In God’s Image Interview Series

In God’s Image : Illustrator : Javier Saltares

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in In God's Image Interview Series, Interviews

Over the last several months, I’ve had the privilege of working with Art Ayris and his team at Kingstone Media. One of Kingstone’s collaborators is Javier “Jarv” Saltares, an illustrator whose art you have likely seen. He has worked on Wolverine and Ghost Rider for Marvel, as well as G.I. Joe for IDW (he was penciller on the acclaimed “Cobra: Civil War” arc).

Jarv also did work on Book of God, which I recommended earlier this year, and he was kind enough to participate in 3LC’s ongoing “In God’s Image” series. Below are his answers to our standard questions, and I hope you’ll take the time to get to know him better and seek out some of his work.

 

1. Define yourself in one word (Disciple, Christian, American, Man, etc.)

Man

 

2. Why do you choose that term?

That’s what I am, one of many.

 

3. In two sentences, tell us about your artistic endeavors, what you produce and who you see as your audience?

I am a story teller. That’s why I choose to illustrate comics. I love the idea of telling stories visually. Words are fine but pictures fill in blanks words can’t. My audience is anyone who enjoys the same.

 

4.What was the latest comic to feature your art and what led to its creation? Can you give us your favorite three books on which you’ve worked?

Latest book I’ve worked on is “Esther” for Kingstone Media. It was written by Ben Avery. A fun book. Favorite books I’ve worked on are my own David’s Mighty Men, Ghost Rider, and Wolverine. (Still a comic geek.)

 

5. How has your career as an artist required you to sacrifice?

Having to work to put food on the table always gets in the way of working on things I would much rather be doing. I sacrifice doing my own projects to work for others. I also sacrifice a steady income. This life isn’t for everyone.

 

6.What is your primary goal as an artist?

To produce something others truly enjoy. That they find some personal value in it. 

 

7. What is your largest hope for those who engage your art?

To be effected by it in the way that I am while I’m doing it. That we, the audience and I, make that connection.

 

8. What are two key ways in which you believe your art benefits readers today?

Hopefully, that they are moved and inspired by it.

 

9. How have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness in your work?

The fact that others are willing to pay me to do something I enjoy is all the goodness need.

 

10. How can readers learn more about you and your art?

Google my name. There’s plenty out there about me and my work.

 
 
 
 
 

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In God’s Image: Author & Publisher : Art Ayris

Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in In God's Image Interview Series, Interviews

Art Ayris is living my dream. He’s the founder and CEO of Kingstone Media, where he and his team have created some of the best comics with a faith-based message to hit the market. His work has resulted in adaptations of Biblical classics as well as original ideas. The quality of Kingstone’s releases and the success they’ve garnered have enabled to team with studios such as Sony Worldwide while also working with heavy hitters in the evangelical culture like Ravi Zacharias. At the end of the day, Art has led his team to produce a library that is sure to contain something for any comic fan. I have already had the pleasure of reviewing standalone comics retelling the stories of Jonah and Job, as well as the original graphic novels, Book of God and Echoes of Eden; and I look forward to reviewing several more graphic novels from Kingstone this fall.

Art was willing to participate in 3LC’s ongoing “In His Image” series, and I invite you to join me in getting to know Art Ayris, Founder and CEO of Kingstone Media.

 

1. Define yourself in one word (Disciple, Christian, American, Man, etc.)

Creative

 

2. Why do you choose that term?

Reflection and homage to the Creator and a real-time shot of who Kingstone is as well.

 

3.  In two sentences, tell us about Kingstone Media, what you produce and who you see as your audience.

‘Marvel’ and ‘DC Comics’ quality faith-oriented comics and graphic novels. Our initial target was boys 10-14 but we quickly discovered that the swath is much wider than that.

 

4. What is your latest release and what led to its creation?

The Lamb and the Fuhrer, the first graphic novel by Dr. Ravi Zacharias. One of our investors was very passionate to see this project done. It was a great fit for a graphic novel.

