. Always, always, I desire to be no more than a mirror reflecting the beauty of God.

I live in Alberta, Canada, with my husband and 3-year-old daughter. I love to paint first thing in the morning after a strong dose of coffee and prayer. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook (@artbytispark) for updates of my latest paintings, videos, and blog posts. You can also check out my website at ti-spark.ca.

Oh, and it’s pronounced tEE-spark.
— Tianna Williams

When our art becomes a prayer, we’ve attained what’s at the very core of creativity. Our own creations are united to the Creator upon whom all creative work rests. We take our place in his work of creation, and share the light that we have been given. This is at the heart of Tianna Williams’ achievements, and shines through everything that she creates. Her work inspires, uplifts, and encourages us in our own search for God, on and off the field of practicing our craft.

You can contact Tianna or hire her for oil painting and photography needs!


 
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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services

Creation of the Week 64 - Alex Quintana: On Fear, Drones and Volcanoes

Drone videography is something else. Pretty much anyone who has tried it will agree; there’s nothing quite like the feeling of lifting your heart and mind to the skies, while your feet remain firmly planted on the ground. Our earth-bound existence is such that the changing our point of view by only a dozen feet into the air captures the imagination like few other fields.

This week we’re looking more closely at a video called “Hidden Victory” that Alex Quintana published a few weeks ago, featuring Volcanoes in Guatemala. The drone-work and timelapse work of the video are outstanding. I think the biggest challenge of this medium is lighting and coloring; it’s a wild, changing, moving setting, and overexposure is a constant threat lurking behind every cloud waiting to jump out and zap your sensor and blast your color range into oblivion.

Alex knocked it out of the park. He’s captured and balanced the colors, showing full and vibrant scenes, (almost always) perfectly exposed, across normal shots, aerial shots, and time-lapse exposures. The piece is balanced, beautiful, has a compelling soundtrack, and most importantly packs a punch with a powerful message about breaking out of the fear that holds us back from being who we are made to be.

Here’s the video:

I’m a filmmaker from Austin, TX, where I began developing the craft. I now live in Guatemala, where my wife is from.

This new chapter in this beautiful country led me to shift towards photography and start AQUI Studio.
Back in February, I was brought onto a volcanic expedition as a professional photography guide and had the opportunity to capture the footage I used to create this video. The voice-over I wrote stems from my own creative struggles, which I believe we all face.

Fear keeps us from pursuing our biggest dreams, yet in overcoming that fear we are fully able to realize the unique purpose that God created us for. If fulfilled, this purpose ripples out into a culture in great need of noble pursuits.

I’ve been fortunate to work behind the camera on projects that have aired on CNN, TNT, Showtime, National Geographic, Netflix, and in theaters around the US. The secular environment has been a great training ground to develop my skills and voice.

Please pray for me as I strive to break my own chains of fear and let what’s hidden burst forth!

You can find my film work at www.alexquintanafilms.com and my photography work at www.aqui.studio.
— Alex Quintana

What Alex says really speaks for itself. Fear is not from God. So that leaves one guess as to where, or better whom, it comes from. It’s a temptation. A temptation to smallness, to inefficiency, to holding back from doing what we are called to do and having the impact we are created to have. I think we can learn a lot from Alex’s example, and from that of so many others around us who push forward in spite of their fear. Break those chains. It may not lead you to flying a drone over a volcano in Guatemala, but I guarantee you it will take you to new horizons of possibility and impact.

You can contact Alex or hire him for your film and photography needs!


 
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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services

Creation of the Week 63 - Joseph Barringhaus: Photography

In a world where almost everyone has a phone, and almost every phone has a camera, we’re constantly surrounded by photography. Technology has gotten so good, that to some it may be hard to understand the skill that is required to capture something extraordinary. The knowledge and techniques that a photographer must employ, working with varying light and almost constant motion, swapping lenses, adjusting settings, all the while watching the framing of the shot and the positioning and focus of their subject, often with only one chance to capture key moments, make it an art form that is very difficult to master.

