Art Career Viable?

(Dani) #1

I studied animation and illustration in university but after graduating, I’m conflicted in how (and if) I should be doing art. I will also add that I have Scrupulosity Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), so legalism is something I’m also battling.

I’m working on a kids book that is a bit of an allegory, but is this tricking kids? I feel like even if I aim for these ends of people saved, that because I am imperfect, the means to these ends are going to be flawed. I’m where I am after many a sin. Like maybe I lied sometime in life, or stole someone’s candy, which gave me an iota of energy to do [task], and yadda yadda, now I’m me, today. I know Jesus cleansed me of my sins, and I also know Romans 8:28 but I still did the sins and they didn’t not happen, you know?

My portfolio hasn’t got any direct Bible depictions, but I’m also unemployed and art jobs require you show a portfolio. Should I wait to apply and build a portfolio with Bible artwork in it? I could apply for artless jobs meanwhile.

I like to draw people at cafes, but I caricature them, and caricatures as a rule make fun of people.

I also don’t draw exactly hyper-realistic, but I am scared this is misrepresenting what God has created. Example: if I draw Clifford, I understand he’s a dog, and you understand he’s a dog, but dogs aren’t that big, or red, and they don’t actually have an outline and huge eyes with tiny black pupils. God made dogs and so shouldn’t I draw them exact? But then even 2-D art is not the actual thing and so 2-D art seems like a misrepresentation, too!


(Andrew Bulin) #2

Hey there, @Dani!
I really hope to see that you find the talent the Lord gave you and the grace to live an everyday life everyday! Your heart for the Lord and your time with Him is the core of your faith. Your study in His word, prayer, and worship in fellowship with fellow believers are more akin to your service to Him. I would think it would be great if you could also use your art specifically in a YHWH-focused way, but I bet when Paul made tents, often times they were just tents. :slight_smile:

So do art! But make sure God is most important in your heart, mind, and soul, and show it in your worship, prayer and study. These will come out in your daily life. Pray for Him to show you how He may use your talents for His kingdom. Otherwise, do not waste the talent He gave you or worry too much. Even the disciples themselves were imperfect and prone to mistakes. So don’t fret so about your own flaws. Do your honest best.

I liked this post by @SeanO regarding our everyday work being a part of evangelism.

On a personal note, I struggle a lot with OCD and have since I was a child. It used to be a lot more debilitating, but I was able to overcome a lot by just walking away from urges and just doing things afraid, while also looking for the joy and pleasure in things just being imperfect. Eventually I can forget the latest urges and can move on a bit more each day. Then again, some days (like TODAY), just aren’t so hot.

Thanks for your post. I’ve actually been stuggling with some perfectionism at my work recently and your post reminds me the grace also afforded to myself. We can pray for each other the peace that God gives us and patience in ourselves.

Praying for you.

(Warner Joseph Miller) #3

Well said, @andrew.bulin! I definitely second everything mentioned. This essentially hits the nail on the head for me regarding your post, @Dani:

When thinking about your post, Dani, these two passages of scripture came to mind. (I used the Amplified Bible for emphasis)

“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand, so that we would walk in them”. ~ EPHESIANS 2:10 AMP

“For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.” ~ PHILIPPIANS 2:13 AMP

Two things stand out to me.

#1 - God is an artist…THE Artist, in fact! We are His workmanship. Other translations read it as ‘masterpiece’. The Greek translation of the word “workmanship” is poema. What English word do you think we get from THAT word? You guessed it: POEM. So, in a very real sense, we are God’s poem! I’d wager that any artist would affirm that the creation of their art requires an amount of deliberacy, intention and attention. Every stroke of the brush, word in a poem, note of a song, etc are purposely AND purposefully placed specifically where they would most effectively communicate the artist’s vision. The same can be said of you and I and humanity with regard to the attention to detail and priority of us…His varied, unique and special masterpieces. We, as the bearers of His image (imago Dei), are His intentional, deliberate, purposeful works of ART. And with ALL of His “art pieces”, the built-in intention of us are, ultimately, to point to Him, giving Him glory. Cool, right?:ok_hand:t6::wink:

#2 - The good work; the good “art” that God has given us to do – He has given us to DO! Does that make sense? He’s given you the will to create AND the thing(s) to create…for HIS good pleasure. Your desire to create – particularly the things which are done in excellence and with nurtured skill along with natural talent that bring Him glory – were given to you by God! Now, while it’s true that all good gifts have the potential to be perverted and misused and abused by the recipient, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that they were/are God given.

