The Identity of the Artist, Part Two

… Continued.

I think God wants believing artists to abandon the self-preoccupied persona of an artist and to adopt a God-centered artist identity. When I talk about a God-centered artist identity, I am not suggesting that this is all there is to our identities as artists or as human beings. I just wanted to talk about some of the common points artists share.

Artists have vision, not only for the tangible, but also for the intangible. In school, I used a resort when I had procrastinated a creative project until the last minute: a pencil. A pencil is just a pencil, but in my head I have this imagery of a lonely pencil, a pencil that wants to be worth something.

I could have just left the lonely pencil in my imagination, but I am an artist, and artists also have the creativity to bring the intangible alive in their craft – in a sense, they make it tangible. Storytelling is my craft, both written and visual, and so it is how I express concepts like loneliness and worthlessness. I am slightly embarrassed to say that during my college experience, two separate pencils became protagonists in two different stories, one written and one visual. But it really wasn’t ever about the pencils. It was about the concepts of loneliness and worthlessness.

Artists are sensitive, in that we deeply feel our environs, the people we interact with, and ourselves. We are tuned in to the intangible, good or bad. Sometimes this sensitivity is completely introverted, and self-awareness dominates. In a God-centered artist identity, the artist’s awareness and empathy are directed toward others. These qualities make artists a safe haven for others.

Artists are passionate. We develop passion about our art, passion about our beliefs, passion about our relationships. Like our sensitivity, passion can become twisted into pursuit of self. When we are passionate about God first, and are pursuing His plan for our lives, all other passions fall into place.

I look at these aspects of the artist identity as positive when centered on God. I believe God is the Supreme Artist, and that He delights in artists. In the hands of our Creator, artists can be used to reach other artists and art-observers for Jesus Christ. However, we have an Enemy whose goal is to pervert and destroy the beauty God intends. In view of this, I think it is wise to watch our artist identity to evaluate its God-centeredness on a regular basis.

Fellow, believing artists, are we ready to do things differently? Are we prepared to put aside self-preoccupation in order to pursue God’s idea of what our identities of artists should look like? Are we read to bring our diverse talents together to reach the world with good news of Jesus Christ? The time is now…

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings. This is so that they will seek the LORD, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27).

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