I still do not consider myself to be a creative person. My pastor always identifies me as creative, but I am not sure I can see that yet. I have come to recognize that I think in pictures. Sometimes I hear words strewn together so beautifully that I can see those words come together as a whole in the form of a picture. It is new to think of myself as an artist.
Recently, I read Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” That to me is what helps me to claim my prayers on canvas as art.
Art is an expression of the self—there are as many ways of expressing a truth as there are people. Probably more. Art leads me to wholeness in the same way God breathed life into a lifeless being: it defines my identity and gives me purpose. Without art, I’d exist, but mechanical would be a better word to describe that existence. With art, I am able to be passionate, to define what makes me feel whole, and own the liberty to pursue it. Art allows me to depart from the world of materialism and find value in something rich and intangible. It’s what I’ve been circling around this whole interview. It’s the thing that saved me in Iowa, saved me again and again in my darkest moments. It’s what brought life into my existence, whether it be through writing or something completely other. The art isn’t as important as what it expresses.
It’s called love.
As a team, we at Sanctified Art often find ourselves consciously—and subconsciously—thinking about the practical and big picture implications of the art we create. Our creative process often revolves around these questions: How will this art be used? How will it stir imagination, invite participation, and offer space to heal? How might what we create become life-giving for others?
These questions are rooted in a bigger, more philosophical question: What, exactly, does art do? There is no one answer, of course, but we can't deny that art does something. It affects us, even if we create it with no greater intentions or expectations.
We hiked a mountain at 5 am, in cold rain, and nearly froze to death for the sake of the art. The introverted among us needed breaks. The organized among us needed a plan, and the late among us, well, ran late. We worked through meals, neglected sleep and every ounce of self care, due to poor communication. We carried our egos too closely to the surface, grappled with disappointment, failed to see the hurt on one another’s faces, and had to find the strength within us to say,
“Stop, I need to talk.”