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Meet Bryan Chung and Brian Chung of Alabaster

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bryan Chung and Brian Chung.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Bryan and Brian. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Alabaster Co. started late one night in May 2016 when Brian and I were discussing ways creativity and faith could be more connected.

This question felt incredibly relevant to our culture today. We’re growing increasingly visual. People take photos with their smartphones, endlessly scroll through Instagram feeds and watch content more than they read content. All of these things are driven by imagery.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, faith is also always informed by the culture we live in. We wanted to build something that was faith-based, but also part of this growing visual culture. We wanted to explore the intersection of creativity, beauty, art, and faith.

Our first project, The Gospels, launched on Kickstarter in October 2016. We had no idea what to expect, but were blown away by the response and are beyond-thankful to those initial backers who helped make the project a reality. It showed us that something like this was needed as – especially younger generations – are exploring what faith means in their own context.

That initial Kickstarter has led us to more projects. We launched a new book, The Book of Psalms, on Kickstarter in January 2018, and it’s scheduled to be complete by the end of May. We’re super excited.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Definitely not. We’ve made a ton of mistakes that inevitably happen when you’re trying to build a business. Our biggest struggle was a considerable typo we made on our first print-run in the Gospel of Mark. An entire line of text went missing in Chapter 5. It was incredibly disappointing and went against the level of excellence we wanted to showcase in the books.

Ultimately, we reprinted the book and sent a new copy to all of our initial Kickstarter backers. It was painful. We lost a lot of money. But in the end, it was worth it. We wanted to build a brand that was honest and transparent, and while this was a huge setback, it was character-building for the type of company we were trying to create.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Alabaster Co. explores the intersection of creativity, beauty, and faith. We primarily do this in two ways. First and foremost, we integrate visual imagery and thoughtful design into books of the Bible, to give readers a fresh experience of this ancient text. Second, we write original artistic content and interview makers/doers exploring the connection between their faith and their creative work, on our online blog: the Alabaster Journal.

The Bibles are what we’re most known for and what sets us apart. We’re creating a very interesting aesthetic, which – when mixed with scripture – makes for a unique experience that people are responding to.

Most proud of as a company: I’m proud that we’re participating in this cultural moment of creativity, imagery, visual-content and that we’re trying to integrate that with faith. It’s who we are as young creative people. It feels relevant. And that’s exciting. 🙂

What were you like growing up?
I was a LEGO kid. I loved the freedom it gave me to build, tinker, and dream up new worlds. Growing up in California, Legoland was one of the most magical places for me; seeing how they constructed entire cities out of LEGO’s was inspiring.

When I got to middle school, my grandma enrolled me in painting classes. That became my main artistic focus growing up and where I felt like I grew the most as an artist. Painting teaches you about color, honing your eye, and composition in really unique ways. I painted everything from landscapes, to portraits of my family, to my dogs.

As I got closer to college, I was becoming more and more interested in the art of storytelling. There’s something compelling about being able to move people by a good story. So I went to USC Film School, specifically majoring in Animation and Digital Arts because it felt like the perfect synthesis of good storytelling and my more fine arts background.

Somewhere along the way, I got captivated by photography – which is the primary medium for Alabaster. I was interested not so much in becoming a “photographer,” but the ways I could use the camera as a tool to construct unique images that I wouldn’t be able to do with just a paintbrush. I feel like I’m utilizing all the other mediums I had played with in the past, but it offered freedom for new forms of expression.

Pricing:

  • Gospels Set $100
  • Gospel of Matthew $30
  • Gospel of Mark $30
  • Gospel of Luke $30
  • Gospel of John $30
  • Book of Psalms (Pre-Order) $30

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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