Our relationship with God, and His calling on our lives to serve Him cannot be separated from our art. But, if we are called to be incarnational, to create things which can be seen and experienced out of the invisible nature and working of God, then how do we remain authentic in our creation and avoid the trap of simply rehashing the familiar and often cliche symbols of faith, used for centuries? Here are some of the things which have helped me:
Listening: The depth of our relationship with God can be measured to a great extent by the amount of time we spend listening to Him. As an artist, this means listening not just to the words (eg., reading Scripture), but looking for the images, pictures, symbols, feelings and all the other tangibles which form the language of art, as they flow out of the deep wells of Scripture, song, relationships, wisdom, and the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
Time with other artists: We are not islands. Or, perhaps it would be better to say that we are not to be stagnant pools… There is great value in spending time with artists who are more experienced than we are (wisdom), and with artists who are younger or less experienced than we are (fresh insight). While we must not simply imitate other artists, we can certainly learn from their experience.
Community: Not only do we spend time, but we build commitment, trust and inter-dependency which creates community. We need people around us who are safe enough that we can hear their criticism, make mistakes with them, and speak honestly with each other. Community is what makes us healthy.
The stories are what drive my art. This is why I have created the by-line of, “Reflecting Faith, Hope and Beauty through Art.” Lots of artists understand the beauty part–they can paint truly lovely scenes, or photograph people to reflect the beauty deep within them–but my purpose it to not only look at the beauty, but to go beyond to the Faith and Hope which make that beauty possible.
It is the truth behind these stories which drives me to create.