Friday’s FYI – Cherise Hawley

Cherise is a Christian creative based in the US. She is a fantastically talented artist and also creates jewelery, literature and music. Cherise is a real encouragement to me, and has a real heart to see creative Christians use their gifts effectively for Christ.

Baby fox Kurama

Age? I’m 23.

Where do you live? In the southern United States.

What is your favorite colour? My favorites are blue-green and violet, but I also like any colors on the cool end of the spectrum. Like a true geek, I’ve even memorized the hexadecimal coding for a few of them: #ccccfff, #553399, #440055, #00aaaa, #000099, #00aa00.

What is your favorite website at the moment? I have a lot of favorites, but a few of them include The Vital Signs Blog, Way of the Master, Immortal Geisha Forums, Bible Gateway, GoodSearch.com, LiveJournal, SheezyArt, RedBubble, FRC, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Flickr, Blogger, Shana Logic, Zazzle, Εκλεκτους.Εις.Σωτηρια, EzraLevant.com and Ebay. (In answer to your most likely thought at this point: yes, I do spend too much time on the internet.)

What are the 3 things that you most like doing with your time? Art (especially drawing,) reading the Bible and surfing the internet.

The Start of a Life of Crime

One Price

Rugged Cross - Cellphone Charm

When did you first start using your creativity for God, and how did that come about? When I was a child I was more interested in singing, and wrote a few short Christian songs even then. I love art, but I feel that my main calling in serving God is in the field of music. However, I feel that people can glorify God in everything that they do. The unsaved world tries in vain to separate our “secular” lives from our spiritual lives, but a relationship with God permeates everything that you do. It’s not possible to only be a Christian on Sundays!

What inspires you? The Holy Spirit. I also take inspiration from current events and things I’m going through at the time. This usually manifests more in my music and poetry, rather than in my visual art. Most of my writing is not on the internet, but a few pieces can be viewed here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/supergrouper/writing. I also compose music, but so far none of it is on my websites. From an artistic standpoint, bits and pieces of my usual style come from Takeuchi Naoko, Takahashi Rumiko, Watsuki Nobuhiro and various online artists. On thing that really inspired my artistic course early on was an interview with Thomas Kinkade, which I read when I was young. He described his artistic development and said that he was pressured by the local art world to view art as needing to be shocking, offensive or political- but in the end, he decided that art could simply be something beautiful. The art world as it is today relies too much upon shock value and too little on talent. Drawing nudity and gore isn’t difficult. Painting a beautiful, detailed landscape bordering on Trompe-l’œil is far more difficult, and much more rewarding. I want to spread beautiful things and happiness into the world. There is already sufficient darkness here.

Who are some of your favorite artists? I have a lot of favorites, in many genre, from many era; a few include Christian Riese Lassen, Thomas Kinkade, Donna Burgess, Edmund Blair Leighton, Claire Belton, Pockiomi, Jen Hacking, Meredith Dillman, Schin Hern Loong and Heather R. Davis. RejectedDreams is an inspiration, too, and a faithful brother in Christ.

What is the most amazing thing that you have seen God do? Wow, it’s hard to choose… I think that curing me of a horrible, almost fatal digestive disease would probably rank in the top ten. The doctors couldn’t cure me, and I had no choice but to believe God- but, as always, He came through. I’ve also seen Him cure cancer in several people, miraculously provide for people in need, and give guidance in troubling situations. I’ve learned that God even cares about the “small” things, if they’re important to us, because He cares about us. My oldest cat- now about 18 years old- was missing for 5 weeks when I was a kid, and God brought her back after Mom prayed. The same cat also weathered an unexpected hurricane outside without sustaining any injury.

Another incident I can think of where God undoubtedly intervened was in an automobile crash a few years ago. My mother had always told me when I was growing up that if I didn’t have time to pray in a crisis, to call out “Jesus!” for help. I had an opportunity to do that when a van I was riding in collided with an 18-wheeler. Seeing the crash unavoidably coming, I called out “Jesus!” Everyone else in the van was hospitalized, but I walked away completely uninjured, even though I was sitting where the impact occurred. I didn’t even feel the impact- it was like something cushioned me.

