Living at the convergence of faith and art.

It’s Not About Me

UndoukiWhen I began my art studies way back in the early 70’s, it was all about me; my success, my career, my creations.  I was in film school then and wanted to be the next Steven Spielberg or George Lucas.  I wanted both fame and fortune; a wall filled with Academy Awards, American Film Institute trophies, and awards from the likes of Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals.

Just before I turned 18, my Maternal Grandmother, my Guardian and last “parent”, died leaving me, my brother and, our sister on our own to fend for ourselves.  This and the trials, tribulations, broken dreams, and broken lives of former generations in my family brought me to make a vow; I was going to become a multimillionaire so money would never be an issue in my life, and I was going to be famous so that someone in my family would finally accomplish something.

That was some 40-years ago.  Today God has relieved me of that arrogant burden.  I no longer pursue a career in either film or theatre (not that either discipline is bad in any way), but I am no longer center stage.  Today my art involves me only in the making of meaning (Art: Fearfully & Wonderfully Made). Once a work is made, it has been born, and I release it into the world.  I let it go, the way a wise parent finally removes their hands from the lives of their children.  The work, like a child, must be released to become whatever it will in the hearts and minds of the viewers.

In that context I am no longer present, except perhaps spiritually.  I’d like to think that there’s something of me in every piece I create, and that there’s a connection with those who engage the work.  But in my physical absence, God and His Spirit can emerge and become present in the relationship the work has with the viewer(s).  I praise God for leading me this place of getting this sorted out – It’s not about me, but in all ways about Him. Even if the work isn’t particularly Biblical or religious, I am always hopeful that somehow He is evident.

It seems to me that we faith-driven artists are rather like John the Baptist proclaiming, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” I see art – in all its myriad forms; dance, ceramics, theatre, painting, film, sculpture, literature, mixed media – made by faith-driven artists as both pointing to and inviting people to the Cross of Christ.  Whether subtle, or overt, obvious or not, I see the works of God’s Creatives as glorifying Him as He is somehow present in the work and His messages are communicated.

John declared, “He must increase; I must decrease.” (Jhn3:30)  And so it is with me in all of the art I make; hopefully there is both a declaration of and an invitation to approach the Throne of Grace.

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2 responses

  1. “Once a work is made, it has been born, and I release it into the world. I let it go, the way a wise parent finally removes their hands from the lives of their children. The work, like a child, must be released to become whatever it will in the hearts and minds of the viewers”
    I loved this. You have a wonderful outlook. Keep on creating.

    You may enjoy this post: http://thoughtsontheatre.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/your-art-as-a-child/

    January 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

  2. Loving this post. I have a very similar experience with art, from my early days of working for a license of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I didn’t have the family losses you had. What I had instead was being the kid who was always picked on, determined to be a “millionaire by 30” so I could “show them all.” I was driven to the point of insanity and God had to break those chains from my life. It all belongs to Him now and I am so much happier. I pray He keeps using us all in greater and greater ways to His glory!
    God bless,
    Dave

    January 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm