Monday, August 07, 2006


Originally uploaded by stymie924.
This is a very quick Photoshop sketch depicting the baptism of Jesus by John. I am working on a few biblical themed illustrations here and there to market to Churches for use in worship multimedia presentations...

Obviously, this is a pretty rough, unpolished sketch... The reason I stuck with this image is because I had been noodling over the idea that John the Baptist was possibly black. I don't know why, but I started to really put it together in my head that this was possible. I know that, according to scripture John was related to Jesus and was, in fact from the same town of Nazareth. Still, suppose, his father Zacharias had married a Jew from Northern Africa... That could explain it... Maybe??

Who knows. I do think it's safe to assume that Jesus and his contemporaries didn't look like Def Lappard...

In any case, I abandoned this sketch because it really is lousy and I can do much better. I see promise in this piece, though, in that it is forcing me to look at my faith in a different way--through different eyes. I truly feel like it's important for me to challnge, through art, the commonly-accepted view of scripture as completely WASP-ish and Euro-centric. That is, I want to try and visualize scripture in a more appropriate historical context... We'll see what happens.


aunt marg said...

james--its funny--i had seen this
photo on another site earlier and had been intrigued
with your working with water as well as the glow surrounding John the Baptist---I had not even noticed that he was black until i was reading your post on this site. You
should have taken survey as to what people saw that they liked or disliked about the painting or to sort of critique the painting---just would be curious how many had actually been seeing the art and work in it(good or bad)...and how many would not have been able to see beyond the color of a man's skin. Just a thought...i would like to think that what we see is a wonderful figure of John the Batist with Jesus at a most special time in his life and
how hard it is to work with
water etc. yet, it would have been interesting...

Meigo said...

Last night, I dreamt I was in a play about Jesus and I was playing the part of John the Baptist. In the dream I looked like a tall, Black man with a shroud, a knobby staff and medium big hair. Then rain started pouring down the 13 people in the center of the stage. This morning, I googled John the Baptist and learned his gospel was mostly about baptisms. Then I googled John Baptist was Black and found your site. Your image is great!