There is nothing more refreshing than seeing original creativity and innovation when it comes to the Gospel. So it’s no surprise I was a complete fan girl when I came across the Alabaster Co. Founded one late night with friends Bryan Chung and Brian Chung. Both were reflecting on the direction culture was taking toward visual images, innovation and design, an idea was born: create a brand passionate about fully exploring the intersection of creativity, beauty, and faith.
It’s a unique and aesthetically breathtaking approach to delivering the Gospel and now with the soon to launch Psalms edition I have no doubt these books will have an impact on generations to come.
With their official launch on Kickstarter in October 2016, Alabaster: The Bible Beautiful. The books were printed and a conversation began. Since then, you can purchase the collection or individual books on Amazon, for $100.
We wanted to hear from the brains behind this remarkable adaptation of the bible and here’s what they had to say!
(Image by Ellie Edkins)
1. What inspired you to create the Gospel series and launch Alabaster Co.?
There’s a book by a pastor, James Choung, called Real Life. In the book, he argues that each
generation asks a spiritual question that helps lead them to Jesus. Some of these questions in the
past have been things like:
What is true?
What is good?
What is just?
Choung predicts that the next generation – the millennial generation and younger – are asking the
spiritual question: What is beautiful?
In our increasingly visual culture (with things like the rise of Instagram, cameras on smartphones,
social media technology, etc.), where design and aesthetics have been placed at the forefront of
society, we’re asking ourselves: How do we show that the Gospel is beautiful? How do we show that
Jesus’ life was a beautiful thing?
Alabaster was born out of these questions. We don’t claim to be experts- but we want to contribute
to the emergent conversation that’s happening in culture today between the ideas of creativity,
beauty, and faith.
2. The name Alabaster hints towards the woman with the Alabaster jar and her encounter with
Jesus? Are we on track here? What was the inspiration behind the name?
Yes, in Mark 14:1-9, a woman breaks an alabaster jar of incredibly expensive perfume and pours the
contents onto Jesus’ head in an act of worship. Many people in the room scoff and say her act was a
complete waste. But Jesus defends the woman saying, “leave her alone, why do you bother her?
What she has done is a beautiful thing.” This complete act of sacrificial giving (Kalos- in the original
Greek) literally means ‘beautiful as a sign of inward goodness.’ We wanted to create something with
the same level of intentionality and thoughtfulness as the woman in this story.
3. The bibles are so innovative and have a unique take in terms of aesthetic and imagery. How
did you go about selecting photographers to work with?
For the Gospels, the majority of the photos were done by us or close friends. Two primary focuses for
us were: making an aesthetic that was true to who are as millennial creatives, and images that told a
We were interested in the dialogue that occurs when imagery and text are placed side-by-side on the
page. When we were making the book, some of the images were direct emotional and artistic
responses to the passages. Others aimed to give insight into what the passages were saying.
Nonetheless, one of the best things about art is how the viewer sees the work. We’ve been excited
and awestruck how readers have interpreted the aesthetic and imagery in ways beyond what we
would ever had imagined. It’s made the whole project worth it.
4. How do you feel your series of books in the bible appeals to the younger generation?
We live in a visual and design-oriented world. As members of this generation ourselves, we feel that
younger people are looking more-and-more towards visual mediums as sources of inspiration and
Alabaster is a direct response to that. We want to be participants of this emerging conversation
between a visually creative culture and a faith-based, Jesus-following life. We believe the
combination of these things is exceptionally powerful and important for younger generations.
5. You’ve recently launched the Psalms series, what inspired this and what creatives will you
be working with on this?
Psalms is already a beautiful and creative work of art. This ancient and timeless book of poetry and
songs highlights the full range of emotional and spiritual experiences we live through as humans.
In the Psalms, we learn about mourning, grief, lament, love, joy, forgiveness and what it means to
connect with God in the midst of our complex lives. It is a sprawling creative epic about our life with
God, community, and creation. Today, in our growing creative culture, we believe there’s a deep need
to experience God through the book of Psalms in a new and visual way.
As we thought about what book of the Bible to tackle next, Psalms felt like the obvious continuation
in Alabaster’s exploration of creativity, beauty, and faith. We think most creatives will feel a kindred
connection to the writers of Psalms.
(Image by Ellie Edkins)
6. What’s next for the Alabaster team? Will we eventually have all the books in the bible
available to us fans?
Right now, all of our focus is dedicated to the Book of Psalms. We certainly have hopes and dreams
to do more books of the Bible afterward. We have ideas in mind, but nothing quite set in stone yet.
7. Where can we follow the founding members and champion them?
Our Alabaster account can be found at: @alabaster_co.
Our two founding members can be found at: @brynchung and @brianchung.
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