Spray paint isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of missionaries. In fact, art has never played a huge roll in traditional missionary work, but all of that is changing in part of the hastening the work of salvation. Missions all across the world are now trying to hone in on the individual talents of each missionary and are striving to creatively use those talents to move the work along. This includes music, dancing, photography and yes, even spray paint. I had the pleasure of meeting a young RM who had some very unique service opportunities while on his mission.
Tanner Stephenson is a Utah native who has loved art ever since he was young. When all the other kids wanted to be vets and policemen, Tanner wanted to be an artist when he grew up. His favorite medium is oil paint, however, he admits himself that he is best with spray paint. His talents with stencils and spray paint are impressive and creative to say the least, but no one suspected he would utilize those skills in the mission field. On his mission in California, Tanner and his companion were struggling to find investigators and they came up with a plan to spray paint images of temples in the park to attract people they could talk to. People loved to watch him work and they asked questions about the images themselves. This allowed Tanner and his companion to discuss the significance of the temple and teach them about the plan of salvation. He started painting more and more and his prints became popular with members and investigators alike. He ended up making about 200-250 temple prints that he gave away throughout his mission.
Service opportunities began to present themselves as well. One investigator asked if he could paint wall murals in his restaurant. “P-days became paint days.” Tanner said. It gave him a chance to use his talents to help people and share the gospel.
Since he’s been home he has continued working on his art and sells custom prints of temples, celebrities, and original designs under the name Kuru Arts. He goes to fairs to spray paint and get the word out about his custom t-shirts and home wall murals. He knows that the Lord didn’t give him his love for art for nothing. Tanner hopes to continue to bless and inspire others through his gospel inspired art work.
If you are interested Tanner’s art or in getting a temple print or other design from Kuru Arts check out his website. www.kuruarts.com