Thursday, May 12, 2016

On Art


I hate the term Christian artist.  Am I an artist who is Christian or a Christian who is an artist?  Why must we be labeled?  And why, in our society, does that label provoke people to think then that our art is lesser than?  Why have we opened the door to that being true a lot of the time?
I am a passionate woman, a follower of Jesus, wife, mother, dancer, writer, lover of people and beautiful things.  Being a Christian is who I am.  It is inseparable with what I create.  Being an artist is what I do.  I don’t think about trying to craft Christian art…I simply open myself up to create.  What comes out is the manifestation of God in me, communicating through me.  I can’t take God out of me, and therefore can’t take God out of my art, whether or not I intend for it to be inherently “Christian.”  Most of the time, it’s just a smattering of bits and pieces of my story, mixed with movement and emotion and truth, sprinkled with grace.  I offer it (or not) and God does what He will with it.  Sometimes, it’s surprising.  The things you think aren’t your greatest work often impact people the most - maybe that’s just because I finally got out of the way and let God. 
But please don’t label me.  I am an artist - for God, with God, by God, through God.  I am an artist.  I see the world magnified.  I feel deeply the in-betweens and the underneaths.  I long to interpret and make sense of this world.  Dance is simply my medium, my body is my instrument, and being Christian, well, that’s just understood.  
Twyla Tharp wrote, “– Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft.  Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering.  Combining the two is the essence of the creative life.”  

I’d like to replace the word passion with God, if you will, Twyla.  It would then read, “– Without [God], all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft.  Without skill, all the [God] in the world will leave you eager but floundering.  Combining the two is the essence of the creative life.”  

We must have both.  Artists of God, we must have both…or else we risk being labeled or stigmatized.  And then, our art tends to be blocked from reaching the very people who need it most.  Be salt and light.  Be dancers.  Be writers.  Be painters.  Be free to explore your faith, free to worship, or free to just move.  Be impactful.  Be inspirational.  Be artists.




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