This weeks featured artist is the very special, and very talented James E. Whitley III.
Martial Arts Master, Actor, Dedicated Christian and Artist. James has many titles, but the ones we’ll be focusing on today are the latter two. James has found a way to incorporate his love of God into his various video game themed paintings. And I’ve gotta say, even as someone who doesn’t really follow a religion, these are great. Yes, they’re beautiful but they also tell the many stories of the bible in a way that any gamer can appreciate. Below are some of my favorite pieces from James’s art series “Gospel According to Nintendo”. Each painting is titled with the bible verse that it relates to and James has also included some info on his inspiration for each piece.
If you want to buy any of these awesome paintings, request a commission or read more info about the artist you can checkout iamjameswhitley.com. Enjoy!
Break My Body “1 Corinthians 9:24-27”
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I [a]discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
JW: “Throughout Scripture, the Christian life is compared to a race and speaks of how we must train and discipline ourselves like an athlete. In this piece I have all of our characters training alongside Little Mac from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. The Statue of Liberty is holding the invincibility star, which represents the life that is promised to those who run the race.”
I’ve made the next series “The Seven Day’s of Creation” into a slideshow so you can view them in order. I thought these were really neat.
Next up is the “New Creation” series. These are really cool representations of retro game characters. I also like James’s inspiration for this series.
“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.”- 2 Corinthians 5:17
JW: “Each of the “New Creation” paintings represent how I felt before and after becoming a Christian. Before becoming a Christian I felt like my life was stuck and fixed and dictated to the standards of the world around me- one could even say pixilated. But when I came to Christ, I saw the world with new eyes. Everything became 3D to me. I saw that there was purpose and meaning in every person and in everything and that there was a divine hand behind it all.”
The next one made me laugh. It’s a great reference to the specific verse that it’s related to.
Love Your Enemies “Matthew 5:43-48”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43-48
JW: “Mega Man has arguably one of the greatest video game rogues galleries. So in this painting I wanted to illustrate Jesus’ commandment to love your enemies by having Mega Man give of his life and energy bar to his foes. The background was inspired by the original NES game packaging.”
Anti-Luigi & Anti-Mario “1 John 4:1-3”
JW: “This painting represents the dichotomy between good and evil, specifically the forces that directly oppose Christ.”
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” – 1 John 4:1-3
Last but certainly not least, is this awesome Super Mario 3 Map. It’s one of my favorite out of the bunch.
The Great Commision “Matthew 28:19-20”
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”- Matthew 28:19-20
JW: “The Mario Bros 3 map represents the world. Each castle represents a continent and they are each calling for help because every part of the world needs to hear about the Good News of Jesus Christ. The keyholes represent potential closed doors, while the enemies represent potential opposition in spreading the message. Even despite a difficult task, Mario’s demeanor is what should be ours- ready and zealous to complete his mission.”