How the Alabaster Team Reimagined the Bible | RELEVANT Magazine

Alabaster creates books and Bible collections like most individuals have by no means seen earlier than. They’re superbly designed, with beautiful images and chic layouts, all on high-quality paper. 

Every e-book is its personal murals. 

We lately spoke with Alabasters founders, Brian Chung (who can be the companys enterprise director) and Bryan Ye-Chung (additionally their inventive director) about how the concept for Alabaster happened, the facility of nice artwork and reimagining the Bible.

How did the concept for this undertaking for come about?

Bryan: Brian and I met in school. We additionally bonded as a result of we had the identical identify.

I used to be learning artwork and movie in school and was additionally half of a school ministry on campus and simply all the time felt like these two components of me had been separate. So, I might go to the artwork studio after which depart Bible research, however these two experiences of who I used to be all the time felt separate. 

So I used to be wrestling with that, making an attempt to think about methods to deliver these issues extra tangibly collectively. Towards the tip of my senior 12 months I learn a e-book by a pastor out right here in Los Angeles whose identify is James Choung. He wrote this e-book known as Actual Life, and it was principally this e-book primarily based off his dissertation by which he did this research on how each era asks a special non secular query that leads them to issues like God or Christianity, and the way every of these questions are contextualized to that era.

For Child Boomers it was What’s true? So thats when issues like Apologetics was actually massive. For Gen X it was What’s actual? So, Dont inform me what’s true simply be actual with me. In the present day, he predicts millennials are actually into the query What is nice? Millennials are actually into doing justice work on the earth issues of that nature. After which he predicts that what even youthful generations will probably be asking is the query What is gorgeous? 

We simply felt like that could be very true. In an more and more visible tradition, everybody has a wise telephone with a digital camera, all of us love to select up stunning books or we decide web sites primarily based on how properly theyre designed. We had been simply actually captivated by that query and thought, Might we construct a model round that query and determine methods to discover magnificence and discover artwork inside that and discover as we ask the query, “What is gorgeous? How will we present that the Gospel is a fantastic factor.

It was the opposite Brian who had the concept, Oh, we must always begin with the Bible.

Brian: I didn’t develop up in a Christian family. I grew up in a Buddhist family, went to temple rising up and got here into school agnostic. It was by way of a campus ministry that I grew to become a Christian.

I bear in mind getting my first Bible as a Christian and I used to be actually excited, but in addition somewhat intimidated. It was a black, darkish purple, leather-based sure ESV Bible, and the primary couple pages had been issues to fill outit was in regards to the translation, it wasn’t the story of Genesis. The textual content was condensed, some phrases had been black, some phrases had been in crimson. I didn’t perceive what that meant on the time and it was on actually, actually skinny paper. It was simply in contrast to every other e-book that I had gotten. And subsequent to me was my advertising textbook and it was designed like {a magazine}. And for the primary time in school, I felt actually excited to learn my advertising textbook or similar to any textbook typically. 

I used to be a enterprise main however I used to be additionally learning design and I simply thought ‘Might this be performed in another way? 

It was 10 years later the place I’m simply having this dialog with Bryan about our religion … I believe for us as Christians we hear the story of God and Jesus [and] it’s stunning and what if we created a fantastic studying expertise? 

Bryan’s eyes lit up. He informed his housemates. I continued to return into campus ministry, after which Bryan got here again to me with all these concepts of like, “Make the Bible like an art book or a lifestyle magazine.”

We thought it will be a good suggestion to not inform anybody till like per week earlier than the launch date, which looking back was in all probability a nasty thought, however we put it on the market, our associates began sharing, it acquired some nationwide media protection and this little facet undertaking changed into one thing somewhat larger than that. 

The concept of magnificence as this worth, not simply this luxurious is so attention-grabbing. All through historical past Christians have constructed these grand cathedrals and commissioned these nice artworks. It looks as if Christians have lengthy been impressed by God’s Phrase particularly to create. Do you guys really feel such as you’re collaborating in that legacy of Christians impressed by God’s Phrase to make one thing stunning to get individuals to see it in a brand new gentle?

Bryan: Folks ask us, “How does it feel doing a new thing?” and I all the time suppose, “Well we’re not actually doing anything necessarily new. Were actually taking very ancient and historic ideas and just bringing it into kind of modern times.”

Brian: Yeah I believe for us, we had been impressed by like what you stated  Renaissance work, stained glass home windows, the cathedrals, all these individuals who created stunning items of artwork that finally pointed individuals to God, and we simply noticed the Church being the middle of artwork and sweetness traditionally. And we needed to do one thing related in a modern-day context.

How did the train of placing these books collectively have an effect on you each on a person stage in terms of the way you truly learn and think about the message of Scripture?

Bryan: For me, what I’ve mirrored on most about when it comes to constructing Alabasterin phrases of my spiritualityis when you concentrate on many of the ways in which we expertise God within the church, its by way of word-based codecs. The primary is you’re listening to a pastor communicate. The second is you’re studying textual content or a e-book or the Bible, and that’s word-based as properly. After which the third you’re listening to worship songs, which often have lyrics. So it’s additionally word-based. These are all good issues, however I believe as we constructed Alabaster, which is clearly a really visible model, I’ve simply been challenged to consider experiencing God by way of an image or a panorama or although this picture that we created or simply this visible language that I really feel like opens up methods by which somebody can expertise God. 

For me, that’s been enormous in my very own spirituality and in how I’ve skilled God for myself.

I’m positive there are lots of people this Christmas who’re going to obtain these books as presents What do you hope that the readers and the individuals who obtain these books will probably be challenged and impressed by? What’s your final hope for those who obtain these?

Bryan: I believe initially the first factor is we need to have a dialog. We need to have a dialogue. 

I all the time like to speak in regards to the distinction between artwork and design: Design is problem-solving by inventive means and artwork shouldn’t be problem-solving. It’s truly making you ask extra questions quite than much less. And so we’re creating artwork throughout the Bible and we would like that that can assist you ask extra questions quite than much less and turn out to be a dialog starter. 

That may take many alternative kinds. If possibly you’ve grown up studying the Bible and also you choose up an Alabaster Bible, it may give you a brand new perspective or new questions or new methods to sort of dialogue with God. 

We love artwork as a result of it’s in a position to begin conversations each internally and externally, and I believe that may be a enormous hope for us.

Brian: Our imaginative and prescient as an organization is to see all of humanity to expertise God pretty much as good and exquisite. And I believe it ties again into these preliminary questions from that e-book that we referenced which is, What is nice?” and “What is beautiful?” And our hope is that after studying our Bibles, that folks’s expertise with God would enhance to see God pretty much as good and exquisite.

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