This week we’re highlighting Joseph Barringhaus, who among his other endeavors is an accomplished photographer. Joseph’s broad work experience includes portrait work, sporting event coverage, other event work, and videography. A few weeks ago he photographed the Archdiocesan Youth Conference for Galveston-Houston, and captured some truly gorgeous shots of Benediction:

My name is Joseph Barringhaus. I’ve recently accepted a job as the Director of Marketing and Events for a Catholic Church in Grapevine, TX. Between working full time and planning a wedding with my future bride, I work as a freelance photographer and marketer in the DFW area as well as doing photography with a local studio. My goal has never been to be a Catholic creative only. Don’t get me wrong, I love being Catholic, I love the Catholic Creative community, and I really enjoy Catholic photography/events, hence why I’m a freelance photographer for Catholic events, but my goal is really to be a great photographer and marketer, a great creative, in all aspects of my craft and also be Catholic. That’s what drives me to get better as a photographer and marketer, as a creative, and to try new things. Knowing that I can be authentically Catholic in every aspect of my work and that that identity shows throughout every aspect of my work. That’s why I’m a Catholic Creative.
— Joseph Barringhaus

I love what Joseph says about identity, that being authentically Catholic must shine through every aspect of our work. I think he has grasped the core of what being a Catholic Creative is all about. Whatever our art form might be, wherever we have been placed to create, and however we make that happen, all of these are bound together and lifted high with the strength of our faith, uniting us and our work with God the uncreated Creator, in whose sacred Act of Creation we have somehow been privileged enough to participate.

We wish Joseph the best in his future endeavors; feel free to contact him or hire him for your photography needs!


 
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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services

Creation of the Week 62 - Nicholas McCann: Freelance Logo Design Work

Logo Design is one of the most challenging areas of graphic design. To create an image that contains within itself the core identity of the organization in question, in a way that is easy to read, easy to remember, and recognisable at a distance, is a very challenging thing.

I feel like creating a good logo is like mastering another language. When you really want to speak another language well, it’s not enough to memorize vocabulary, irregular verbs, or key phrases, piecing together the elements that the language is comprised of. There’s much more to it. Language is the verbal expression of a whole cultural reality, and in order to speak the language “like a native”, you have to assimilate that culture at an intense level.

Logo design works the same way; you have to understand what a company is about, what it stands for, the geographical context it operates in, the age, dreams, desires, and fears of its customers. You have to take all that information, and create something that brings it all into one small space. And that is tough.

I think this is why there are so many who attempt freelance logo design, and yet so few who really excel at it. So when we find someone who has really nailed the logo design process, it’s a remarkable achievement.

This week we’re highlighting Nicholas McCann, a graphic artists from Austin who’s fascinating logo work encapsulates the look and feel of the southwest, blending bright colors, cultural elements, and a focused approach that makes his logos both appealing and memorable.

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In his own words:

I am a freelance graphic artist and brand consultant based in Austin, Texas.

I specialize in creating hand-made and sleek-modern graphics for small and large business’s visual identity (logos, icons, illustrations, patterns, typography, color libraries etc.). The style that I work in is uniquely southwestern at its core and can adapt to meet your needs. Whether the need is for a set of vintage icons that use the desert for inspiration, a gritty campaign that taps into the roughness of the cowboy lifestyle, or establishing a brand to have an overall feeling of the American southwest, I’m your man to do the job!

Give me a holler if you want a southwestern spin to your business and want the job done well!
— Nicholas McCann
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Check out Nicholas’ portfolio here! The variety that he has been able to create, while paying such close attention to his clients’ cultural reality, is outstanding.

My main takeaway from studying Nicholas’ work a little more deeply is that our art is valuable and it is needed. In a world so full of ugliness, so many people around us are waiting for more beauty to be added to their lives, and very often they’re ready to pay for it. Don’t be afraid to get your work out there, to grow it, build it, improve it, sell it. Find your market and go to town. You’ve been entrusted with the sacred spark of divine beauty; don’t hide it under the bushel basket of fear, self-doubt, laziness or excuses. Let it shine.

