Friday’s FYI – David Wierzbicki

David is one of my friends on Twitter, and a fantastically talented artist. I personally really love his style and want to own all of the artwork that I have seen of his!

David Wierzbicki

Age? 30

Where do you live? Brantford, Ontario. Small-ish city southwest of Toronto.

What is your favorite colour? I’ve never been able to answer this question. When I was in grade school I always thought there was something wrong with me because all the other kids could tick of their favourite colours immediately. That said, when I play RISK I’m always red.

What is your favorite website at the moment? Twitter. I really enjoy the blog at http://www.colourlovers.com/blog. There is great, creative conversation going on at http://missionaltribe.org. If you have any connection or attraction to Missional Church that is the place for you. (Artists especially) Overall, I think as of late I’ve been more intrigued by social networking projects such as twitter than by any one website.

What are the 3 things that you most like doing with your time? I’ve been reading more in the last couple years than I have in my whole lifetime. Drawing and sketching. If I have a surface within arm’s reach it will be doodled upon. Relaxing with my wife, Amy.

Illustrator

Blueface

Battle of the holidays

When did you first start using your creativity for God, and how did that come about? It took me a long time to understand that God really did have a use for artists. It wasn’t something that was explicit in my upbringing. Artists were generally seen as being on the outside, discontent with the respectable plan that God really had for their lives. When I went away to art college I began to see again the creative draw that God has and has put inside all of us as co-creators and imaginers. While in school I had the opportunity to illustrate a calendar for Wycliffe Bible Translators. That was the first time I had ever used my art in an expressly Christian avenue.

What inspires you? When I start a piece I often just let my pencil move. As it creates I draw from that energy and begin listening to where I’m heading. In addition: conversation, dreams, music, long drives in the car, smells, sounds, hot showers, good drink, good food, the river…

Who are some of your favorite artists? Much like the colour question, I have don’t have a really solid answer for this.
I could say Egon Schiele for the incredible life and linework of his figures.
And Gustav Klimt for inspiring Schiele.
Ralph Steadman’s influence on the world of illustration is hard to deny.
Also, my friend Ben Weeks (benweeks.ca) is a massive inspiration for the life of his lines and the freshness of his approach and our conversations on art and faith while in school.

What is the most amazing thing that you have seen God do? I’m amazed at how he sprouts faith in the dirtiest corners of our neighborhood streets. The places where faith, hope and love have no business being are the places where they seem to be most often found. I don’t thank God enough for the times when he makes that apparent to me. I don’t know. The most amazing thing I’ve seen God do might be the way he has used the smile of a poor child to change the atmosphere of an entire room.

Do you have any particular projects going on at the moment? The biggest project I have going on right now is my work toward a theology degree. Other than that, I’m working on a variety of ideas and projects with friends; ranging from book covers to animated shorts.

What can we expect to see from you in future? I’m fascinated with the idea of creating a space for creativity, art, interaction, conversation, community, help, prayer, danger, safety, disagreement, and agreement. Oh… and firstly, LOVE.

A group of friends and I are currently dreaming of a church community that emerges out of the neighbourhood garden that surrounds it. Creativity and neighborliness are our number one motivators. Church is Art.

What would you most like to see come out of the Christian Creative scene in the next few years? Connected to our dreams of a church plant is the concept of being deeply local.

I have a real hope for a more radical localization of Christianity. While the past couple decades have seen incredible bursts of creativity from Christianity in everything from music to film it has also been a time of cultural homogeneity and borrowing.

We have been losing our locally unique characteristics as we have been told that we have use such and such music and such and such presentation software and such and such graphic appearances etc… I would love to see our church communities really embrace their local-ness and encourage the creatives among them to develop and design art and creativity that is unique to them; and not just so they can farm that talent out to entire continents.

If we can stop leaning on the creativity of a few “professionals” and start recognizing the deep pools immediately around us we could see beauty and art re-engaged by the Church.

Where can we find more of your work? My main online hub is found at http://davidwierzbicki.com. My twitter account (twitter.com/diecast), art portfolio, blog and more are all linked from there.

Anything else you would like to say? …Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Interview with Chad Jarnagin

In this post our friend Carole Hicks interviews Christian musician Chad Jarnagin.

