Wednesday, January 20, 2010
For Jean Benson
A friend of mine and co-laborer in making art that represents Jesus well, mentioned to me that I should write down some of my thoughts… In regards to making art.
You know, quite honestly, I think I could leave painting behind, and I would be ok. I don’t wake up and think: “Yea! I get to paint today.” It is not my driving passion, my ultimate purpose, my reason for living. Painting for me is a tool. It is a gift. It is a bridge. It is a way. Let me explain.
First, let me say what is my heart’s passion. Boil it down. Jesus. Boil it up a little: the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, the suppressed, the hungry, the abused, the abandoned, the neglected, the sick, the diseased, the wounded, the violent. These people, are my heart’s passion.
Take for example, the people of Haiti. What has happened to them. It makes me weep. Because they are the people listed above, and more importantly, they are my people in my heart. But, you know what made them my people? Of course, Jesus. Of course, my heart for them. Yet, there is another thing…This thing called art. Art was my tool to reach into their lives. It was a way for me to engage with them, to form trust non-threateningly with them, to build relationship with them even when I didn’t speak their language, and to begin the journey of life with them. Now, I consider many of them my brothers, like Jean Benson pictured above, whose whereabouts are unknown since the earthquake. Art led me to him. And now my heart hurts.
Art for me is my bridge to my ultimate passion: loving the most unloved, like Jesus did. Art seems to cross over these gaps that separate us: race, religion, age, perceptions, assumptions, socioeconomic status, social context, culture, technological skill… That is why I love what I do. It takes me to people. It takes me into relationships with people that might just be a bit harder without this gift God has given me.
Of course art isn’t the only way to bridge gaps between people. It is just a way. My way. And for that, I am grateful to God. Because in turn, through these relationships, He inspires my work. It is through these relationships that I see the living Word of God become active and real, and then it translates onto canvas and into people’s lives and hearts.
So, I guess art is my passion indirectly. Maybe I couldn’t leave it behind.