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Prophets, Seers, & Cubists

A collection of pencil on paper portraits of LDS prophets, inspired and molded by the rich tradition of cubism.

James Ito

October 08, 2022 - November 02, 2022

In 2006, I was on my mission in New York City. On my first P-day I walked through the doors of
the Metropolitan Museum of Art with intent to love everything in there. Once I was in the
galleries, I was transported to a world that I never knew existed consisting of knights in armor,
sculptures by Rodin, and Pablo Picasso Cubist portraits from when he was a young adult living
in Paris. All of the faces and bodies were manipulated to look like the image of someone inside
a shattered mirror. They were colorful and vibrating with movement.

After my visit to the MET, the wheels in my head started turning. How would the last
dispensation of prophets, seers and revelators look if they were portrayed in cubist form? Would
the general church-going public be able to recognize them? Would our perception of them
change at all? It was a long process, but through the last fifteen years of making a family and
growing my career, I have been drawing these ideas onto paper.

There have been seventeen presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We
have never seen images of these brethren other than in photographs and realistic paintings.
What I wanted to do with their portraits was take the most distinct elements of their bodies and
faces, and distort them in the Cubist method as I saw in the Met years before. This way, we can
truly understand how to notice someone by the shapes of their faces and how simple they really
look. Their appearances may be distorted, but if we truly know someone, we will recognize

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