 

5. How has the development of Kingstone Mediarequired you to sacrifice?

Time with family and friends, guess we’ll have some sweet times in heaven. I serve as a pastor at a blowing and going church and also run a growing comic book company.

 

6. What is your primary goal as a publisher? How about as an author?

Build faith in the hearts of people and capture their imaginations for the Kingdom. Ditto.

 

7. What is your largest hope for those who engage Kingstone’s products?

That they will share them with the unchurched and then engage them in conversation.

 

8. What are two key ways in which you believe Kingstone Mediabenefits readers today?

One, an outreach resource for churches and Christians to share with unchurched in a safe format to begin investigating Christianity and the Bible.

Two, a resource for kids who are maybe reluctant reader to be able to discover the richness of the Biblical and Christian story.

 

9. How have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness in your work with Kingstone Media?

Reports of teens in juvenile facilities coming to Christ. God’s supply and provision.

 

10. How can readers learn more about you and your work?

Visit www.kingstonecomics.com
 

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In God’s Image : Author and Professor : Craig Detweiler

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in In God's Image Interview Series, Interviews

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of recommending iGods, a book that explores the history of some of our modern ubiquitous technology as well as its affect on our lives. The book’s author, Craig Detweiler, became head of Biola University’s Mass Communications department during my last year in the screenwriting program, and he continued to hold that position when I returned to the university as a staff member two years later (we have since both moved into new employment).

Though we never developed a relationship while we were both on the same campus, Craig always seemed approachable, and I always heard of his doing excellent work for the school. Given this Biola connection, I contacted him during Stronghold‘s release, and we have corresponded here and there since that time. Following my recommendation of iGods, I asked Craig to participate in 3LC’s ongoing “In God’s Image” series, and he took some time to share with thoughts on his work, his goals, and his faith.

1. Define yourself in one word (Disciple, Christian, American, Man, etc.)

Human

 

2. Why do you choose that term?

My goal is be fully human (since only Jesus was also fully divine).  If I can live into my humanity, then hopefully I will end up closer to who God’s created me to be.

 

3. In two sentences, tell us about your most recent book, iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives—what it is and for whom its intended.

iGods is an effort to push the pause button on our electronic devices long enough to think carefully about how they impact our everyday lives. It was written for every harried student, frustrated parent, and stressed out human struggling to keep up with all the texts, tweets, and updates that barrage us.

 

4. What led to the writing of iGods? Was it a specific event or was it a more general decision based on the culture?

I was looking for a book that offered a theology of technology, that would help me figure out what digital discipleship might look like.   At the end of my search, I decided to craft my own response to Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

 

5. How has your writing and teaching required you to sacrifice?

You definitely lose a bit of sleep writing a book. I tend to write best when things are quiet in our home (between roughly 10pm and 2am).   And of course, my family also pays the price when my brain is thinking about the book rather than about them.   A book or a cell phone can easily become a distraction and even an idol.

 

6. What is your primary goal as an educator? What about as an author?

I love how Jesus ended so many of his stories by addressing them to people with eyes to see and ears to hear.   My work as a filmmaker, teacher, and author aims to awaken the senses and broaden hearts and minds.

 

7. What is your largest hope for those you teach? What about for your readers?

I try to give them permission to become the people God created them to be. They often just need a little encouragement to love the things they’re already passionate about and pursue the dreams that they’ve held themselves back from pursuing.   As a writer and teacher and filmmaker, I try to create the things I wish I’d heard or seen.

 

8. What are two key ways in which you believe iGods can benefit readers today?

I’m trying to offer a bit of perspective, to get us thinking about how code might be preconditioning us to act in way we hadn’t realized.   For example, when Facebook encourages us to ‘update status’, aren’t we subconsciously upgrading our status—creating posts that make us look or sound better?   And when Twitter invites us to attract followers, aren’t we actually turning our friends into our audience?   In both cases, we are becoming performers, playing to a crowd. Such outer-directed behavior may push us away from the God-directed callings we’re meant to pursue.