Chad Jarnagin

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your heart with the readers here at Artists for Christ! We are honored to have you here. Would you start off by giving us a bit of info on your background, where did you grow up, what is your life like now, that sort of thing.
I am a songwriter, lead worshiper, pastor, & artist.. I’m passionate about mentoring young musicians, writing songs, and leading The Church in worship to their Creator. I grew up around Cincinnati, OH, and now live in Franklin, TN / Nashville where I am the Worship Arts Pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church (www.rollinghillscommunity.org)

I’ve toured over 1800 shows / events over 10 years including major sporting events with the NBA playoffs w/ the New York Knicks & Indiana Pacers, NFL w/ Tennessee Titans & Kansas City Chiefs, MLB w/ Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, the NHL, AFL, and more. I’ve also led worship for conferences and conventions including Youth Specialties, State & National Evangelism conventions, as well as many worship & leadership conferences. Most of which happened while with my old band Among Thorns.

What kind of training or schooling do you have that has led to your current success or situation in life?
I went to Carson Newman College. Much of my education has come “on the job”, I have done some schools of music, conferences, & leadership training programs as well. I will truly be a student of life until I am done in the world.

What one thing do you do to find creative inspiration?
I have to find time to be in silence… while reading, writing, or whatever. When I make time for that, all the noise tends to fade so that I can sense the “still small voice”. The true translation of that really means in the “stone silence”. I believe God speaks through many things, but we have to stop ourselves to see and hear Him. With Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, and video gaming we all have our share of distractions / entertainment.

Would you mind sharing the story of how you came to know Christ and how he shows up in your day-to-day life as an artist?
When I was 15 I went through the motions of saying a prayer, doing the “right” things and trying not to do the “wrong” things, but came to find that by the age of 22 I hadn’t surrendered me to Him. I found freedom when I began a relationship at that point when I was 22. Funny thing is, I had already been in Christian music for 3 yrs at that point. I’m glad God is bigger than the religion we substitute for Him sometimes.

I create space in life to read the Scriptures, books, and meditate as much as I can. God is everywhere everyday. He shows up in conversations at coffee shops, pubs, school, and even Urban Outfitters if we pay attention. <smile>

Do you now or have you ever felt isolated as an artist in the world, or do you have a strong community of believers that you stay connected with throughout the day?
I do have some amazing friends. Most of which have their own artsy tweaks to them. The sense of community in my town of Franklin is pretty rad. There is a Godly synergy that is sometimes unexplainable.

As artists we will probably always feel a little different, which can lead to isolation. I have worked on staff at churches and have been made to feel alone. The bigger picture is to be aware of who God has made us to be. He wired you the way you are for a honkin’ reason! I am still wrapping my head/heart around that.

Do you ever use your art as a medium to help others and share the gospel?
I hope so! It’s my heart and strategy that my music, writings, and art relates to people where they are. I hope it engages Believers to respond in worship to their God. For others, I can usually begin to connect just b/c of my appearance. In other words, I probably don’t look like I just walked out of church. <wink> Music is something that everyone can relate to. When people hear that I’m a musician they are 95% willing to converse b/c they are genuinely interested in the music.

I have a few plans to use music to influence positive change in my community through my church I might add.

Do you have any nuggets of wisdom, any tips for young artists who are just starting out?
I started out in music when I was 15. Begin as young as you can, b/c you will be learning forever. Make time to read, listen, love, and create. Whatever you are dreaming, go for it. With the technical tools at our disposal today, you can do it all. If you are a song-writer, write and record it with your Mac (or a friends Mac). If you are an actor, act. Be it at school or wherever. Filmakers, shoot, film, and edit away. Designers, create, craft, and dream on.

The world is waiting for you to show up to the party. If you are a Believer, wear His name well. Don’t run from the world b/c it is different from you. Run TO it. Love it b/c it needs loving… and it needs inspiration with new beautiful, thought provoking art.

…If you are on Twitter you can follow both Carole and Chad – James

Solomons Temple and the Modern Church

This is a guest post from our friend Thomas Loving (aka @DreadedRafifi). Thomas has a fantastic blog where he tends to pick apart obscure bits of scripture in a fantastic way.

Cherubim

Have you ever taken the time to read about the temple Solomon built for God? David spent the latter part of his life hoarding treasure and materials for the construction of the temple and Solomon took a little over seven years building it. To say the least, it was huge and amazing (you can read a full account here 1 Kings 6 – 7).