Do you have any particular projects going on at the moment? Tons of them. Hopefully, I’ll finish at least a few. ^^; I’m working on perfecting new techniques, and in particular I’ve taken an interest in textiles recently. I’m also exploring other types of crafts, and trying to improve my drawing skills. I’ve taken an interest in traditional Japanese kimono, which (to me) are basically like wearable canvases. The traditional type is hand-made and completely unique- often hand-painted in a process called “Yuzen.” I’m interested in replicating this process and using Yuzen on mainstream Western textile art. I’m also interested in modern twists on traditional kimono style, particularly the work of Mamechiyo. Kimono are truly an art, and I would like for that aspect to become more common in Western fashion, as well.

What can we expect to see from you in future? An internationally famous manga series, watercolor paintings, a fashion line, CDs, books and websites. Shoot for the stars! =D

What would you most like to see come out of the Christian Creative scene in the next few years? I’m inclined to agree with C. S. Lewis, who said that he didn’t believe in writing “Christian books,” but in Christians writing books. I think that rather than just aiming products at Christians- although that should be part of it too- Christian artists should enter the mainstream and use their work to lead non-Christians to God. After all, how many lost are going to enter a Christian bookstore and browse there? I believe that faith in God should permeate everything that we do. Any work is noble if done for the glory of God. God anointed artists in the time of Moses with great skill to do the work of creating the tabernacle. I think that in these last days, He is also calling a new generation of artists who will perform great works with the motto, “Soli Deo Gloria.” Bach, the great composer, always signed his works that way- “to God alone be the glory.” God is waiting for the Bachs of our time to answer His call and spread His Name among the nations.

Where can we find more of your work? Most of my art is available at my website, Snow Fox Creations. Some of the pieces are also featured at Flickr, RedBubble and Zazzle.

Anything else you would like to say? Jesus is LORD.

Artists for Christ has a new look!

Artists for Christ LogoWe are super excited today as Artists for Christ has a brand new look!

It’s something that we have been working on for many weeks and now it is finally here! We hope that you like the changes and find it easier to navigate the site.

Many thanks to our friend Panos who has been doing some awesome design work for us, including our new logo.

We would love your feedback about the new look, so do feel free to get in contact if you would like!

– The Artists for Christ Team

Help! Artists for Christ has gone all weird!

Mess!

Hey guys, just a note to say that we are currently working on a new look for the Artists for Christ blog.

We have been working on it for quite a few weeks now and it’s almost ready to go. Please do excuse us for any mess that there might be over the next few days, we will try and keep it to a minimum!

The new look should be with us by the end of the week!

May the Lord bless you,

– The Artists for Christ team

Friday’s FYI – Christopher Doherty

Christopher Doherty is a graphic designer based in the US. He runs a Christian music and media website called lightvox.com and is one of our friends on twitter.

lightvox

Age? 37

Where do you live? Cleveland, Ohio USA

What is your favorite colour? #FFF – I love the use of whitespace as a creative element.

What is your favorite website at the moment? Oh so many, Smashing Magazine, PSDTUTS, ChurchCrunch (it’s like having my own personal beta tester)

What are the 3 things that you most like doing with your time? Spending time with my wife, design and being inspired by God’s work in others.

lifechurch.tv

Lightvox Website

When did you first start using your creativity for God, and how did that come about? Well I suppose any creativity I have, has always been used for God since he gave it to me. When did I start being purposeful about it? Within the last few years, I decided to launch Lightvox to share my love of music as ministry and after that everything just fell into place.

What inspires you? Music, It has a very visual element to it.

Who are some of your favorite artists? I enjoy anyone who creates art, as long as you put your heart into it, you can find beauty in all works.

What is the most amazing thing that you have seen God do? God fixed me. He knew I needed to fall before He picked me up. I love how God puts people together at the right place and the right time.

Do you have any particular projects going on at the moment? Just finished the redesign of Lightvox.com, a few client websites and a number of graphic design projects.

What can we expect to see from you in future? I am all over the place. I hope to help others get creative with their ministry. I enjoy sharing what I have learned with others to help them achieve their goals.

What would you most like to see come out of the Christian Creative scene in the next few years? Collaboration.

Where can we find more of your work? Aside from lightvox.com, If you live in the US you can find my work in a number of magazines and newspaper advertisments.

Anything else you would like to say? Hi Mom? Human3rror is my friend? Nah, I would just say thank you James for creating Artists for Christ. Keep up the good work.

Are Some Thoughts Still Taboo?