 

9. How have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness in your work with your current students at Pepperdine University? How about with your books?

As a college professor, I’ve seen how technology has accelerated anxiety and undercut students’ sense of rest.   So I’ve tried to respond with a theology rooted in my current students’ context.   What are their questions and what do they need? The response to iGods has been so much wider and far more enthusiastic than I expected. Evidently, the book really connects with challenges that people are grappling with. I even won an award from indie publishers as one of the best books on pop culture this year!   iGods may not stand the test of time, but it is certainly timely today.

 

10. How can readers learn more about you and your work?

Just because I question social media, doesn’t mean that I’m not part of it every single day.   Look for me on Facebook or Twitter or blogging as “Doc Hollywood” for patheos.com.

 
 
 
 

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In God’s Image : Sculptor : Rocco Tartamella

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in In God's Image Interview Series, Interviews

In this edition of “In God’s Image”, we will get to know Rocco Tartamella, a professional sculptor who has worked in the toy industry for over a decade. Rocco and I met at Toy Fair 2008, when I was covering collectibles news, and I ran coverage on several fascinating personal projects on which he was working at the time. We struck a chord to such a degree that he even let me leave the show with a souvenir from his table (and it is excellent).

Years later, for reasons I do not recall, we touched base once again and quickly found that we had common ground well beyond our love of the collecting hobby. We were both Men of Faith, and our connection over values and deeper issues became not only apparent but altogether ingrained in our ongoing conversation.

Today I invite you to get to know Rocco a bit better, as he is in the midst of pursuing a noteworthy project: releasing an Archangel Michael Collectible Action Figure via Kickstarter, in what he hopes will be the first in a line of collectibles featuring Angels and Demons of the Scripture. Truly Rocco displays that he is made in God’s Image, serving as a subcreator in our Created World.

Please join me in reading about Rocco’s work and vision:

 

1. Define Yourself in one word (Disciple, Writer, Christian, Athlete, American, Man, etc.) and tell us why you chose that term.

Artist.

I’m an artist through and through. The way I approach most things in life is through these eyes, as a husband, as a father, as a friend. The way I see and appreciate people, the richness in the way I experience the world and the creative ways in which I use my talents to convey what I see in the form of sculpture are all done with the heart and soul of an artist. It’s an interesting question, it makes you think, because before this I don’t think I really thought of myself as an artist per se. I kind of just thought of myself as this guy who really likes sculpting, but yeah, artist… that’s what I am.

 

2. In two sentences, tell us about your kickstarter project for Archangel Michael—what it is and who you think will enjoy it.

The Archangel Michael Kickstarter project is the first angel in a highly detailed, articulated action figure series called Angels & Demons, depicting the ongoing epic battle between good and evil and brought to life in the artistic arena of ridiculously cool posable collectibles. Though the subject matter is spiritual or supernatural I believe the series will have a broad interest; there are so many that believe in and call on angels for help and protection and having Archangel Michael gracing your home will be a cool, hip, and steadfast reminder of his everlasting vigilance in defending us against lurking evils.

 

3. What led to the creation of Archangel Michael? Was it a specific event or was it a more general decision to get on Kickstarter?

When my son was about 5 1/2, he would sometimes feel afraid of the dark. So naturally my wife tried to assure him that he had nothing to fear but when my son has an idea in his head it’s really difficult to convince him otherwise and so it began. In addition to our normal nightly routine we tried many different approaches which included several different night lights and finally a flashlight. 

Try as we might, none of these things seemed to provide him with any lasting comfort. Finally, Krissie came down stairs with an Archangel Michael medal and handed it to my son. She explained to him that the Archangel Michael has defeated the greatest darkness in the world and that he would come to his aid whenever he felt he couldn’t face his troubles alone. My son got so excited at the notion that there is this super cool, armored angel leading God’s army that he went to bed without a hitch for the first time in weeks. 

