An icon is always completed by painting the name. In this case, Brian is painting the name of the icon of the Theotokos at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Rockford, Illinois

An icon is always completed by painting the name. In this case, Brian is painting the name of the icon of the Theotokos at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Rockford, Illinois

Biography

“Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” - St. Paul,  Epistle to the Colossians

Brian Matthew Whirledge and his wife, Rebekah, live in Goshen, Indiana, USA. He paints icons with the blessing of Bishop Anthony of Toledo and the Midwest, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Brian is an ordained reader, and serves as Protopsaltis and choir director at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Goshen, Indiana. Pursuing the visual arts his entire life, he has painted traditional Orthodox Christian icons since 2007. He has painted over 100 private and church commissions since 2013 using only finest materials available: professional acrylic paint, 23k gold leaf, and birch panels.

It was in Jerusalem, during a family trip to the Holy Land, that he first experienced Orthodox churches and their iconography. The beauty of the icons contributed a great deal in his desire to join the Church. After converting to the Orthodox faith in college, Brian began to learn to paint icons.

As a visual artist and Orthodox Christian, painting icons in the traditional Byzantine style is an organic way for to express the Christian faith visually. The art of icon-painting originated in antiquity, was perfected through the centuries, and has been passed from master to student until today. Brian continues this living, growing tradition.


Philosophy

Icons are a proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not in words, but in lines, shapes, and colors. Silently, an icon bears tangible witness to the incarnation of God and declares that creation is essentially good, sanctified by the Creator’s incarnate presence in His world. Through an iconographer, the wood, gold, water, and pigment can attain the likeness of a saint and bear his name.  Icons depict transfigured reality. They do not depict the world outside, but the heavenly world within. The light in icons is not Renaissance chiaroscuro, but rather the uncreated light of Christ, shining forth from within. Features are abstracted, clothing is geometrized, and the landscapes are flattened to reveal a spiritual vision of reality. The postures and composition are balanced and hieratic, yet graceful curves and subtle asymmetry suggest motion. The clothing falls on the figure in vibrant, geometric highlights.

To ensure these icons will last generations, Brian uses only the best materials and methods available. He works in professional artists’ acrylic paint, which is versatile and durable. The 23-karat gold leaf interacts with the viewer as it captures and reflects light around a saint. Icons overflow with heavenly vision, becoming a palpable presence. They are not only windows to into heaven, but doors, inviting viewers to enter.


Curriculum Vitae

PROFILE

Brian Matthew Whirledge paints traditional Byzantine icons and wall paintings for churches and private homes. He uses the finest materials available: professional acrylic paint, 23k gold leaf, and birch panels.  He is blessed by Bishop Anthony of Toledo as an officially sanctioned iconographer for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

EDUCATION & TRAINING

2014         Independent Study of Iconography in Greece

2013         Master of Education, Indiana Wesleyan University

2012         Apprenticeship with Tom Athanasios Clark, master icon painter.  Studied Byzantine Iconography and Byzantine Chant in Athens, Greece

2007-2008         Studied iconography with Nun Olympia at Holy Dormition Monastery, Rives Jct., Mich.

2007          Bachelor of Science in Art Education, Indiana Wesleyan University

MAJOR COMMISSIONS & WALLPAINTINGS

Brian Whirledge has painted over 100 private and church commissions since 2013

2017            Communion of the Apostles for Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Rockford, Illinois

                   Iconostasis for St. John of Damascus Melkite Catholic Church, South Bend, Indiana

2016            Virgin Enthroned with Angels for Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Rockford, Illinois

2015            Sanctuary decoration, St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church, Goshen, Ind.

                   Sanctuary decoration, Holy Spirit Orthodox Church, Wantage, New Jersey

                   Christ Pantokrator for St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Kokomo, Ind.

2014            Angels for St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church, Goshen, Ind.

2013          Theotokos Platytera, Angels, Christ Anapeson, stars, and borders for St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church, Goshen, Ind.

2011            Christ Pantokrator for St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church, Goshen, Ind.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

2013-Present       Brian Whirledge teaches approximately six icon-painting workshops annually to students of all ages and abilities, hosted by churches of various denominations.

2013-Present       Instructor of Visual Arts, grades 9-12, painting and ceramics specialist, Wawasee High School, Syracuse, Ind.

2007-2013          Instructor of Visual Arts, grades K-6, Fairfield Community Schools, Goshen, Ind.