In our Christ-centred creativity most often we focus on the good things, joy, and the good times. In this post our friend and brother in Christ, Joe Ogborn gives his thoughts on creativity that gives an honest reflection of where we are at.

Lost and Confused Signpost

In the last week I have been looking to write a song based (loosely) on Psalm 42. If you’ve got a Bible to hand, it’s worth giving it a read. It is hard to overlook the raw honesty present in the Psalm. While maintaining a steadfast hope in God, the Psalmist calls out to God ‘Why have you forgotten me?’

This got me thinking. Do we, as artists in whatever field, ever feel that there are certain feelings we cannot express in our art for fear that it will bring disrepute to Jesus’ reputation? Are we reticent to express doubt, frustration and maybe even disappointment?

Perhaps we as artists can play a vital role in serving the body of Christ in this area. How many of us have turned up to a meeting and sang songs that express our deep love for God when in truth we are struggling to even believe in Him? I know I have. Sometimes we can put on a fake smile and when everyone else seems to be hearing from God, it can seem to us like God has closed up Heaven’s phone lines. I don’t wish to encourage doubt as some fashionable new accessory for the culturally savvy Christian, but perhaps being blunt and honest in our art may reach out to those who perhaps feel like the Victorious Christian Life, that they are meant to be living, has passed them by.

Or what about the woman who has had a third miscarriage after feeling sure that she had a word from God reassuring her that this time it was going to be a boy? Are there songs/poems/pictures out there that deal with the raw anger and disappointment that she feels?

So rather than rambling any longer, here’s my challenge: the Christian life is not pretty all the time and doesn’t come gift wrapped with a nice bow on top, but we have a God who identifies with our pain and weakness in Jesus. Was it not Jesus who cried out ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ If Jesus shouted that at a darkened sky, perhaps we may be bold enough to put pen to paper and invite others to share our joy and our sadness, our highs and our lows while following Jesus.

– Joe Ogborn

Finding time for your creativity

Creativity

Finding time for creativity in our busy lives can often be a very difficult thing. Often I get so busy with work, family, friends, and playing poker on facebook, that productively being creative falls right to the bottom of the list of priorities.

Below are some tips that I hope will help you in finding time for your creativity. Some of them are things that I currently find useful, and some of them are suggestions that I am working towards at the moment.

Carry a sketchbook with you at all times

The main thing to consider is the fact that we are all busy! 24 hours in a day never seems enough. Carrying a sketchbook around with you is a great way to incorporate creativity into all aspects of your day.

My memory is like a sieve and if I don’t capture inspired moments on paper, more often than not they are gone forever. Carrying a sketchbook at all times is the perfect resolution to this problem, it enables you to capture ideas and concepts at any time, any place, because it is always in your pocket or in your bag.

I tend to carry with me a cheap small notebook made by Muji, and a larger Moleskine Notebook. When I first started keeping sketchbooks, I was very OCD about the exact content of each notebook, but over time I have got more relaxed with that. I would say experiment and do what works best for you. In my sketchbook I draw, I paint, I stick photos that I print with my beloved Polaroid PoGo, I do creative writing, and probably most of all, I just write new ideas and concepts that I think of as and when they come. Writing ideas as and when they come in a quick, raw format works fantastically when I finally have some time on the weekend to sit down and spend a specific amount of time being creative, because I can then just refer back to my notebook and decide on a particular idea or concept to work on.

Put art materials on your desk at work

Ok, this is a great one. Obviously we all have different work situations, and for me, currently I do spend a lot of my life in an office, working on something completely uninspiring and uncreative!

A couple of months ago I pimped my desk, I got a load of original artwork and cool postcards and stuck it around my desk. Then I had this idea, why don’t I buy a set of coloured pencils to keep and use at work! Trust me, it was one of the best things that I ever did. I know it seems simple, but it just meant that whilst I was speaking on the phone, or in quiet moments, I could sit there and draw, in colour! Since then I have made loads of sticker designs, and created different cool little drawings, at work, during a time where before creativity was non-existent.

Set weekly creative goals

This is currently something I am working on myself at the moment. I used to keep a creative blog and frequently upload new images to a photo blogging service. In the last couple of years this has completely made its way out of my routine!

I think setting creative goals is important, and it really does help you get things done! Set realistic weekly targets: that could be complete a painting each week, or filling a certain number of pages in your sketchbook each week, if you are musician it could be to write the lyrics for a song each week. However big or small your creative goals are, the most important thing to make sure is that they are achievable!