It must have really left an impression because the following morning he wanted to know all about this magnificent archangel; so we read descriptions from various Scriptures, looked at paintings and bronzed statues adorning churches but a lot of the images didn’t seem to shore up with an angel that is powerful enough to cast the devil himself out of heaven. 

Enter the sculptor in the house. I wanted my son to have a truly awesome visual depiction of the most bad-to-the-bone archangel, so I got to work. I sculpted night and day between paying gigs, stopping every now and then as my son peered over my shoulder to check on Michael’s status. When I finally finished, my son was over the moon with excitement and immediately wanted to hold the sculpture and take it off to his room. I had to explain that the materials I use to sculpt with aren’t suitable for that and it would have to be rendered in a harder material. Krissie popped in and said, “why don’t you make it a line of action figures?” 

I had just finished sculpting the first line of Street Fighter action figures shown at Toy Fair 2014, and my hands were ready for more but the major hurtle to overcome with action figures is that they can be incredibly expensive to get tooled and produce, especially in smaller numbers. 

That’s where Kickstarter comes in as the platform to allow artists like me to potentially produce their work without some of the hang ups that can come up when dealing with certain investors, and of course, the most important part is the support of the good men and women that back projects like mine. Though we have been largely looked over at this point, I just have to say that I am so extremely thankful for all of the people that have backed me to this point and if nothing else, you have reminded me of how wonderful people can be. Thank you!

 

4. How has your sculpting career required you to sacrifice?

We all have sacrifices that we make to pursue our dreams. I worked without pay for eight months at Art Asylum before I worked at McFarlane Toys, I commuted for 6 to 8 hours daily on buses and trains, moved several times, lost friends, fought with family, been threatened with lawsuits, been burned by people I trusted, but I love sculpting. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve been one of those people that thinks the right thing to do is the right thing to do, that people and friendships should come first and if you say you’re going to do something then you do it. So it forever puzzles and amazes me when I come into contact with people that are superficial, say one thing and do another. Its one of those things that has cost me greatly in the past, but I’ve come to realize that those people that are trying to bring you down are living in fear and that’s no way to be. Through the passion and love for what I do I have been able to turn any of my sacrifices into blessings. Sacrifice becomes the most loving thing you can do for yourself, the people around you and those they touch.

 

5. What is your primary goal in sculpting?  What about your primary goal for this kickstarter project specifically?

I think as an artist, the primary goal is to push yourself, to test the limits, the boundaries of what you thought you were capable of and ultimately what you could achieve; you do this while life throws you curve balls and you do the best you can with what you have. For me the ultimate goal would be to have my own toy company and this leads me into your question about my primary goal for this Kickstarter project. The Archangel Michael project is the starting point for me. I do plan on more figures in this line up and am excited to help spread a positive message, a reminder that good always wins. That message is ultimately what my art is all about, this talent was put in my hands, put in my heart by something so much larger than me and that is what needs to come through, that is my primary goal.

 

6. What is your largest hope for your supporters?

I wholeheartedly hope that they know just how much each one of them means to me, not just those who put funding toward this project but also those who sincerely want this to succeed, and those who have helped to promote this project. I want to see those who have backed the project financially to receive the figure in hand knowing that they have helped someone reach their goal, to help someone’s dream come true because doing that, having that as part of your legacy, you become part of that dream, you have made history.

 

7. What are two key ways in which your sculpting is affecting people today?

That might be one of the most interesting things about being a sculptor, or any type of artist for that matter, is that you never really know how your work is affecting people and what kind of impact it is making on them. 

You go through your day-to-day hoping that what you are creating regardless of the subject matter is helping someone, somewhere. I have been fortunate enough to have received many emails and comments over the years where fans have expressed how much my work has inspired them or has been a sentimental reminder of a happy time in their lives. It is truly infinite in the number of ways you can reach and affect people through the arts. 