Feel free to contact Nicholas or hire him to make you a great logo!


 
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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services

Creation of the Week 61 - Sean Beeson - Soundtrack Composition for Word On Fire

Music has an almost unparalleled power to stir our emotions, striking chords within us that we may not even have known were there before. Music is also a central element in scriptural imagery, as well as in much of mythology. Tolkien fans will recall the Ainulindalë, in which the creation account of Middle Earth is framed in a breathtaking symphonic narrative. C.S. Lewis’ account of the creation of Narnia portrays the world literally being sung into existence by the great Lion, Aslan.

I believe that this is no accident. I believe there’s music written into our hearts and into the world around us in a way that words fail to describe, the pounding throb of ecstasy that can only recall from afar the echoes of the voice of God speaking in our hearts.

This week we’re highlighting Sean Beeson, a musician, composer, and digital audio production master. Recently Sean composed the soundtrack for the trailer for the next “Pivotal Players” production from Bishop Barron and Word on Fire. Enjoy:

The music in this piece is beautiful, evoking feelings ranging from epic raw emotional power to peaceful focused harmony, supplementing and supporting the flow of the piece without distracting or calling attention to itself above the narrative of voices and imagery.

And yet every creation points not to itself, but to the mind of its creator. Sean Beeson is a remarkable example of artistic creator and polished professional, besides being an all around solid guy, husband and father, with a great sense of humor and a heart for service. And he rocks a mustache, which is a rare accomplishment!

In his own words:

I am a 34 year old composer, producer, and sound designer who lives in rural Ohio. I am a husband and father to five children. We are parishioners of Sacred Heart of Jesus Bethlehem, Ohio where I am also a music teacher a few hours a week (to teach my own army of children!!) and a choir director, pianist, and organist.

As a composer I have worked on hundreds of sacred and secular media projects including games, films, trailers, ads, with clients like Google, SpiritJuice, Word on Fire, Taco Bell, Disney, Sprout Studio, Wizards of the Coast, and Sony.

As a sound designer, I have designed sounds for Google apps, and hardware devices as a UX sound designer.

What I do is driven by my passion to create emotionally engaging music, and fueled by technology. I use cutting edge tools to create authentic sounding scores using a stack of workstation computers and also working with live musicians and orchestras when the projects allow for it!

I sit down at an acoustic piano and sketch ideas out until I find something that I feel strengthens the core purpose of the project, be it emotional music, neutral underscore, or intense, driven themes. I then begin to mockup the idea into a fully-produced, realized version of the sketch, tweaking it as needed until it fits the final projects perfectly.

It is my job as a composer to bring extra beauty, life, intensity (or lack thereof!), to your visual art. What I am doing is engineering music to evoke whatever emotional response will help a project sound its best.
— Sean Beeson

Sean was highlighted in this short from the Benedict XVI Institute, created by Spirit Juice Studios.

Personally I’m a well-intentioned and enthusiastic, but unpolished and undisciplined musician. So for me Sean’s prowess is particularly inspiring and uplifting. But I think all of us can learn from his example.

To see him continue to pursue, improve, and share his music with the world in the midst of the duties of life and family, with such determination and grace, is extraordinary.

Don’t give up on your art, people. It isn’t always, or even often, easy, but it will always be worthwhile, and if you put in the effort, you will reap the reward of mastery.

Feel free to contact Sean or hire him for all your digital music needs!


 
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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services

Creation of the Week 60 - Joe Pelletier - Unleash the Gospel Video: "Reading the Bible"

It seems like everywhere we turn, we see division, pain, and darkness. Even inside the Church itself, we’re constantly confronted with examples of human brokenness and the the pain that that brings in its wake. It can feel like the work we do in evangelization isn’t enough, and isn’t making a difference. But if we look around we find that we’re not alone, and that there are lots of positive things happening in the Church. Unleash the Gospel is a prime example.