For visual artists, if you don’t already, I strongly suggest doing some photoblogging. If you are just starting out a good thing to do would be to set up a Flickr account. Then set yourself the goal of uploading an image at least every other day, that will keep your creative juices flowing!

Incorporate creativity into your quiet time

This is deep. Some of the best times that I have spent alone in prayer and worship to God have been when I have incorperated creativity. You see, as creative people, this is how we communicate! God understands it because he is the ultimate creator! I suspect that for most people reading this (and everyone writing this!) that actually, not only would this help you find time for your creativity, but actually, it would help you greatly in your time spent with God. What I am not suggesting you do here is replace your time spent with God for creative time, what I am suggesting you do is bring the two together in beautiful harmony. This will probably look different for all of us, but give it a go, and see if it a) helps your communication with God and b) opens up doors for more creativity.

I hope that these tips help you in finding more time and space for your creativity. A lot of it, I have found, is less about freeing up time for your creativity, but more about incorperating your creavity into your everyday life to a greater extent.

If you have any tips then please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

– James

“The Expository Journey” by Evangel

expository-journey

Yet I offer these hoops I was hurled through
My metamorphoses that changed my truth and my worldview

This, the first in a few music reviews and recommendations I will be writing, is about one of the sharpest and smartest rappers that I know of in hip-hop. The quote above is from his opening song, and sets out what he is offering on the album: an account of his own struggles with Christianity, the shifting in his thinking as he investigated further, and the changes that occurred in his life as he turned to Christ (his metamorphoses).

It is difficult to pick higlights out of what really is one big story, but I will have a go. “L.A.W.” is an explanation of man’s guilt in the sight of God (by not Living Acknowledging [His] Worthiness – L.A.W.), and is a helpful approach on a very important subject. “H.O.O.P.S” is one of my two favourite songs on the album, in which Evangel has been taken to an evangelistic sports tournament by his Christian friend (played by Israel Felix) where a pastor is giving a talk (played by Shai Linne – what a treat!). The song moves between the pastors talk, Evangel’s objections and his friend’s prayers seamlessly, and is a big encouragement in the power of evangelistic talks and of praying for friends. The following track, “Crossroads”, combines a haunting and dramatic instrumental to the internal battle of Evangel as he faces up to the truths of the Gospel and realises he needs to make a response. Three tracks later, “New Life” celebrates the joy of 2 Corinthians 5:17 – being a new creation in Christ Jesus.

I can sum up my recommendation of this album in one word: freshness. I have heard too many Christian rappers speaking out cliches (I’m guilty of this myself when I get lazy), whereas Evangel is brutally honest and is not scared to tackle difficult subjects. His instrumentals are well produced and musically excellent, but never threaten to take the focus off the truths he is rapping. The quality of lyricism is constantly high, and he manages to combine excellent wordplay (“please stop the bull like a matador”) with exposition of biblical truth (such as pointing out in “A Good Thing” that man being without woman was the first time God called something “not good”). Like in my earlier feature on Shai Linne, the highest compliment I can give Evangel is to say that I have seen more of God’s truth through his music.

Find out more about Evangel and listen to his tracks here – http://www.myspace.com/evangel33

You can pick up the album on iTunes & Amazon MP3, or if you are in the USA then at http://www.merchline.com/lampmode/productdisplay.7337.p.htm

Grace and peace to you all,

-Stephen

A quick thought from Germany

Apologies for the lack of posts from me: I’ve been travelling but will get something up on some new music very soon indeed! Something very quick for now – while I was in Cologne over new year I visited the city museum. Something that particularly stood out to me was a painting of Jesus crucified with Mary, the apostle John and two others looking up to the cross. The faces of those surrounding the cross were very plain, and as I listened to the commentary on the painting, I heard these intruiging words (paraphrased below):

Mary, John and the others have the faces of the artist, his wife and two other family members, and this painting was kept in the artist’s house. It was popular to paint the faces of loved ones surrounding the cross during the Middle Ages. This was to remind the painter (and family) that the cross was not something distant – but an act done for them, and ultimately, an act caused by them.”

Wow. True Christian creativity of about 600 years ago in the middle of Germany. Maybe a modern version of this is worth doing, even if just for our own benefits.

-Stephen