Recently I have sculpted a line of historical busts that some museums are now starting to carry Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Edgar Allan Poe, from these I have received a lot of positive feedback as well. The packaging for the bronze version of these busts also has historical facts which many find add to the educational value. I’ve also created the Artist’s Anatomy anatomical model which is currently in use at various visual effects studios and schools and also up for consideration by some museums; here too I have received a lot of very positive feedback where it is helping fellow artists.

To pick out two key ways that my sculpting is affecting people, I guess they have helped to inspire and educate those who have collected my work.

 

8. Have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness in your work with collectibles and sculpting? If so, how?

There isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t either have clay or prototypes in my hands. The Creator has been good to me, allowing me to create something different, something inspiring every day. He allows me without fail, to do what I love, to be with my family, to meet great people who inspire me and keep me going when things seem low. I am reminded of my blessings every time someone purchases my sculptures or contacts me for a project that each one of us is inspired by Him to move toward one another.

 

9. How can we learn more, support your kickstarter, or partner with you and get involved?

Well the biggest challenge is to get enough eyes on the project; We have everything in place to move forward with all of the phases of pre-production and final production, prototyping, painting, packaging, production manager, etc. we just need the backing at this point and it’s as good as done. So far we have a pretty good ratio of views to people sponsoring so I’m optimistic but we really need the views. 

That said, the best way to help would be to spread the word. See how many people can be reached, link it on your Facebook page, Tweet about it, Pin it, blog about it and if you feel that it resonates with you then please become a sponsor. It’s the community that can make this happen, community is the reason anything happens. The focus with this project is creating really cool, dynamic looking figures that the religious communities can also rally around. These figures deserve to have their stories told we just need your support. 

 

There you have it. Know a collector, get him or her this!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1486458683/the-archangel-michael-project-7-inch-action-figure

 
 
 
 

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In God’s Image : Recovery Ministry : The Solid Rock Road: Jerry Pineda

Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 in In God's Image Interview Series, Interviews

Wednesday, I posted an interview with Jamee Pineda, co-founder of The Solid Rock Road, a ministry that she began with her husband, Jerry. While I have corresponded with both Jerry and Jamie, it was him with whom I first made contact. I will always appreciate Jerry’s willingness to connect with a small burgeoning author like me, and I look forward to our continued interaction in the future.

Today, we’ll spend some time getting to know Jerry Pineda and hear his heart for ministry.

 

1. Define yourself in one word (Disciple, Christian, American, Man, etc.)

Transformed

 

2. Why do you choose that term?

I have gone from being an addict to the director of a recovery ministry, to acting as a senior pastor, and becoming a church planter.

 

3. In two sentences, tell us about The Solid Rock Road—what it is and for whom it is intended.

It is a 100% Bible-based Christian recovery ministry intended for Christians in addiction. The Solid Rock Road leads people to the path of God and gives them all the resources necessary to stay on it.

 

4. What led to the creation of The Solid Rock Road? Was it a specific event or was it a more general decision?

Having come out of addictions, it was a natural progression. However, my sister-in-law was given the 10 Principles of The Solid Rock Road by the inspiration of God. From there, we created the group process.

 

5. How has your work in ministry required you to sacrifice?

We have been doing groups for the past 12 years. These are closed groups and last about 3 months. We believe that we are responsible for the souls of each group member and so aside from the weekly group, we are doing individual counseling as needed, and interceding. This has always been done in addition to my work as an elder in our home church, and now as senior pastor in our church plant in La Paz, Mexico.  I don’t really see it as a sacrifice, but as a service to God.

 

6. What is your primary goal for The Solid Rock Road?

To bring Christian recovery back to the cross of Jesus, where true freedom is found. Many Christians are being taught to cope with their addictions rather than overcome them. We promote the New Creation reality, which comes against the philosophy of “Once an addict always an addict.” We believe that addiction is a spiritual issue that manifests in the physical and mental. The Bible is clear that we can resist temptation, that we get a new start, and that we move forward in confidence with God at the center.

