If your interested in using art to enable worship check out Artworship, founded by Jeremy and Jamie Wells, two artists in Houston who are commissioned by churches to paint during their worship, often over many sessions. All profit generated by artwork and events goes to global mission, which is brilliant.
To look at more paintings like the above click here.
Whilst looking on the Gospel Graffiti Blog today I came across the work of a UK-based Christian graffiti artist called Lovepusher. I checked out Lovepusher’s Flickr and there is some fantastic work on there, if you want to see some decent Christian graffiti then take a look.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7: 24-27
Rodney Matthew’s is a christian fantasy illustrator who has worked extensively amongst the music and literary industry, creating vivid cover designs for numerous musicians and fantasy authors. Rodney has been known to refuse work that contravenes his Christian morals. He feels very strongly that art should be inspirational and bringing the words of the scriptures to life in vivid images is part of that belief.
As a strong reader of fantasy I have seen much of Matthew’s work [which adorns may of my favourite novels!]. His creative and imaginative take on biblical themes are inspirational and are well worth a look, if you would like to find out more please click here.
Ok, a bit of background is needed to give you an idea of how important this album was to me: imagine me as a 15-year old new Christian boy, a big jazz and hip-hop fan, who has the impression that all Christian music is middle-of-the-road light rock, hymns or cheesy gospel (n.b. I’ve come to hugely appreciate all three of these since!). Enter Kirk Whalum’s album: a funky, soulful and superbly performed jazz CD. Needless to say, it was a huge blessing to me in realising that Christian music was so much wider than I’d realised (I discovered Christian hip-hop soon afterwards). Kirk is a very accomplished saxophonist in his own right, working with people like Whitney Houston, Quincy Jones and Luther Vandross, but on this album his focus is God as he creates a combination of joyful celebration and meditative worship.
Particular highlights for me are the scat improvisation on “Wade in the Water”, the exquisite solos on “Lord, I want to be a Christian” and the joyful proclamation of “I’ll go with Him!” on “Where He leads me”. Those of you who really know your jazz will be pleased to hear that both George Duke (piano) and Paul Jackson Jnr. (guitar) are part of Kirk’s core band. For those of you who don’t know your jazz so well – it doesn’t matter! You will find this is a beautiful collection of music that will inspire you, uplift you and give you a lot of pleasure! You may, like me, even find that it leads you to worship God without the need for any words at all.
Below is a song from Chapter 2 of The Gospel According to Jazz – another great album, although I prefer the first (youtube doesn’t seem to have any from the first!). My advice would be to get both albums, and pre-order chapter 3 which is on its way!
Today we have a guest writer on Artists for Christ, my good friend Jonny Rose. He is currently a student at Exeter University and has a love for Urban music.
Grime? – it’s just hip-hop isn’t it?…
Unlike hip-hop, where true fans are at pains to explain the difference between the original praise-worthy tenets of the music – championing the virtues of education, hard-work and mobilising as a means of self-improvement – as opposed to the trends of illicit gangsterism and materialism that later entered the genre. Grime lacked this from its very conception.
A darker sonical off-shoot of UK Garage, Grime sprung up in from the insalubrious urban sprawl of London’s less affluent areas. Traditionally, the sound comprises of double-time rapping over grubby basslines and syncopated beats. The lyrical content never strays far from the secular rap staples of drug-taking, pre-marital sex and the constant championing of violence. It comes as no surprise that most of the proponents of the scene have been involved in criminal activity and spent time in jail as a result.
Grime is the voice of angry and disenfranchised British youth who aren’t blessed with a stable home-life, a sparkling academic record or opportunities. Most of all, they’re lacking the Good News.
Enter Bibles! Bibles!
An 8-bar Grime riddim championing God’s word in a way that would make a Fundamentalist proud, ‘Bibles! Bibles!’ firmly sets itself apart from the scene and embodies – in my opinion – the Christian ideal of being in the world, but not of it. Subverting the traditional grime response of elevating fingers shaped like a pistol and shouting, “Brrrap!” as a means of showing approval, the song instead calls for the lifting up of Scripture.