If you haven’t heard of Unleash the Gospel, you should really check them out. It’s an evangelization program started by the Archdiocese of Detroit that has been making waves due to their cutting-edge approach to the New Evangelization. With their website, videos, magazine, and other means of outreach, they have created a powerhouse for spreading the joy of the gospel. This week we have the unique opportunity to study one of the pieces created by their team, and learn a bit more about one of the talented individuals behind it.

I’m speaking specifically about the piece that AOD did featuring Fr. Mario Amore on how to approach reading Sacred Scripture. You you can view it here:

I find this particular piece is remarkable in several ways, very much in keeping with the achievements of the program as a whole. The motion graphics work is intricate, clean, modern, and adds a great visual aid to the commentary, without distracting from it. Making the processes of scriptural exegesis available and relatable is a daunting task, but the combined simplicity and precision of the writing of this piece, combined with that spot-on visual storytelling, make this a unique and compelling accomplishment.

I reached out to Joe Pelletier, who made the video, because I wanted to understand more about the Unleash the Gospel program, and about the individuals who are working to make that vision a reality. Here’s what Joe kindly sent me:

I work in the Communications Department for the Archdiocese of Detroit as one of a three-man video team. With such a small crew we get to wear many hats and work in everything from on-set video production to editing and post-production to motion graphics.

This project in particular is part of an ongoing series featuring Fr. Mario Amore, pastor of St Aloysius Parish in downtown Detroit, giving his personal reflections on common questions Catholics and non-Catholics may have.

The idea behind producing motion graphics on top of the recorded audio (as opposed to simply releasing the audio track on its own) is to give as much visual aid to the audience as possible given the sometimes complex nature of the topics. Some of the themes lend themselves well to visual accompaniment and others are a bit more abstract so it’s always a creative challenge trying to find the best way to present. I draw a lot of inspiration from the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism books, which are absolutely brilliant in illuminating theologically deep concepts in simple illustrations.

In a way this series embodies the spirit of the Unleash the Gospel movement happening in the Archdiocese of Detroit. If we can present the world with simple, easily digestible kernels of truth packaged in an engaging presentation, we’ve provided them with an attractive shallow entry point into the ocean of God’s richness.

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve watching old James Stewart and Bing Crosby films with my grandfather. Those classic movies are so rich in virtue and demonstrate the incredible potential of the visual mediums, film in particular, as a force for good. From an early age I was hooked.

Being husband to an amazing young woman and father to a curious one year old boy has helped me to realize that, as Samwise put it, there is indeed good in this world and it is worth fighting for. Beauty, truth and goodness will always be worth fighting for.

I’m a bit on the quiet side so I couldn’t be more blessed than to be able to share the treasures of the Catholic faith through art and hopefully spark in someone else the same feelings of joy and hope I experienced as a little boy watching “The Bells of St. Mary’s” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.
— Joe Pelletier

I think anyone can benefit from Joe’s example, and from what Unleash the Gospel is doing. He is very good at what he does, and his faith provides the rock-solid foundation for his life and work in evangelization. If you haven’t checked out what Unleash the Gospel is doing, it’s worth taking a look at, and imitating. These guys are on the front lines of evangelization today, working to spread the light of the gospel in a world that seems to be growing more and more dark.

So if you feel like your work isn’t making a difference, or if it feels like a drop in the ocean of problems that surround us, take courage, and keep fighting. Don’t be afraid to let your light shine, because it’s nothing less than the light of Christ light shining within you.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.
— John 1:5

Feel free to contact Joe or check out the Unleash the Gospel website to learn more.


 
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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services

Creation of the Week 59 - Charles Collins' Glassworks

Art is broad reality, the multifaceted expression of the human experience, our innate search for beauty and truth that is nothing less than the thirst for God in our hearts. Among all the art forms out there, at least in my opinion, one of the ones that best blends practical application with aesthetic power, is the art of glass blowing.

