Behind The Artwork: Here I Am Send Me - Darlene Zschech
Without a doubt, "Here I Am, Send Me: Hineni" is one of my favorite projects that I've ever been a part of. Getting to design this album was a dream come true and such a fulfillment of a God-dream as a child. The story of how this all came together is so wonderful and I wanna share that with you.
Rewind the clock to 1999 when I was just 5 years old. My Grandma gave my parents a present; a CD called "Shout to the Lord 2000". Although this album was technically my parents, I definitely stole it multiple times and would host weekly "concerts" for my parents and family, where I would sing along to the CD with a plastic microphone and lead my family in worship - complete with every phenomenal vocal run that Darlene would sing.
As I grew up and discovered that art was my expression of worship, I taught myself graphic design by scanning the CD booklets of Hillsong albums and re-designing the covers.
I remember being very young, believing in the power of prayer, and fervently asking the Lord if one day I could design an album for Darlene Zschech. She was my worship hero growing up - and let's be honest, she's still a complete hero to this day.
After meeting Darlene at our Bethel Music Heaven Come Conference in mid 2016, where I was blown away by how kind and fun she was (and still is), we kept in touch through a wonderful friend of mine Bonnie Gray. Bonnie is a talented painter and artist from the Central Coast of NSW, who's a vital part of HopeUC's (Darlene's church) creative and worship team. She also co-wrote one of the beautiful worship songs on Here I Am Send Me - "Love and Wonder". Through Bon, I kept in touch with HopeUC and the creative process for Darlene's album.
An album's creative process is truly one of life's greatest ventures and if you ever get the opportunity to design an album, do it - it's so rewarding. All that to say, Darlene's record label had sent her a bunch of different cover options, but she felt they didn't quite communicate what she was wanting to say through the art.
I told her I'd give it my best shot and see what happens.
As with all my creative projects, I always start by committing every ounce of the project to the Lord. I believe in the power of prayer and I know He's always looking for people who will partner with His Spirit and His vision. As you can imagine, I prayed, HARD. This wasn't just an album cover, this was Darlene Mc-Friggen Zschech's album cover and I was NOT going to mess this up!
Through a series of concepts and revisions (all done across the Pacific via Facetime and iMessage - Darlene's in Sydney and I'm in Redding), we finally landed the cover that you see today. It was a mammoth effort and I'm so honored and proud of what we created.
After landing the cover artwork, my favorite realization was that the album artwork is both modern and completely 90s. So even though my childhood dream of designing an album for Darlene didn't happen during the era I hoped it might (classic 90s-00s Hillsong), I still got to design a 90s cover in 2017 - whilst completely modernizing it on the side!
Here we are, 20 years later, and I'm here to testify that the Lord hears EVERY prayer we pray, and it's His pleasure and joy to give us the desires of our hearts - yes, especially our seemingly impossible child-faith dreams.
Thanks Darlene for the honor of designing your album art. It's truly the fulfillment of a two-decade-long dream - something that I'll treasure for the rest of my life. Amazing songs, amazing people, and an amazing God. "We stand in awe, we stand in awe, we stand in awe. Jesus".