The restrictions of the Grime sound means that the MC words lack the slower more contemplative lyricism that can be found in the Christian hip-hop but this does not make for a watered-down experience.
The song contains lyrics such as:
“I stay close to God for my own survival
I seek God and wait for his arrival
No-one else he’s my only Idol
The Bible always brings a revival”
“I’m kinda hungry and I want a munchie
So I draw for the daily bread
Forget cutlery I make moves on my N.I.V”
As well as a catchy and joyful chorus. Watching the video, one can’t help but smile at the sheer ebullience of these boys and their rhyming.
What I’ve always loved about the Gospel message is its enduring ability to permeate even the most God-forsaken places. Although mass media, in all its forms, does all it can to reject the word of God, God is not limited. Bibles, Bibles shows this.
Some may view this as inarticulate noise, but I have no doubt that if more and more music like this is made, we’ll see something amazing happen amongst the young in Britain. For those of us who like their music to have a little more ‘umph’, when it espouses Kingdom values, you can’t go wrong with this!
For those of you who want to read some art history with a christian perspective, read ‘Modern Art and the Death of a Culture’ by H.R Rookmaaker. It’s a pretty well known book and has been around for a while but I only found it a few months ago. I’ve been slow getting through it but it’s a great book for understanding the place Christian art is at currently, and how we’ve got here.
As the blurb on the back says…
‘… Dr. Rookmaaker builds up a message for our times which may be devastating, but is also profoundly helpful and positive. He sees above all the tremendous potential and relevance of Christian attitudes, to man, to society, to freedom, to the whole of reality, as the basis for a way ahead in the future.’
We have shown Mike’s work in a previous post but he has a lot of videos of him painting that are just SO worth sharing. The particular video shown above is very beautifully put together, and very moving. I love the way that the emotion is put across using so many dimensions with the painting, the words and the music.
As contributors to the Artists for Christ blog, we thought that we had better share a little about ourselves. This can all be found on the Team page or else, read more about us below.
James is an Artist/Designer with a particular interest in Street Art & Graffiti. He specialises in fine art and web design, although will put his hand to anything creative. James feels a particular call to evangelism and desires to see other Christians sharing their faith with the people around them, especially in creative ways! He recently got back from Hawaii, where he volunteered with a Christian surfers organisation for 3 months.
A cynic towards the Christian faith until his mid-teens, God in His grace reached into Stephen’s life and turned his life around. Since then, the South London geeky rapper has been discovering day-by-day the glorious riches of grace that were secured for Him by Jesus’ achievements. Someone who likes words in all of their forms, Stephen’s major interests are in rapping, reading and speaking; especially when these things are used to explore the Christian faith.
Russell is a large comic book geek, who longs for the day when he will find high standard Christian comics in his local comic book shop. Russell hopes that Christians will break down the barriers that separate Christian work from secular and use their talents to create powerful and life changing artistry that all people can be inspired by. Russell is currently attending regents theological college and is waiting to know what to do with his life.
Miriam Kendrick grew up in south London, and is a full time theology student at the London School of Theology. She is passionate about Christian art deeply rooted in theology, that will have a impact on the secular art world which has moved so far from the intentions God had when he made us creators.
This week, a very exciting project is launching across the university of Oxford, where every new student is being given a DVD of the testimonies of 3 students who became Christians last year with a short explanation of the gospel afterwards. Both filming and production have, in my opinion, been excellent – certainly better than I’d expected! The plan is to deliver around 3500 of these door-to-door to new students to give them a chance to explore the Christian faith, and ask any questions they have arising from watching it. See it for yourself in the videos below, and please keep the project in your prayers. If you’d like to know more, or if you’re considering doing something similar at your university, please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org