An Illustrated Autobiography

May 1, 2009

For several weeks, I have been working on a series of nine 5″x5″ illustrations, which, in sequence, tells my autobiography.  I had initially planned to do this in the form of a comic, but after further consideration during the planning process, decided against that, in favor of a different approach:  each illustration is the avatar of a significant event or period of time in my life.  Each picture is preceded by its title, and followed by a brief explanation, and a statement of what medium was used.  Enjoy.

Chapter 1:  Birth


Needless to say, the first significant even in my life was my birth, which took place in the summer of 1988.

Digital Paint

click to continue through my autobiography


Chapter 2:  Childhood


I remember playing outside during the long summers.  I remember a several-week vacation during which we visited most of the national parks west of the Mississippi River.  I remember going to Grammy’s for Thanksgiving and being given nasty cranberry juice every year.  I had a remarkably carefree childhood, and I count this among my greatest blessings.

Pen and Ink


Chapter 3:  1st Encounter with God the Savior


I grew up in a church going family, so I was accustomed to being at church Sundays and Wednesday nights regularly.  The first recollection I have of realizing my sin condition and my deep need for redemption took place when I was nine years old.  I was baptized a short time later.

Digital Cut Paper


Chapter 4:  1st Encounter with God the Father


When I was fourteen, I went to Riverside, California on a summer trip with my youth group.  It was here that I first understood that to be in relationship with God is something personal, as a Father to his son, rather than just a rescuer to the rescued.

Colored Pencil


Chapter 5:  Stagnancy


From a short time after Riverside to about midway through my 18th year, my faith was in a place of tremendous stagnancy.  I did not cease to believe, but my desire to grow in wisdom and knowledge of God was nonexistent.  This was a byproduct of arrogance, having convinced myself that I already much of what there was to know about God.

Oil Pastel


Chapter 6:  1st Encounter with God the Fearsome


Sometime during the summer after my senior year of high school, I began to find my way out of the stagnancy.  Slowly, I began to reacquaint myself with the Father I had ignored for nearly four years.  The following spring brought with the first time my plans and God’s contradicted, plunging me into several weeks of the scariest time of my life.

Sand on Lightbox


Chapter 7:  The Anger Inside


During these weeks, my initial fear led me into great anger toward God.  All his promises of love and shelter seemed empty and worthless.  He did not feel distant; he felt completely gone.  I remember being within seconds of telling God that I no longer loved him; it was in that moment that he somehow reassured me that he loved me.  I believed him.

Acrylic Paint


Chapter 8:  The Sadness Inside–1st Encounter with God the Friend


Slowly my love for God outweighed my anger, and my feelings on animosity were replaced by feelings of deep sadness.  During this of sadness, tremendous growth took place in my faith; at some point, I was able to see that along with being Savior and Father, God wanted also to be Friend, to come alongside me in my suffering, to comfort me, to cry with me.

Cut Paper


Chapter 9:  The Rising Heart–1st Encounter with God the Lover


Over time, through my sadness, I have been able to understand that joy is something far deeper than feeling happy versus sad.  Joy springs from within the core of the soul, in the knowledge that I can never do anything to disqualify myself from the love of God.  he is the Great Lover, loving each of his own as if there were no other, and never ever holding back a single ounce of that love from any.  It was during my time of deep sadness that this wonderful knowledge finally seeped into my soul.




3 Responses to “An Illustrated Autobiography”

  1. chris brank Says:

    i am such a fan of the heart rise picture. i don’t think i can fully comprehend what a heart rise means yet, and i think that’s why it intrigues and mystifies me. pretty sure i want that on my wall someday. or on a CD cover. or something.

  2. Josh Addessi Says:

    I really like how the digital cut paper one turned out, I love the blues and the sweeping textures, there’s something very calming about…peaceful, yet full of harmony whisping through the air. And i don’t know if you did this on purpose or not, but I love the text that is shown from the song in the top left corner, it’s a good fit. Well done comrade, I commend thee.

  3. colephillips Says:

    Thanks man. The text was indeed intentional. It’s a favorite hymn of mine.

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