The enemy of an artist.

I’ve been thinking a lot about art, whether it’s something I’d like to pursue (as in, a career), or if it’s just something that I enjoy doing. While thinking about it, I began thinking about what could cause someone to stop being an artist. I came to the conclusion that Time is an artist’s worst enemy; not because our own beauty fades, not because of vanity. But because the things you’ve been using your whole life to create are now fading away. Your hands are no longer steady, your eyes are no longer sharp, and your body may no longer be able to take long hours spent in a studio or at a desk. But your mind remains, creating invisible things, things just for you. You still see the world through an artist’s eyes. When I get too old to make things, that could be all that will keep me sane, is the ability to imagine. No matter what state your mind is in, we all imagine. Even while we sleep. We call those dreams. At the core, a true artist is someone who is good at bringing imagination to life, in one way or another, and loves to do so. They dream, not just while they’re asleep, but while they’re wide awake. That never goes away, even when the body crumbles.

So, the short answer is: nothing can stop you from being an artist. Nothing. “Artist” is a condition of the soul, not something determined by actions, or ability.

And I firmly believe that art and our desire to make things, to create is a reflection of God’s glory and His character. He, Himself, is an artist, and He’s created the most wonderful masterpiece of all time. Us. Because we are made in the image of an almighty God, who is Love. Time is not some steadily approaching doom that we all must fight, but rather is the sound of God’s heartbeat; never-ending, eternal, steady, always present.

Art is incredibly important to me, and I sometimes feel that our society is moving farther and farther from the heart of creativity, which, of course, is the Creator. He began it all. But in a world that rejects Him, I fear that we may lose the soul of our art. Art comes from a place in the heart. A place that, once filled with His holiness, has a harder and harder time creating from darkness (sanctification). Unfortunately, we live in a world that has become a cavern filled to overflowing with that darkness.

“If you want to know what is in the heart of a culture, look at its art. Read its poetry, listen to its music, and you’ll begin to know the tree from which it fell.” -M. Gungor

We are moving toward mediocrity in our artwork. At least, it seems that way to me. Many artists “sell out” and stop being original. Today, we’re fine with the idea of doing something that isn’t your dream just because it pays better, or “it’s what the people want.” What people? Your people? You? God? His people? No. The masses… a faceless mass of mediocrity.

“With auto-tune, anyone can sing ‘on pitch.’ With self-publishing anyone can be an author. But are we cultivating a culture of mediocrity? And are we robbing our art of its humanity? -Anam Cara

“Money is not the root of all kinds of evil. The love of money is. It’s also the root of a lot of bad art.” -Michael Gungor

I have to say, though, Michael Gungor is one of those amazing people who manages to retain the humanity and soul in his art. A true artist after God’s heart.

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