Artist Stephen Gjertson
(pronounced jert-SON) was born on May 21, 1949. He was one of the first students at Atelier Lack in Minneapolis during the early 1970s. He also taught there from 1973 to 1988. Gjertson has painted commissioned portraits, still lifes, and landscapes; he also paints artwork dealing with contemporary issues and biblical themes. Gjertson's works have won several awards, and he received three grants from the Elizabeth T. Greenshields Memorial Foundation in Montreal, Canada. His portrait of Governor Arne H. Carlson hangs in the Minnesota State Capitol.
Gjertson is a founding member of the American Society of Classical Realism Guild of Artists and is an editorial advisor to the Classical Realism Journal
. He has published extensively in that and other journals and is the author of the new book, Richard F. Lack: An American Master
and the forthcoming book, For Glory and for Beauty: Practical Perspectives on Christianity and the Visual Arts
The October 1983 issue of American Artist
magazine profiled Gjertson in a cover story. He was also featured in Painting Faces and Figures
published by Watson-Guptill. His work appeared in The Best of Flower Painting
and The Best of Portrait Painting
published by North Light Books. He is listed in Who's Who in American Art
. In 1993, Timeless Treasure: The Art of Stephen Gjertson
was published by the American Society of Classical Realism. Stephen is also the co-author, along with Kirk Richards, of For Glory and For Beauty
"My primary purpose as a painter is stated in the third chapter of Paul's epistle to the Colossians: 'And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, know that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.'
"I became a Christian shortly after I left Atelier Lack. Coming to Christ didn't change my artistic direction that had been set since I was in the third grade when I determined to be a 'realistic' artist. Christian truth rather confirmed my youthful decision and gave me a solid foundation on which to build a healthy and balanced body of work. Healthy means not contradicting God's word as revealed in the Bible. Balanced means majoring on the positive side of life and minoring on the negative side, rather than creating an art that is false — either romantic and sentimental or nihilistic and hopeless.
"The principles of truth, purity, harmony, beauty, and technical skill took on real meaning and importance when I realized that they had a firm philosophical basis. That basis is the nature of God and His work. These principles provide the guidelines for my work. At the end of my career, I would like to have a body of work that expresses the beauty of God's creation, its brokenness through sin, its redemption in Christ, and the love that I have for God and my family."