How Can Christians Create Better Art?

Recently, someone asked me what Christian artists can do to make better art. That’s such a great question. I came up with some thoughts.

PURSUE JESUS, NOT CREATIVITY

I think we need to stop pursuing the next great creative concept, and start pursuing Jesus. That sounds great, and everyone thinks I’m additionally spiritual when I say it. Many people nod and say “Mmmm” when I say that in a room full of artists. But it’s so very true. When we pursue Jesus, the next great creative idea will come as a gift of the relationship. We artists tend to drag Jesus through our creative processes, turning to Him when we’re stuck. I’d rather surrender fully to Jesus so that He drags me fully into the world, figuring out my creative concepts as I’m engrossed in that mission.

INSPIRE MORE, PREACH LESS

I think artists would create better art if they became less concerned with preaching, and more concerned with inspiring average people to feel deeply. Let the pastor preach and teach (artistically, I would argue). Great art happens when artists simply set the table, and invite people into the feast. Great art happens when we allow people the freedom to respond, even if that response isn’t what we envision.

WORK HARD AT LEARNING

Find someone who’s already creating the kind of art you want to create, then work hard at learning how they do it. There is no substitute for this. There are more tutorials on the internet now than ever, and your involvement in them could be the key. But it takes work. A lot of work.

How do you think Christians can create better art?

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  • jasonvana

    I would add two things:

    1. Let your art reflect what God is doing in your life. My writing became better when I stopped trying to tackle big theological theories and focused more on displaying what I was reflecting on in my own life.

    2. Don't copy. I've seen way too many artists (musicians mostly) who copy the work of others and do so in a sub-par fashion. The world doesn't need a "Christian" version of Better Days (originially by the Goo Goo Dolls), it needs us doing something new and fresh.
    My recent post A Healing Commitment

    • Gary Molander

      Jason – Yes. And Yes. Let the art flow out of NOW, not 10 years ago. Love it. Thanks for posting!

  • http://cacpro.com/blog Trevor Roberts

    I really appreciate the challenge to pursue Christ rather than creative concepts. Hard truth, but one I needed to be reminded of.

  • Alison Squires

    I’ve been thinking about your post all week. Surely there must be a ton of artists out there just waiting to share their wisdom? I barely call myself an artist (in the visual sense) but here are my thoughts on how Christians can create better art.

    Practise, practise, practise! Create, create, create! Prioritize the daily practise of your art because there’s no substitute for putting in the hours. Be diligent.

    Immerse yourself in the joy and pain of living in this world. Experience the injustice, the poverty, and the brokenness so you can truly know the depths of Christ’s love. Be real.

    Find the voice that God has given you. Listen to your life – your experiences, background, skills, and personality. Let God’s word take hold and grow deep within the richness of this soil. Be yourself.

    Seek truth in what you do and who you are. Don’t imitate, don’t be fashionable, don’t follow. Have courage even if you’re going against the flow of what’s expected or wanted. Be discerning.

    (continued…)

  • Alison Squires

    (continued)

    It’s ALL about you… You can’t separate yourself from your art. It’s an expression of your heart, soul, mind and strength, and is part of the fabric of who you are. Be authentic.

    It’s NOT about you… In God’s hands, you and your art are simply instruments. Be available.

    Your art is always incomplete. It’s only one half of the conversation and doesn’t exist on its own. It must live through the connections and responses of those experiencing it. Be humble.

    And two quotes from Keith Carter (US photographer) that express the tension we must live with….

    “Absolutely anything you can think of is worth trying.”
    “Make friends with uncertainty because she will always be sitting on your shoulder and whispering in your ear.”

    • Gary Molander

      Alison –

      These are some fantastic thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to post them here. I'm extremely grateful. GM.

  • fishxpressions

    Easier said than done, but SO true. If it WAS easy, then everyone would do it. Christian artists need to walk the narrow path marked by suffering and hard work. We have our Lord as an example. Great thoughts and conversation.

  • http://twitter.com/brandonclements @brandonclements

    Love this…especially the "pursue Jesus, not creativity" part. Thanks Gary.
    My recent post What Marriage Is Really Like

  • Young Artist

    Could someoneu help me? I’m a Christian and i LOVE to draw fantasy! I’ve always wanted to be a part of an artist site where i can post my work. But sites like DeviantArt (if you’ve heard of it) are very indecent. I’ve been googling everywhere for christian sites with the same setup as deviantart without the indecency. I was wondering if anyone knew of anything? Thanks!