Creating Art

Long before I was interested in the things of God, I was a Musician.  I learned how to play the guitar and play songs written by other people.  I listened with great interest to music on the radio and albums I had purchased.  Then, in my early adult years, I developed a modest understanding of the things of God.  This transformation caused me to be very uncomfortable making music outside a Christian context.  I felt it was wrong to create Art independent of the church.  Eventually, with the help of Francis Schaefer (www.labri.org) and other teachers, I began to view art in the context of the larger created universe.  I began to understand that much of what we do each day (work, play, and worship) is Art.  We express our ideas with Art, when we do things with dignity, concern for detail, we are creating Art.

For me, the basis for Art begins with the model found in God’s Creation (thought, action, production, and impact).  Clearly, there are huge differences in magnitude between what God creates and what humans create but the modest similarities (pattern) provide a basis for the definition of Art.

When I create music, I first conceive the music in my thought world.  At this point, the Art is an idea, a vision in my mind, the Art has a sense of purpose, and often the Art has boundaries (medium selection).  Then I bring the Art to life by translating my thoughts into the physical world.  During that first moment after creation, who hears my Art?  Me and God.  When does it become Art?  The moment the Art is created.  Do I share it with others?  Yes.

I think this model (the process of creating Art) applies to a painter developing an image on canvas, a musician making up music, a systems engineer designing an application, landscapers who designs and builds a homeowners yard, or a flower shop owner generating flower arrangements.  First, there is the conception of the vision in the thought world, next comes the transformation, and then the work is unveiled in the physical world.

From my vantage point, this model is God’s model.  God who existed before creation had a plan: He started with the void, created something from nothing, and caused the things wrapped about us to become tangible.  We live within God’s Art, we are encouraged to work, play, and worship within the context of God’s Art.  If this is the case, then our Art (on a smaller scale) should reflect our work, play, and worship.  Furthermore, just as one can know something very real about the artist from the Art, so we can know something about God by looking at His Art.

Things fall into place, not through a leap in the dark, but through an event that is real and can be part of a rational conversation.  God created the universe we live within and God created us.  We are not God and we are not an extension of God, but we exist because of an act of God’s will which is personal and which existed prior to our being.  The art that we create exists because of an act of our will, which is personal.  The Art did not exist until we created it, and will continue to exist long after we are gone.  Why?  The definition of Art does not depend upon our acknowledgement.  The definition of Art is connected to God’s pattern of creation.

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