Saturday, November 29, 2014

Reading 5- Who Do You Say I Am?

Some of the art presented in this chapter:

Jan Van Eyck- The Last Judgment

Catherine Prescott- The Artist as a Young Man: Portrait of Peter

Leonardo Da Vinci- Cartoon for the Virgin and Child with St. Anne and the infant St. John

Some of the quotes I found interesting, along with brief reflections:

"Artists who are Christians find they have membership in two subcultures, and participate in two institutions that have markedly different views of how to order one's life and determine what counts for the good, the true and the beautiful." (Pg. 308)

- This statement is so true, especially considering myself as a liberal. Many of the people I spend time with are fairly liberal in their views as well, and sometimes I feel like there is a real gray area in between what society believes, and what I know to be true. So many things could go either way, but many things are also ultimate truths and its hard living that way... as a citizen of two different cultures. It reminds me of my dual citizenship, I am both a citizen here and in the Dominican Republic but when I am there I feel that I have to "abandon" my American ways. I have to pop my personal space bubble, I have to forget about punctuality, etc. I wish both worlds could exist in harmony, but that will likely never happen.

"Christian colonizing dresses up the arts in acceptable church clothing, and is akin to the early settlers 'Christianizing' Native Americans by having them dress as Europeans. It ignores the legitimacy and integrity of art that does not have a Christian message, or is deemed uplifting in its effect." (Pg. 308)

- This is unfortunate. Although I personally create concepts that have spiritual meanings, I think any art that is thought provoking and tastefully done should be allowed in the church and within the Christian body. How can a piece of art really move a audience is there is always a conservative filter on it? I shouldn't have to dress my art in "church clothing" or subdue my concepts because they might offend someone. I think sometimes the very things that we are afraid of can heal us.

"Our identity is grounded in and conditioned by the fact that we are created by God, bear His image, and are known by Him. That is to say, our identity is circumscribed by our creatureliness, and charged by the capacity we have to know and interact with God." (Pg. 309)

- Amen (See video link below)

"The artist does not make art as one would work a job, with set hours every day, and an entrance into and exit from a work world and a work consciousness. Everything in the artist's life may be part of the artistic process, or the subject matter for the art." (Pg.313)

- Although there is an exception to this statement, as there is with anything really, this holds truth. Most artists do art "on the side" along with a more regular job that helps make ends meat. However, when we do create work we pull from all aspects of life, which is so cool. We literally have the whole world as inspiration, I wonder why we so often lack it. I was hanging up a shirt to dry this morning, and it was quite translucent, so the sun shone through it beautiful. From that experience I started writing out ideas for a photography concept. Not many people can do that, but artists have that capability.

"...Art does reveal something about the artist. One cannot make something without exposing his or her interests, tastes, and skills in some way...artists also make conscious choices, and have the capacity to create fiction. They may choose to conceal, exaggerate, distort, or fabricate. So I believe it is a risky proposition to think that you learn a lot about artists by simply looking at their art." (Pg. 314)

- Speaking strictly about my art, most of it are stories I have heard, things I have experienced/feelings I have had conceptualized. So one could possibly gather a lot about me and my story. I sometimes create fictionally, but most everything I create has a deeper/spiritual meaning, and connects to me in some way. However, I understand what he is saying. Don't judge an artist by their art, because it may not always reflect them as a person, and I agree.

"The making of reputations is a parallel but separate process from the making of art and is a form of art-making in itself." (Pg. 316)
- This is really interesting. I don't think about this enough. The idea of creating art that will give me a good/interesting reputation and draw in the art world. For me creating art is a very personal thing. I do it to further understand myself and others, but also to serve others and their life stories. I think I have a different outlook on art-making, but I still understand the importance of the reputation.

"In our culture 'interests' has built into it the idea of arousing curiosity, standing apart from the ordinary, and having or doing something that attracts attention. In our media-saturated culture, where so many voices compete for our attention, arousing interest is the first step towards getting publicity." (Pg. 317)

Once again, this is a hard truth for me to face because I want to believe that it is all about how much heart you put into it, or how truthful the concept is, but that just isn't what our society craves; at least they don't know it yet. I was walking through Portland Art Museum this weekend and there was so much work that I felt like didn't belong there. Art pieces that I could have done better myself. I realized that regardless of the quality of the work, these artists had made a name for themselves in the past. They had aroused interests which allowed for all of their future work to flourish, no matter how bad. I guess arousing interests is something I need to work on.

"So it is not that we should not be expressive, but instead a question of what our expressions arise from and what they ultimately serve. Self-expression as an end is solipsistic, and finally locked within the sparsely populated universe of the utterly personal." (Pg. 319)

- What do my expressions arise from? This is such a powerful question. And I wish I could just say Jesus, but the first thing that came to my head when I read this quote was pain. My expressions arise from pain and from seeking God in that pain. They arise from a deep desire for community and a longing for oneness. I also have a passion to speak for and of other's pain and heartache. But I want for my expressions to also come out of a place of gratitude and peace. I am still working on it.


- Bustard, Ned, and Sandra Bowden. "God Is Good like No Other." It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God. Baltimore, MD: Square Halo, 2000.

- Beautiful poem on Art & Identity:

- One of my favorite Lecrae songs about identity:


  1. You really have some very thoughtful entries in here. I too resonated or ruminated on some of the comments you did. Once again though, I would tie the text together a bit more and work on finding more images that simply what the text had. Nice tie into your journey to the Portland Art Museum. Certainly some of their work around interest in there time... but maybe some just aren't interesting now? (-;

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