ico·nog·ra·phy   noun




1:  pictorial material relating to or illustrating a subject


2:  the traditional or conventional images or symbols associated with a subject and especially a religious or legendary subject


3:  the imagery or symbolism of a work of art, an artist, or a body of art


(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)




Why Icons?


Why Egg Tempera?


Why Cans


Commissions Welcomed!


If you have a favorite Saint you would like made into your own Zsebe icon email at kim@zbimages.com

Why Icons?

Religious Icons in today's world may evoke many different responses, from religious reverence to secular indifference they can be beautiful, quirky, touching or strange but few I think would find them controversial. Their history however involves the most controversial debate in the Christian Church and one that will define the religion and change the face of the world. Take a moment to imagine an art history book with out the patronage of the church. Not only was it responsible for funding countless artisans and guilds but today influences scores upon scores of contemporary artists. None of that would exist however, if the founders of one of the worlds most influential religions had decided to side with the Iconoclasts and ban all images in their churches. Eva Haustein-Bartsch writes extensively on how as the early Christian church grew it needed to get its story straight. Who or what exactly was Jesus? Was he a man that God spoke through or was he actually God. The council of Nicaea in 325, after much debate, determined he was a little of both and as a result it was decided that Icons (in Greek Eikon which means a depiction or likeness) could be made but could not be worshiped. Muslim conflicts in the 8th century left the church divided again and this civil war led to the destruction of nearly every Icon that existed in the Byzantine empire and eventually brought about the second council of Nicaea in 787. Icons were defended by the church's belief in Acheiropoietos which are Icons not made by human hands such as the Veil of Veronica (veri=true icon=image).The church determined that these along with a portrait of the Virgin Mary that was believed to be painted with her permission by John (the Hodegetria) were sanctioned by God and therefore allowed. Also it was determined that these images like the cross were merely symbols. This was extended to include any images directly copied from these sources and so churches all over Christendom were allowed their own versions which as time when on and more copies were made became more and more unique. From this point onward science more so than theology will most greatly influence the course of art history from the use of lenses and the focus on humanity of the Renaissance, to the invention of photography and now digital media in our contemporary world but none of it might exist if the early church had decided to take a literal read on one of the Ten Commandments and ban images in their entirety.


What is Egg Tempera?

Egg Tempera is a painting medium was used in ancient Egypt up through medieval times when it was superseded by the invention of oil painting. It is made by mixing egg yolks and pigments. You can see this being done on the video on my video page. Egg tempera is very stable and these days it is still used almost exclusively in icon painting.  This style paint is very fast drying. My paints are all handmade which means I have to mix a fresh pallet every time I sit down to paint. If you would like to learn more about egg tempera painting or have questions please feel free to drop me an email.


Why Cans?

I think there is a very interesting correlation between today's corporate culture and the church.  My current work explores the role of Icons in both the traditional and contemporary sense. In the Church, an Icon's validity was directly related to its resemblance to an original image. My work  includes traditional compositions and the egg tempera medium; however, I have replaced the often-used silver revetment, once used to protect the icon and eventually used to mass produce them, with aluminum from our own contemporary consumer beverage icons. Coca-Cola might be said to be more successful in converting masses to their product than any religion in history has been in converting people to their faith. It would appear that mass consumerism has replaced Mass for many of us. The methodology for converting the masses has been similar, creating a product people think they need, proving good will with charitable donations, and ultimately hiding seedy acts behind piles of money and power. The long-term effects of this new “religion” are still not clear. It is my intention that my work opens a dialog and an awareness of the effects of the consumerism that has created our  own modern-day commercial Icons which so many have come to rely on and that influence our values.



All Images ©2013 K.Zsebe