There is a brilliant book by David Galenson called, Old Masters and Young Geniuses, in which he makes a point for the credibility of those that develop later in life. The ones who take time to mature while coming to effective, if not profound, creative expression a little later than the rest.
In a culture that gives popular acclaim to precocity and exults the energy of youth, Galenson makes a great case for those who seemingly muddle along much of their lives in search of, they aren’t sure what, but end up saying something new and valid and true in the end. (The book itself is in-depth, he’s an economist after all; for an easier read, Malcolm Gladwell capsulizes his thesis nicely in his book, What the Dog Saw, in the chapter “Late Bloomers”).
I love what Galenson says, because I feel like I’ve been muddling along most of my life, in search of I don’t know what, but figured if I tinkered long enough something would emerge.
“Join me and Santa Claus for church this Sunday at Newcastle Town Hall.” I shared that audacious announcement with friends and family because this year, my Christmas included collaborative creating with Santa at a one of a kind Christmas art and craft sale.
I think of church as a dine-in or a take-out experience. I often live the “take-out” model — using my art as a way to connect with people. I attempt to deliver “take-out” portions of love and kindness, with a side of art.
As I go, I search for the beauty of God and affirm the image of God in each person I meet. Often these encounters happen on a Sunday. I enter into the world of folks I meet during art events, and together we create. We talk about their family, their goals, their work and how life is working for them.
That is how I met [this] Santa Claus. We had hung out before, when I led carols in public schools. In fact, we’ve been meeting up during this festive season for over six years. Santa, who had never touched a canvas before, received his first art lesson with me at an event we both attended.
I never hear anyone refer to themselves as Christian truck drivers, or Christian factory workers, airline pilots, doctors, or lawyers. The list goes on. Most of the time a person will tell you what their occupation is, and then you might find out later that they are Christian also.
The band U2 is one of the most popular pop rock bands in the world and has been for some time. Not many people think of them as Christians, much less as Christian artists. They are generally considered a secular rock band as opposed to a Christian worship group. I don’t imagine too many churches would consider calling them up to lead worship in their church.
As a visual artist I do not consider myself a Christian Artist.
I am simply an artist, but will always be a Christian first. The word Christian is used as an adjective to describe the person or the type of art a person makes. When a person is called a Christian artist the person is now compartmentalized into making only Christian art.
The artist is no longer making art for the sake of being a creative person that God made them to be.