In the weeks leading up to this year’s Holiday Arts Tour, NCLAC will be posting articles about the participating artists here on the blog and on NCLAC’s Facebook page. Father Brendan Pelphrey is this week’s featured artist. He is new to the Tour this year.
About Father Brendan
Father Brendan “Brant” Pelphrey, 63, grew up in Austin, Texas and is a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, assigned to St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. He conducts mission and student ministry in Ruston, Louisiana.
Fr. Brendan began working in oils at about age six, painting portraits and landscapes beginning in grade school under the tutelage of a local artist. Early school memories include getting into trouble for drawing pictures of the teacher. Growing up, his favorite artists were Michelangelo and the pre-Renaissance painter Fra Lippo Lippi. After reading The Agony and the Ecstasy at about the age of twelve, he was inspired to begin carving native Texas limestone, and later worked in marble, clay, and wax (lost-wax-sculptures) and in most two-dimensional media.
Although he did not receive formal training in the arts, in college he was tutored by the well-known Texas sculptor Charles Umlauf, and by Bernie Stewart in Edinburgh, Scotland. He spent a year learning human anatomy in medical school. These elements have combined with theological study to lend an interesting perspective to his work.
He has traveled extensively, living in Scotland and Hong Kong with his family, and is inspired by indigenous cultures. One of his small bronze sculptures (“Christ in Tibet“) was presented during the Parliament of the World’s Religions to H.H. the Dalai Lama. Today, his favorite medium is sepia ink, along with writing traditional Orthodox icons in egg tempera. Favorite places are Tibet, Scotland, and Cyprus, where he especially enjoys village life and a simple lifestyle.
Art is about seeing the meaning of life in everyday things. It is a celebration. Today’s world makes that celebration difficult sometimes, but it is exciting to see modern artists look for inspiration in the world immediately around them. I especially enjoy indigenous cultures because everything becomes art and is created by hand, as opposed to our mechanistic and technical culture. I do not have much patience for television and technical devices; personal interaction is so much more pleasing!
For this reason, I have especially enjoyed experiencing village life in Scotland and Cyprus, where my wife and I hope to live again. We also spent nearly ten years in Hong Kong, and I have tried to incorporate elements of Chinese calligraphy into some of my work. A favorite place, however, is still Tibet, with all its color and defiance. If I could advise anyone, it would be to look for wonder and mystery in everything. The universe is simply fun; joy is at the center of all that exists!
Email Fr. Brendan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit the website for St. George Greek Orthodox Church .