Unveiling at St. Marks by the Narrows

The banner “Who Is My Neighbor?,”  commissioned by St. Marks Lutheran Church by the Narrows in Tacoma WA, was unveiled this Sunday. Pastor Jan Ruud wove the theme of the banner into his sermon. I wish I could have been there.

Kristen Gilje's "Who Is My Neighbor?" with pastor Jan Ruud, St. Mark's Tacoma WA
Kristen Gilje’s “Who Is My Neighbor?” with pastor Jan Ruud, St. Mark’s Tacoma WA

Who is My Neighbor?

©2013 Kristen Gilje Who is My Neighbor?

New silk banner for St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by the Narrows, Tacoma, WA

©2013 Kristen Gilje  Who is My Neighbor?
©2013 Kristen Gilje Who is My Neighbor? 84″ x 45″ hand painted silk dye on silk.

This is the third year in a row St. Marks has commissioned me to make a banner supporting their annual theme. This year’s theme, “Who is My Neighbor,” I’m particularly happy to be supporting.

det-who-is-2

My assignment was to take inspiration from these places:

  • The hymn “Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love”
  • ingoring the traditional boundaries that keep people apart
  • Dan Erlander’s drawings from his book “Manna and Mercy”
  • He Qi’s painting “Peace Be Still”

det-who-is-lettering

My calligrapher friend Laura Norton designed the lettering. She always does a beautiful job. [email protected]

The design for this piece came very quickly, it was the first sketch I made. .  I was indeed inspired by the simplicity of Dan Erlander’s paintings, and even more so from He Qi’s art, where color and shapes are strong and flat.

det-who-is
Detail “Who Is My Neighbor

 

I actually “quoted” some passages from He Qi’s figures, (like I did from Picasso in the painting “Abu Graib and the Twin Towers: A Lesson from Picasso” see image below) Because I was playing with He Qi’s style, I made a note of that right on the piece. I gave credit to him on the banner, writing in the signature area “In the style of He Qi”. That’s the turquoise bar on the bottom left side of the banner above.

Kristen Gilje, Abu Graib and the Twin Towers: A Lesson from Picasso, hand painted silk, 20049 ft x 55 in.,
©Kristen Gilje, Abu Graib and the Twin Towers: A Lesson from Picasso, hand painted silk 10 feet by 55 inches

 

 

It’s interesting learning from other artists this way. I went to Picasso when I was trying to do a painting about war, torture and other atrocities of Abu Graib. You can see easy references to  Picasso’s  “Guernica” here, all through my piece.
So I gave credit to Picasso in my title, which then has a double meaning. Picasso instructed me in art, and he instructs us all in the terror of war.

He Qi, thanks for teaching me about the power of simple flat forms and color to tell a powerful story.