The season of Advent begins on Sunday, December 1, running through Christmas Eve. Our artwork for Advent this year is by Jeremy Grant—keep reading to learn about the artist, the artwork, and its meaning.
Jeremy Grant is an emerging artist and award-winning graphic designer. He was born in California in 1985. He studied Graphic Design and Illustration at John Brown University. Grant has exhibited his collage and assemblage work regularly across Colorado since 2008. An active member of local arts communities, Jeremy has been invited to participate in numerous group shows, donated art to charity, and been awarded a PPAC micro-grant. His work explores themes of destruction and creation, death and resurrection, and chaos and familiarity. Jeremy Grant currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado.
Often during Advent, I contemplate the calling of John the Baptist—“to prepare the way of the LORD,” and to “make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” This calling feels just as relevant for us as it was for him.
The people of God had been waiting for Messiah, their Savior King, for hundreds of years. Generations upon generations had lived and died and not seen the promise fulfilled.
John’s prophetic calling took him on a difficult path through the desert to preach a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. John was asked to clear the path for the coming Messiah, Jesus.
The scriptures that refer to this calling paint a picture where “every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low.”
The subject of the piece is a landscape that visualizes the work of John the Baptist—the transition from rough, mountainous terrain to open plains is making smooth the way of the LORD. The mountains are cut from pieces that I felt had a sense of static and a feeling of brokenness. We still live in a broken reality. Some brokenness is obvious and agonizing, and other times brokenness is characterized by the monotony of existence—the lack of joy, color, and celebration.
The extra-long proportion of the piece is meant to convey the passage of time, a sense of waiting and of a long journey still ahead. The dark to light transition hints at the coming sunrise, our current reality is dim, but the bright light of the coming messiah is a dawn on the horizon.
Click on an image below to enlarge.
The complete, final piece:
The sequential pieces, with Advent titles:
Hand-cut paper collage inspired by the themes of the season of Advent.
At first, I sought to express brokenness through fragmented pieces—tiny windows into pain. Ultimately, this felt a little one-dimensional and I left it in favor of the landscape idea which had a more rich meaning (see final artwork above).
In another early concept, I envisioned cracks and a shattered pattern getting less and less cracked -the color getting brighter and brighter as the collage progressed. U;timately, I felt like it was—again—less robust of an idea, and cracks don’t really “heal themselves.” It’s difficult to express that idea, even though I liked the graphic potential of it.
Lastly, an image of the final collage in-process, before I added the pink squares. The squares sort of came to symbolize markers in the passage of time, little ebeneezers if you will.