Creating something that is designed to be both useful and beautiful is remarkable. Add working at mind-boggling temperatures into the mix, and you have quite a unique craft. And that’s exactly what Charles Collins loves most about this medium, and we’re featuring his work this week. He recently created a set of whiskey glasses that are not only hand-blown, but are inlaid with gold leaf. I reached out to Charles for an intro:

My name is Charles Collins. I was raised in Mobile, Alabama, one of five children. I have an older sister and three younger brothers. I graduated from the University of South Alabama as a four-time letterman in Track & Field throwing the javelin. While earning a degree in Sports Management I started blowing and manipulating glass in my senior year. During that first class three years ago, I fell in love with the art form.

After graduation, on a leap of faith, I moved to Houston, Texas to intern at Western Academy, a private liberal arts school for boys. I have just completed my first year as a full-time teacher for Western Academy as the Art Director, P.E. Coach, Assistant Football Coach, and Head Track & Field Coach.

Upon moving to Houston, I found a small glass studio, Three Dimensional Visions, where I continued my passion for glass blowing. After a few months of renting time at the studio, Three Dimensional Visions offered me an internship which turned into a part time position as an assistant Gaffer (glass blower). With this opportunity I was able to start my own Glass Crafting business. I blow glass because I love the danger of it all and the beauty that results.

Gathering glass at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, stretching, shaping, blowing, to form something that compliments the light so well is like nothing else. The way the glass feels, how it moves, and the limitless applications are all very exciting. Glass Blowing and coaching are my passions, I am blessed to be able to do both.
— Charles Collins

To me this is the sign of a true artist and artisan: his passion and excitement for what he does. He talks about glass blowing the way I talk about pulled pork, but that’s a separate issue. As someone who’s been interested in glass blowing for a while, I found it fascinating to hear about the art form from an insider, someone who actually does it for a living. After reading his introduction I spent more time than I’d like to admit to watching glass blowing videos on YouTube. Don’t start down that path; you’ve been warned.

Here are a few samples of his work.

I think Charles’ example is remarkable because he has discovered his main passions in life, and what’s more has put in the hard work that it takes to master them and make a living doing them. As a collegiate athlete, a coach, and an Artist and craftsman, his dedication to what he does is an invitation to all of us to find what we love, and then master what we find. Maybe our achievements won’t happen at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, but that same effort and determination are invaluable assets in the pursuit of our art, and of our dreams.

Feel free to contact Charles, or hire him for customized glass creations.


 
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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services

Creation of the Week 58 - Nicholas DeRose and Ascension's "Confession is a Place of Victory"

A few weeks ago the Catholic Community buzzed with the launch of a video called “Confession is a Place of Victory”, part of Ascension Press’ awesome new series called The 99. Featuring the unforgettable Fr. Mike Schmitz, and the beautiful animation work of the legendary Todd Bright, the video is a stellar accomplishment from many perspectives: cinematography, animation, storytelling, and evangelization, to name a few. Here it is, if you haven’t seen it yet:

Confession is not an easy topic, in any circle, and it is probably one of the most widely misunderstood and most heavily under-appreciated means of sanctification that the Church offers. Taking full advantage of Fr. Mike’s uncanny ability to explain things in a way that is refreshingly engaging, memorable, and relatable, the Ascension team has presented the sacrament in a way that anyone can connect with.

Artistically, the project is a masterpiece. The look and feel that the crew was able to achieve, with the help of some huge lights and expert color grading, is stunning. It blends perfectly with the beautiful animations to create a work of art in the truest sense, that simultaneously enlightens, uplifts, and teaches the viewer.

While this video is obviously the accomplishment of many people, we wanted to focus in a little bit on the man who directed it, Nicholas DeRose. After working for years with Ascension Press, Nicholas has recently struck out on his own.

Anyone who has made the jump into freelancing or starting their own business, especially if they are supporting a young family, can attest to the daunting nature of that decision. It takes guts to leave the security of a steady paycheck and a regular schedule, and expand into unknown horizons to make it on your own. But the possibilities that open up in front of you when you take a step like that often prove to be beyond your wildest dreams.

I reached out to Nicholas for a bit of an intro:

I am the Founder and Director of Visual Rose Productions.

