Local artist paints church youth group’s new name

By Elizabeth Sias

Kids in a local youth group not only have a new, unique name, but also have their very own logo for that name.

Front row, from left: Logan Anderson, Lucus Anderson, Ethan Jasch, Joel Vincent, Korbin Lynn, Alex Hylen, Jacob Jaffe. Back row: Kala Schlief, Savannah Maguire, Morgan Engren, Molly Peterson, Samantha Bauer, Kendra Beckenstien, Nicole Nelson, Kelsey Lynn and artist Erich Fritz.

Local artist Erich Fritz recently painted a design for the Long Lake Lutheran Church youth group’s new name, OCTANE, “Obeying Christ Through Any Necessary Extreme.”

The church has always had a youth group for students in ninth through 12th grade, and confirmation classes for sixth through eighth graders, said Interim Director of Youth and Family Ministry Kris Bjorke.

It was this past fall when she and Assistant Director Julie Jaffe came up with a list of potential youth group names.

“We were trying to figure out a way to call ourselves something other than the high school youth group, something that gave us focus,” Bjorke said.

She and Jaffe put together a list of about 20 different names, then gave the students free reign to vote on their favorites.

A couple other top picks were JIVE and CORE, but ultimately the acronym OCTANE won.

“To me it means to live a life out of gratitude for what God has done for us,” Bjorke said. “So it comes out through obeying God’s work and loving your neighbor and sharing your faith. The students thought it was a positive word and had a cool tone to it — something that meant something to them.”

After they chose a name, they decided they wanted something visible to bring with the youth group.

Artist Erich Fritz stands next to the logo he designed for the youth group OCTANE at Long Lake Lutheran Church.

“We wanted something tangible that would encourage us to reach out a little more,” she said. “We wanted an image to look at. When you see it front of you, it means something different than in your head.”

Jaffe knew of Fritz because he was her daughter’s gymnastics coach, and she knew the artist had painted the GALAXY Gymnastics mural. He had also painted a girl’s girl in Jaffe’s neighborhood, so she was familiar with his work.

“I liked how good and realistic it was,” she said. “His work is breathtaking.”

Jaffe approached Fritz about the possibility of designing a logo for OCTANE. Instead of painting a mural in the youth group’s room, Fritz suggested painting the name on a hardboard that the group could take with them to display on retreats, and could keep if the church ever moved.

“It’s really bright and youth-like,” Jaffe said. “It’s really cool.”

Bjorke and Jaffe requested graffiti-like letters, Fritz said. He had a friend who’s good at graffiti letters draw something up, and Fritz played around with it and altered it until he was happy with it, he said. For the T in the name, he painted a cross.

“Once I got that all drawn out, it looked a little bare, so I added in a paint splatter design to give it a little more oomph, a little more excitement,” Fritz said. “This one was different than what I usually do. For logos, generally I create them on the computer, but this one was more hands on — sketching it out and altering it to where I was happy with it.”

With a career in art, Fritz said he always has fun because he’s constantly working on something different. Recently he did a portrait of an Arabian horse as a commission, and he’s also painted wildlife, flowers and much more.

Long Lake Lutheran Church is having an open house with congregation members to view the new OCTANE design.

“What I really like about this congregation is they really value the young people in the congregation and they’re a really nice group,” Bjorke said. “I’m really thankful for how they are as a congregation and they really care about each other and the people really support the youth program.”