Artwork by Jerrell Conner will immediately capture your attention. The multi-talented visual designer uses an outside-the-box approach of edgy graphics to produce spectacular biblical content.
Conner, a member of Crenshaw Christian Center (CCC) in Los Angeles, has plied his trade for nearly 20 years as an illustrator, animator, videographer and comic book creator. He is also experienced in writing, directing, character design and digital media and his illustrations appear in the new book by CCC Pastor Frederick K. Price, Jr., “Behind the Seen.”
In addition, Conner has worked extensively in the arts and entertainment industry with clients such as EA Games, IMAX, Machinima, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Universal, MTV, Interscope Records, Reach Records, Starbucks, and Disney. Another endeavor that he recently embarked on involves privately commissioned paintings of professional athletes and notable celebrities who requested his services after seeing his exceptional skills.
Being a man of faith, Conner has devoted considerable energy to his graphic novel series, “Revelations: The Prophets,” along with the comics that he co-created, “Restoration” and “The Trials of Samson.” The Sentinel spoke with Conner to learn how he applies his belief in God to his work. The following is an edited version of the interview.
What insight can you share about your faith-based graphic novels? “Revelations” is my longest-running project. It started back in college and has grown and evolved throughout the years. I think it has always held a special place in my heart because it was the very first project where I found the perfect marriage of my faith and my art.
My art has always been labeled “edgy” or “dark,” [but] once I discovered some of the amazingly rich and profound, but dark, storylines talked about in the book of Revelations, it made perfect sense for me to translate that into a graphic novel and animated project. I really created works that I personally would be excited about doing, and using them to tell some of the greatest stories ever told. I felt that if it was something that I loved, then others would come to enjoy it and be edified as well.
“The Trials of Samson,” which is scheduled for release in 2020, is a collaborative endeavor between several writers, editors, pastors, researchers, and one artist. It’s a fantasy approach to a historical figure that is grounded in key historical events. We truly feel that this book will resonate with a few underserved markets; diversity within ethnicities and faiths told from a historical-fantasy approach. A lot of the feedback, so far, has shown that there is a real excitement for telling historical epics in new ways for the modern young reader today.
In a perfect world, where would like your career to be in the next five-to-10 years? God is constantly moving in my art. Prayer is such a big part of my life and my career, so often I don’t know what I’ll be working on the following week, let alone five-to-10 years later!
But, as I understand the trajectory God has me on at this point, over the next decade or so, I hope to have five-to-10 new book titles released, an animated series based on one of the Samson books, and an animated feature based on the Revelations series. Also, I’d like to be writing and directing live-action productions with my wife and kids.
A lot of the groundwork for all of these elements is already in play, but only God knows the timing and doors that will need to be opened along the way to get there… and I trust Him to handle those unknowns, because they are not unknowns to Him.
What advice can you share with aspiring professionals? Honestly, Persistence and Prayer. Too often I’ve seen people give up right before their blessing came and they never see it. And I’ve also seen those that weren’t ready for their opportunity and it ended up passing them by!
First, identify the passion. Second, devote the necessary time to hone the skill and craft needed. All while submitting the path to the Lord in prayer, for guidance and for Him to open the right doors and close the wrong ones. I have truly been blessed on my path and thankful for all of the doors that He’s opened (and closed) along the way.
Are other projects or interests you’d like to share? I have been using my YouTube channel to showcase some of my art and animation, doing art tutorials, as well as sharing my thoughts on entertainment and media through commentaries and film reviews, as well as discussions on faith, the Bible, and apologetics. So far the response has been great! It’s kind of a mix bag of all the passions I have in my life.
See more of Jerrell Conner’s work at theredr.com.