A Nativity - Behind the Scenes
Updated: Feb 18
This year, the ARCH-HIVE made a collaborative nativity scene. Our broad ranges of personalities, backgrounds, and experiences have led to a rich variety of depictions of the familiar nativity. From amateur to seasoned, realistic to abstract, we wanted to gather the diverse feelings that Christmas brings into one place.
You can purchase a nativity kit on our Etsy shop ($8 for a physical copy, $5 for a digital copy that you print yourself). 25% of proceeds will go to The Road Home to support the homeless in Salt Lake this winter, and the rest will go towards operating costs for our little collective so we can continue to share art with you.
In this post, we've collected artist statements from each of our contributors about their creations. We hope you enjoy reading about the thought process behind each addition!
The final piece of this nativity—the Star—will be created by you, the reader. Tag us on social media with your own artist's statement about what making the Christmas Star meant to you.
The Christ Child by Annie Poon
This simple drawing is my attempt to balance out the humility of Christ's birth with indicators of his magnificent destiny. Not only the crown but also the gold and silver paint point to his identity as the king of kings.
Mary by Rachel Helps
I wanted to let Mary lie down and take a break after having a baby. She's probably worn out.
Joseph by Tod Robbins
I referenced traditional symbols associated with Saint Joseph to highlight his strength and goodness: lilies (purity), carpenter's square and level (craftmanship and labor). These visual fragments present Joseph as a vibrant patron saint of workers, craftsmen and artisans besides his crucial role in the life of Jesus.
The Dove by Mme. Hoarse d'Ivorce
The use of botanical elements is a reference to both the dove that brought Noah a leaf after the flood ended (a symbol of redemption and life, which Jesus brought the ultimate iteration of) and to Mary (frequently symbolized with roses)
The Donkey by Jon Brown
This donkey is inspired by the colorful folk art I encountered on my mission in Centra America. Christmas could be lonely as a missionary, but all the beautiful handmade nativities I saw were comforting.
The Hen by Ash Rowan
My parent-and-child chicken duo is based on a Fibonacci spiral— because math is cool, and also to represent a “gathering in” (“how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings?”).
The Ox by Camilla Stark
I based this ox on the Egyptian god Apis, whose mythology included being sacrificed & reborn, and whose role served as an intermediary between humans and the gods.
The Camel by Tracie Eckersley
I wanted to depict the camel in a simple, austere style inspired by ancient pottery. I hope it symbolizes that our own journeys to find Christ need not be overly ornate and complicated as long as we search with purity and sincerity.
A Wiseman by Daenen Rolapp
My Bolivian heritage has always given me a curiosity for the way things were in the Precolumbian Andes. This chasqui, or Incan messenger, carries a satchel with supplies, a conch shell to announce His coming, and a message coded on thread
A Wiseman by the ARCH-HIVE
*mysterious buzzing noises*
A Wiseman by Mattathias
In the Nativity Story, the inclusion of the Magi remind us that Christ came not only for the chosen people, but for all the people of the world. Are we, as Latter-day Saints, willing to look for wise men & women outside of our own tradition? And are we ready to recognize the peace that God wants to give us? These are the questions I pondered as I prepared my submission for this project.
A Wiseman by Michael Sorenson
To depict the Wise Men I started with an owl symbolizing wisdom and gave it symbols representing the gifts of the Magi. For the royal gold: a golden crown, for the priestly frankincense: The Eye of Providence, and for the embalming myrrh: a thorny crown.
A Shepherd by Hayley Labrum Morrison
Based on a female figure from my family history, the shepherdess wanders the night in search of The Lamb. She was created with watercolor, spray paint, and marbled paper.
A Shepherd by Trevor Harmon
he's just a nice little shepherd i drew with my friends
The Sheep by Kasen Christensen
When He was born, Jesus was wrapped lovingly in blankets and laid in a bed. This sheep replicates these blankets with fabric samples in a North Star quilt pattern.
An Angel by Conor Hilton
I wanted to draw on biblical descriptions of seraphim and cherubim, Madeleine L'Engle's 'cherubim', the pillar(s) of cloud and fire that guided the Israelites through the wilderness, and then a variety of cultures and religious traditions for the eyes, because it wasn't quite eclectic enough before.
An Angel by Rusden Scott
A swarm of flies
Buzzing the night sky
God has monsters
In His employ
Don’t doubt it
A Tree by Madison Daniels
The Planetary Sephirot is a world tree representing both the Universal (Christ) and the Earthy (Jesus).
A Tree by Laz
I wanted to place the American Christmas tradition in conversation with the traditional nativity.
The Stable by Daenen Rolapp
This old shell of a stable takes inspiration from Durer. Some old blankets are strewn across the hay where Mary would have laid while in labor. A basin with a wash cloth and clean linens sit upon a table
The Tiger by gnome chompsky
I uhhhh drew that shit on ms paint