The Modern Saints by Gracie Morbitzer

My project is called The Modern Saints and is a series of portrait paintings I have done using the style of traditional Christian icons but instead painting the saints as people in our modern world. Not only do they have an updated look, but I have also made them more realistic, and corrected their ages and ethnicity to show the places they were actually from. I wanted these paintings to appeal to the modern generations to help show them that the church really is more diverse than many think it to be—and also, more importantly, that it is made up of humans just like them. When people realize that these amazing figures throughout history came from the same backgrounds and situations as they have, and maybe even look like them, they will realize that they themselves can strive to find the saints as role models for their everyday lives. Traditional icons are unrealistic, and the people appear old, unemotional, usually white, and two dimensional. This outdated image, I think, is part of what turns people away from the church in the modern day.~Gracie MorbitzerAs a graduate of Catholic education immersed into the diverse world of college, I was stunned to find some of the ill-conceived ideas and attitudes many classmates have towards any faith at all. As a happy, fun, humorous, accepting, and passionate person, I was disheartened to find peers who thought a religious person could not be that way. I was struck with the idea for these paintings one day as an attempt to show the other side to that. I also paint on thrifted pieces of wood in all shapes and sizes to further the notion that extraordinary things can come from and be found in even the most forgotten, ugly, disregarded things—like thrift store wooden plaques.