It was about 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. The inside of the temples walls were overlaid with gold. To light the inside he hung cross sections of gold chains that held golden oil lamps. Standing in the center of the temple, just before the inner chambers where the Ark of the Covenant rested, were two carved images of Cherubim (angels) standing 15 feet tall. Their wings were 15 feet wide each touching one wall with the inner wings touching each other. They too were overlaid with Gold.

The descriptions of the temple and its furnishings are both beautiful and detailed. They conjure images of holiness, beauty and a lavish grandeur the likes of which we may never see again in the world.

The imagery the artists used are such a contrast to today’s modern churches that sometimes don’t have any art or even a cross hung in their place of worship. Not that this modern style is a bad thing, but as a designer I can’t help but imagine the modern church as a blank canvas compared to Solomon’s temple. It’s almost as if the church is waiting for its artists and creators to wake them up to the beauty of God’s love.

We are made in the image of God and our God is a creator. We create because He first did. Sometimes I feel that the modern church has forgotten this aspect of God. But you and I-the designers, artists, musicians, writers, creators-we haven’t forgotten. How can we convince the church to not only make room for but also to encourage more art? Have you built any golden Cherubim lately? Think it’s time to try?

– DreadedRafifi

What you were made for

What you were made for

“He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labour, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” – Ephesians 4:28

A Stolen Purpose

There is a beauty to be found in doing what you’re made for; in devoting time and energy to something that brings about a new experience or object, a thing to be shared and that reveals even the tiniest part of the awesome character of God.

Yet there are occasions when the amazing plans and designs of God are corrupted, distracted from their function, and their purpose is stolen from them.

Psalm 19:1 tells us that “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands”… I wonder if anyone has ever told that to newspaper psychics and horoscope writers, who tell thousands, maybe millions, of readers the disasters that will befall them over the course of the next 24 hours, or the way in which their love life is going to progress, all divined, apparently, from observing the heavens. Where did the universe go so wrong that we now look up to the sky and see not the wondrous God we serve but instead we seek direction from planetary movements and characters from Greek and Egyptian myths?

The same seems to have happened in many cases with art. Whatever its form, art has the power to convey any range of ideas. I have seen amazing work that has spoken to me of the power and glory of God, but I’ve also found so many creative works that are solely designed to destroy the image of the God who originally thought of them. When was its purpose stolen?

Gifted For Glory

The first account we have of God directly giving any form of spiritual gift is found in Exodus. After sharing instructions for His designs for the Tabernacle we’re told of a command that God makes; that “every skilful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work in the construction of the sanctuary, shall perform in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.”

God gifted artists and designers to build a dwelling place for Him, to construct somewhere in which His glory could rest and He could be worshipped. The middle part of this passage teaches us something beautiful about the purpose of art, that it is to be used in the building of a sanctuary, a place for people to seek God and hear from him.

Creativity can be used to create an environment where God is present, where we can seek Him, worship Him and where those in need can be supported, encouraged and built up. It is to be shared, to declare His beauty and power. That is the stolen purpose of art. What you were made for.

So let art tell of the glory of God, let creativity declare the work of His hands. Whether you are a painter, writer, musician, cinematographer, photographer or random scribbler, let that which you create speak of the one you love, the one who inspired all you make and He to whom all the glory is given. Our glorious God.

– Luke

Friday’s FYI – Jono Hale

Jono is a young Graphic Designer and Musician based in New Zealand. He has a passion for seeing the gospel shared through the creative arts and is particularly gifted at web design.

Jono Hale

Age? I was born on 11/10/1989(so for you guys in USA, 10/11/1989, October 11th 😛 ) so that makes me 19.

Where do you live? I live in Ohau, which is a little town south of a larger little town, Levin, in the great land of New Zealand.

