Emerging Artist Handpicked by Elder Holland to Paint Portrait

Casey Childs painting Jeffrey R Holland. Image via Casey Childs.

Casey Childs, a renowned portrait artist based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, was handpicked by Jeffrey R. Holland of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to paint his portrait.

Ever since Childs’ first LDS project, “Greater Love Hath No Man,” Childs has emerged as a sought after LDS artist.

The diptych depicting the emotional scene at Carthage jail was inspired by the account of John Taylor. Taylor wrote a very lengthy personal account on the events that unfolded on the day of the martyrdom, and Childs was inspired by Taylor’s agonizing account.

"Greater Love Hath No Man" by Casey Childs. Image via Casey Childs.
“Greater Love Hath No Man” by Casey Childs. Image via Casey Childs.

“‘Greater Love’ started out as a personal project. My hope was that the visual image of this story would communicate something to the viewer and the viewer would want to find out more,” Childs said. “Later, I showed one of the panels at the Church History Museum, and they liked it so much that they commissioned me to finish it. After that it sort of snowballed.”

As a result of the painting, Childs was promptly enlisted to paint Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff for the St. George Temple, which he completed last year.

Childs' painting of Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff featured in the St. George Temple.
Childs’ painting of Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff featured in the St. George Temple.

Another unexpected opportunity arose when Jeffrey R. Holland saw “Greater Love Hath No Man.” Holland was in the process of choosing an artist to paint his portrait for the Conference Center, a task that all members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles undertake. Childs’ painting gave Holland enough evidence that he was fit for the job.

I never intended to become a church artist, but I’m a history buff and church history stories are very interesting to me, so it kind of started from there.

The style of Childs’ art is reminiscent of Rembrandt, Titian and other Renaissance artists.

“It’s a different take on Church history and LDS art. Unfortunately, a lot of LDS art often has a certain look that can be seen as ‘cheesy,'” Childs explained. “I think our examples, when it comes to art, should be the Renaissance and the old masters. That’s what I’m hoping LDS art will be someday.”

Childs is still working on the portrait of Holland, and says that it was enjoyable working with him.

Casey Childs with Jeffrey R Holland. Image via Casey Childs.
Casey Childs with Jeffrey R Holland. Image via Casey Childs.

“He’s kind, funny, genuine, humble and very personal. Just after talking to him for a few minutes it’s like you’ve known him your whole life,” Childs recollected. “There’s no sense of pride that you can see in him, he’s very Christlike in that way. I imagine all of the other Apostles are that way.”

Childs also advises LDS youth that want to pursue art to follow their dreams.

“My number one advice is to draw and sketch as much as possible. Secondly, work from life as much as possible,” Childs advised. “Working from life is so important because your eye can see so much more than a flattened image from a camera.”

Casey and his wife Amanda currently live in Utah with their three sons Evan, Owen and Cameron.

Bridget is a newsroom writer at LDS.net. She graduated in April 2015 from Brigham Young University in communications with an emphasis of public relations. She served a Spanish speaking LDS mission in McAllen, Texas. She is a skilled pianist and an expert baker of chocolate chip cookies.