 

7. What is your largest hope for those to whom you minister?

Transformation!

 

8. What are two key ways in which your work benefits others TODAY?

As issues with addiction continue to escalate, it is obvious that the power of God is necessary to transform lives. Our work is all about presenting God’s authority and power in a real and Bible-based way.

 

9. How have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness in your work with The Solid Rock Road?

From the day the 10 Principles were given by inspiration, we committed ourselves to the message. Our work started quietly. We were just doing the work, and then God made us ready for the book and manual. We have seen the results of God’s goodness in the Solid Rock Road ministries that have been started in other churches.

 

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In God’s Image : Recovery Ministry : The Solid Rock Road : Jamee Pineda

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014 in In God's Image Interview Series, Interviews

Below are interview questions I sent to Jerry and Jamee Pineda, co-founders and writers of The Solid Rock Road, a ministry dedicated to helping people overcome addictions.

I met Jerry and Jamee through Twitter, and we exchanged our respective books (you can read my review of theirs here; their review of mine is on the Stronghold Amazon Page). The Pinedas and I have been in contact a bit since that time; and as I have continued my own ministry work with X3church, I have grown in appreciation for the importance of both good content and strong leadership at the heart of recovery programs. Jamee and Jerry offer both, so I felt they would be great subjects for the “In God’s Image” series.

Each of them were willing to answer the questions independently, so we’ll get to know Jamee a bit better today, then spend some time with Jerry on Friday.

 

1. Define yourself in one word (Disciple, Christian, American, Man, etc.)

Passionate

 

2. Why do you choose that term?

I have taken up the cause of Christ and given myself completely to it.

 

3. In two sentences, tell us about The Solid Rock Road—what it is and for whom it is intended.

The Solid Rock Road is for Christians in addiction, but it is a template for Christian living and suitable for getting set free from any stronghold or past hurts. It was also created to give churches a Bible-based method of recovery from addictions that promotes assimilation into the Body of Christ.

 

4. What led to the creation of The Solid Rock Road? Was it a specific event or was it a more general decision?

When my sister Sherry (Co-author of the book and manual) received the 10 Principles, we knew that it was something that God wanted us to live out and then to share. But we started slowly, working out the principles in the groups first. About 8 years after we started doing groups, the book was written, which really launched the ministry.

 

5. How has your work in ministry required you to sacrifice?

For me, much of the sacrifice has been in the time it has taken to write the book, the manual, and blogs for recovery, as well as to maintain our web site and other social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. Currently, I’m working with a translator to complete the book and manual in Spanish since we have planted a church in La Paz, Mexcio. Many times in the past 12 years, we have done multiple groups at a time, which doubles our time for prayer and individual counseling.  Finally, we have extended our ministry to include the families of the addicted, which includes counseling and support as necessary. We have learned that often times the family members are in more need of counseling than the addicts. This has become a passion of mine!

 

6. What is your primary goal for The Solid Rock Road?

To wake up the Christian community in regard to the growing problem of addiction in the church and to provide a method of recovery that is fully aligned with Scripture. The ultimate goal for every graduate to assimilate into the Body of Christ and to find their destiny in God.

 

7. What is your largest hope for those to whom you minister?

Freedom forever!

 

8. What are two key ways in which your work benefits others TODAY?

We are a free resource for Christian recovery. And we provide Christian churches with materials for starting recovery groups that strengthen their people rather than set them apart in the “group of addicts.”

 

9. How have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness in your work with The Solid Rock Road?

I believe that our faithfulness to do the work without fanfare for many years has resulted in God’s extension of the ministry through the book, manual and website. We have never forced the continuation of The Solid Rock Road, but rather followed the guidance of God who has given us the system and the steps.  We give God the glory. We are fully aware that we are serving Him in this work.

 
 
 
 

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