What is your favorite colour? I love the metallic gradient, light grey – black, or um… black? not sure…

What is your favorite website at the moment? Right now… hmm… *looks at bookmarks* possibly, www.gomediazine.com & www.videocopilot.net

What are the 3 things that you most like doing with your time? Well, Gaming with mates (COD4, Halo, Xbox live gamer tag: otenic add me 😛 I’ll play nice first game, lol j/k no i won’t I’ll pwn ya 😉 ), working on designs for youth group, helping out at youth church & church with sound, lighting, drumming…

Living Victory Shirt - Jono Hale

More Than Youth Website - Jono Hale

Love Out Of This World Shirt - Jono Hale

When did you first start using your creativity for God, and how did that come about? When i started designing! 😀 around 5 years ago when my mates at school got me back into web design, then got excited and we started work on our youth groups first website!

What inspires you? God, the world around me, other creative peoples work and more then often while listing to music.

Who are some of your favorite artists? Definately God, Andrew Kramer(www.videocopilot.net), Aj Dimarucot & Danny Carlsen the designer for Parachute Music, www.parachutemusic.com, Andy Francis (Planetshakers designer, www.planetshakers.com) anyone that works hard to set new trends! oh and the guys over at RedisWhite.com!

What is the most amazing thing that you have seen God do? Gave me meaning and my talents! only 5 years as a designer and no formal education, that’s cos God isn’t dependent on what the world offers, he can use you any way you let him! oh sorry back to questions.

Do you have any particular projects going on at the moment? I recently applied for the position of Lead designer at NZ largest Christian youth mag (www.soulpurpose.co.nz) so hopefully get that, Working on Motion graphics for Youth of the Nation Conference including promo video, intro videos and graphics for during worship as well as being Visual Director (live video production etc). I also have another project that is secret so can’t say. sorry 🙁 + I’m working on getting my blog back on track 😀

What can we expect to see from you in future? Hopefully some cool new prototypes for sermon podcast stuff, social network stuff & even awesomer motion graphics! 😀 oh and if all works out a new Faith based T-Shirt company, check back here I’m sure I’ll let these guys know.

What would you most like to see come out of the Christian Creative scene in the next few years? Well what not? I want us to start setting trends, becoming the ‘beginning of art’ as God was and is, inspiring work that gets people thinking and brings them closer to God!

Where can we find more of your work? right now on my company’s website: www.finenoises.com (almost finished!), my new blog www.jonohale.finenoises.com oh and my CreativeMYK space: www.creativemyk.com/finenoises

Anything else you would like to say? Keep using our talents for God, but think outside the box, use thought provoking words and ideas to get your message across, and remember God deserves your all, don’t hold back on your designs. And don’t be afraid to use resources like CreativeMYK, Gomedia and others to help enhance your designs, underline the word enhance! and remember He loves you!

You’re Custom Made

This guest post comes from our friend Keni. Keni is a fantastically talented artist and is passionate about sharing the gospel through his art and design work. You can check out his website at www.keni.com.

Lummis Home

This year I will celebrate my 60th birthday. There was a time when I was in my early 20’s when I thought that I would not live to see my 30th. You’ve probably heard the ‘deliverance from drugs and a life of sin when I accepted Jesus as my Savior’ testimonies.

There certainly was a time when I thought all the vices I had would kill me, but I stopped doing them (almost all) before I came to Christ. Instead, I began to believe that a life of emptiness would kill me had it not have been for my art. In a crazy way, my art became my drug, or my ‘god’ as they say in Christian circles.

Several years of freedom from drugs and living like a lunatic allowed my mind to clear up enough to come to another frightening realization; that not even art could be fulfilling.

When I finally invited Christ into my life, it took about six months for me to finally be convinced that He was truly all the Bible and anointed Christians said He was. I didn’t make a deliberate decision to stop painting, but I found that it was so much less satisfying than getting to know Jesus that I didn’t paint for a year.

When I finally picked up a paintbrush again, I had a real reason for doing so outside of myself.

I once heard a Bible teacher say that God doesn’t care what profession you choose. The preacher said that God only called apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. If you’re not called to the ‘5-fold’ ministry office, pick something and just do it.

I’m glad Jesus told the ‘Parable of the Talents’ (Matthew 25: 14-30). That tells me that everyone has been given talent(s) according to our own particular abilities. In other words, God custom made our talent(s) for us.

The late missionary, David Livingston said, “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” We should hold hold in high esteem those called to be apostles, prophets, evangelist pastors and teachers, but it should be no sacrifice to live life in service to God and man with the talents He has given us as artists. It is indeed an honor and privilege.

– Keni

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.

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