Many times we elevate Inspirational Christian Art, but how are we approaching it as an art form? Is it in a way that we could define it as artistic and spiritual at the same time? If this is the case, why aren’t we challenging ourselves to do works that we can define as art?
I really want to see people engaging with the arts and using it as a tool for expression since that is its purpose. I would like to see Christian art reach a higher level and see artists carrying the message of the Gospel in a unique and creative way.
Christian art has to follow the same standards of any kind of art if we want our message to reach an audience that goes beyond the walls of our communities.
In this article, I will try to stir our desire to give a message in a creative and beautiful way, and I will give suggestions on how to create art that is effective in its purpose to give a message in a unique way!
A need in the world
So many times, especially when it comes to inspirational Christian art, we get so narrow in our expressions. I would say that the lack of inspiration, which leads to a lack of an original style, comes from the fact that usually, we tend to stick with styles that are in fashion at the time and that are popular in our churches. There is little exploration of anything that goes beyond our “Christian life.”
If it’s music, we listen to only that kind of music. If it’s visual art, we only look and reproduce what we see in church. I’m sorry to say that many times I see a good deal of laziness for Christian artists to actually seek and create with excellence; this breaks my heart.
I would love to see pioneer artists conquering, leading and influencing the art sphere in our society. Up to now, I haven’t seen many people with the desire to master an art form and to then take it into the world. As Christians, many times we stop at the entry-level without even trying to get better in our skills or even go deeper in the way we communicate our message, and this is because, in the church, this is ok.
With this, I hope I’m not offending anybody. I’m just trying to share a need that I see in the world; if we don’t take that place, who do you think will take it? So if we complain about the message that most arts give, well, dear brother and sister…the fault is ours.
We have been commissioned to go into the world and share God’s love. Art not only brings beauty, color, and life but also it’s a great tool in shaping society.
First of all, be unique – find your style
God has created us in a unique way; each one of us carries something that is unique. Our gene code, our abilities, and our taste are unique. We see things in a unique way since our life and background are unique. So why are we often not unique in our art?
The only way to be creative is to immerse ourselves in, eat and digest creativity. In order to become great, we need to study the greats of our Arts.
Some people say that they only find inspiration in God. This should be our starting point, and I can’t stress enough the fact that He is our inspiration. However, once we have received the inspiration, how are we going to express it? I could have the best message in the world, but if I’m not able to talk, how am I going to share it? This is the reason why we need to go deeper into our language. Art is expression and technique is the tool.
Get out of the bubble
Before, I mentioned that as Christians, most of the time we only relate with the art that we see in church. I believe this is a big hindrance since the style, the quality, and the amount of our exposure to good art will be very limited. It’s like being in a very busy place with lots of interaction, confrontation, and inspiration, VS being in an isolated space where there are hardly any interactions. If we don’t know anything beyond that isolated space, how can we be creative and original? Ideas lead to Ideas, creativity leads to creativity, and nothing leads to …
As artists (as well as anybody else), we need to be in this kind of environment in order to find what speaks to us, and little by little, find our own style. Our artistic identity needs a starting point, and we need models to form our style. If the only painting we see is a rainbow with a dove, I doubt that when we ourselves paint we will create something that goes beyond this type of image.
God has always used society to form and prepare His people. Let’s think of Daniel and Joseph. God put them in a place where they were trained to accomplish their calling.
Of course, if God calls us to follow this path, we will need to be very careful to not allow wrong thinking to shape our minds, just as Daniel did when he decided not to eat forbidden foods while exiled in Babylon. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s food, nor with the wine which he drank. Therefore he requested the master of the officials that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 from the Modern English Version)”.
Confrontation strengthens who we are, and by expressing our style we will get more rooted in it. We need to be open to receive criticism, and outside the church, we will receive plenty. Through this process, we will learn what works for us and what doesn’t.
Send a message
I find that in modern days, the message in art has gone missing. I think that in society we have lost so much of our guidelines and sense of purpose. While modern artists try to bring something new, they often simultaneously forget where they are coming from. There is a tendency to want to avoid structure; everything becomes abstract as if there is no need for a message. We also see this in our society and in our art.
As sons and daughters of the Most High, we have a message of hope and love that the world needs to hear. Art has the ability to share a story without telling it all. It gives space to the audience to interpret and make the message personal, opening hearts in a way that only art can do.
Communicating a message makes our work unique. We share something according to how we see it, and our audience will likewise receive and interpret it in their own unique way.
Any kind of art, including inspirational Christian art, is meaningless if it doesn’t communicate something.
Inspirational Christian art – tips for inspiration
In our journey as artists, we are almost constantly looking for inspiration. Where to find it? How do we turn on the light bulb? If we think of inspirational Christian art, where should our inspiration come from? Spending time with God and allowing Him to inspire us is key in order to have a godly message. Here are some suggestions to help us in those foggy moments.
- Talk about what gives you life: when we share our passions and talk about what concerns us in our chosen art form, we will probably have a lot to say.
- Be open and be an observer: if we allow things to speak to us, many times just by traveling or having a walk outside we can find inspiration and analogies in our surroundings.
- Take a break and change the environment: some times when we get stuck, just by changing the room we’re in, going out or having a break will allow our brain to recharge.
- Challenge yourself: force yourself to find a different solution and new ideas by putting yourself in a more difficult situation. For example, give yourself some limitations and some restrictions on your execution.
- Don’t overthink: going with your gut feeling is often the best way. When we overthink things they tend not to be spontaneous and natural.
- Take notes when you have an idea: it’s important to write down our ideas as they come since it’s not always possible to drop everything and execute them immediately. If you don’t write your ideas down, you will likely end up forgetting them.
What is our motivation?
In inspirational Christian art, the motivation behind performing or producing it should always be to bless and to love. By having this heart, we will always achieve our goal. Sometimes to bless a place or somebody it’s sufficient to create something that brings beauty. There are many ways we can bless through art. We have a powerful tool, and the world needs to hear more messages of love and beauty. The world needs color and life, and we have that calling if we are real artists.
If, however, the motivation of our art is just to be recognized, then we will fail in our calling since we are not looking to give, but to receive. When it comes to art, it is easy to end up hurt and to feel judged when we receive negative feedback. But, if our focus is to give and bless, other people’s judgments of our work will not affect us in the same way.
My dream is to see a new renaissance in inspirational Christian art and see the Kingdom of God expressed through it.
I hope you have enjoyed this article, and I hope it has stirred up something positive within you.
The paintings above witch are named, are by the artist, Annalisa Gatti. You can check them out and more of the artists’ work on Instagram at @nisart.desert
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