I grew up loving movies and how they were made. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Lost left huge impressions on me. My mom homeschooled my siblings and I growing up and that’s where I fell in love with Catholicism.

It’ll be eight years this September that I will have been married to my beautiful wife. Being a father of three has really changed my perspective of beauty. Before kids I thought of beauty in terms of music, lighting, art, video and I still think that’s all true but what’s even more beautiful are the small moments, the memories, the interactions I experience with my wife and children.

I love being a father to them like God is a father to me. Being a husband and father is and will always be the most thrilling adventure of my life. It’s in the home with family and God that beauty is found.

I worked ten years for Ascension and have recently jumped into doing my business full-time. I learned a lot from my time there and it’s been an adjustment for me and my family over the past few months but we are beginning to settle in to the new role / schedule. Having more autonomy over my work and spending more time with family has been huge. I love what I do and I am excited for this journey that God has me on.

I think that’s a pretty remarkable approach, and one that anyone can benefit from imitating. To me it seems evident that Nicholas is a man of God, a man for his family, and a master of his craft, and that’s a combination that is not easy to find. Oh and his demo reel is pretty fantastic, if you haven’t seen it.

If fear is keeping you from taking a leap, or even a step, in your life or career, look to examples of people like Nicholas DeRose. They are living proof that although it’s not easy, it’s worth it, and that when you expand beyond the horizon of what you know, you begin to understand the extent of your potential.

Feel free to contact Nicholas, or hire him for any of your film needs.


 
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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services

Creation of the Week 57 - Chris Alles' St. Charles Borromeo

In this day and age, it sometimes seems like practically anything can be called art, and no questions are asked. So when we come across a true masterpiece, the breathtaking result of decades of the painstakingly determined mastery of a centuries-old craft, it is a stunning accomplishment.  This is exactly what Chris Alles has achieved.  

This week we’re featuring Chris for his bronze-cast statue of St. Charles Borromeo that he created for the church of St. Charles Borromeo in Montgomery Township, NJ. A brief visit to his website portfolio reveals that his talents go far beyond his bronzework, but that’s the focus of today’s post. Check out Chris’ freelancer profile or portfolio.

Chris is a sculptor currently residing in New York.  He began drawing at the age of two, but it was not until sixteen years later that he began to take art seriously. His passion for art ultimately led him to Florence, Italy, where he apprenticed for six months under sculptor Dony MacManus. 

There, he discovered the beauty and power of the Italian Renaissance masters, and in the presence of the raw energy of their work, he encountered the need to become a sculptor.

After his time in Italy, Christopher returned to his hometown of Portland, Oregon and continued his studies with Polish sculptor Tomasz Misztal. Under Misztal’s guidance, he discovered how to link the influence of the past with that of the present. 

Consequently, his work often references and quotes artists ranging from the Renaissance to the early to mid-twentieth century. The primary process behind the creation of his art consists of a study from the past and its development to now, then responding to the contemporary world in light of this study.

Christopher has been commissioned for projects throughout the US, from church restoration projects to religious statuary, including most recently a set of reliquaries for the St. Joseph Dominican Province.

In 2018, Monsignor Gregory Malovetz, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Montgomery Township, NJ, commissioned Christopher Alles to sculpt an image of the saint. The pastor and artist decided together to depict a typical scene from the Saint’s life: St. Charles serving the poor. Christopher decided to focus on the penitential aspect of this relationship, showing Borromeo receiving the poor man’s confession. Here one can clearly see quotes from Rembrandt’s famous Prodigal Son painting.

We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: ‘I will pray, and then I will understand.’ This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work. In meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in others.
— St. Charles Borromeo
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If I have learned anything from Chris, it’s to never give up in the pursuit of mastery.  We are all given gifts and talents that it is our task to develop, perfect, and ultimately put at the service of God and others.  It’s precisely in the often unrewarding daily drudgery, the small steps towards perfection, that from our own clay we will one day find our own masterpiece taking shape.

Feel free to contact Chris, or hire him if you’