So to reiterate the wisdom that Andrew gave,

“…do art! But make sure God is most important in your heart, mind, and soul, and show it in your worship, prayer and study. […] do not waste the talent He gave you or worry too much.”

YOU are His poem…His masterpiece, after all. :wink:God bless you, sister!

(Dani) #4

I’m gonna watch that Tim Keller video later, so maybe this is answered there, but I feel like if I

wouldn’t I also show God in art, too? I will pray more about how.

If cartoons aren’t “good,” I also know I can’t be perfect in hyper-realistic artwork, even, like I know I can’t be perfect as a human, so I am confused on what to even try doing (art, life, etc)!

If I’m going to present a speech and mess up a part, it’s ok, I can deal. But if I’m looking at blank paper, and I know what I want to draw (and it isn’t like gore or whatever, but it isn’t a Bible scene either, more likely it’s a person at a coffee shop), I have choices in each stroke I make (OCD, “the doubting disease,” loves decision-making opportunities haha), and I don’t know if what I want to draw is the best thing I can draw at that moment. I can draw anything at that moment.

But hmm, I can say anything at a moment, too…Perhaps I can apply the same idea of speaking to art (side note actually I am getting little bits of inspiration now!!)…I’ll pray on that, too! Answering a question with art, maybe…Ooh this is exciting! Thank you two for responding! Really happy I signed up for Connect today :sob:

Edit: Ok, not sure how to address art styles. There’s styles I enjoy, but that doesn’t mean they’re good. In fact, people like lots of bad things. :-/

(Helen Tan) #5

Hi @Dani, I read your post a few times, each time with a greater degree of care and interest. I’m not an artist but have always admired artwork, particularly, cartoons which I have found to be very effective in getting a message across to the reader who is likely to be less guarded. Sometimes words alone don’t work as well and having characters ‘say’ something deep and meaningful and going through life experiences is an effective and less confronting means to bypass the resistance that people put up. What I admire about animated drawings is that the characters, whether human or animal, can get a thought, message across quite seamlessly and the ‘picture’ remains in memory for a certain length of time. What God has given you is a precious gift (that I wish I had). I tried drawing but my work is never good and there’s nothing special about the characters that I create. Perhaps you should look at your gift from the point of view that you can share the Gospel across generations of people, and across people of different nationalities, ages and experiences. No need for lots of words - just pictures which anyone can readily relate to. And that can touch something deep within them.

I see too that your concern is also with ‘misrepresenting’ what God has created. I think you should rest easy on that as absolute accuracy would fall within the domain of photography and film-making, which are also means by which God can use to get His message across. But there is nothing inferior about drawings in achieving this same purpose. I see God as the Master of all techniques of communication and when you yield your talent to Him, He will make use of it to reach people whom He knows will get the message. You will, in fact, be the apprentice to the Great Art Master who will turn your efforts into Masterpieces to bring people into His Kingdom.

So what could you do? I can’t give you a formula but I have a picture which I would like to paint for you (in words). Yield your talent and time to Him and let Him guide you as you sit down to draw/paint. Don’t overthink it. Oftentimes, we overthink and then we squeeze God out of the project. Just do whatever comes naturally and you will find that it will be effective. Don’t be over-critical of yourself. God doesn’t do that. He created you, equipped you and will use you for His glory. The end product will depend on Him, not you. There is no pressure on you. If it does not turn out well, just discard it and start again but give it a go first and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as what turns out! God is a great surprise giver, who gives good gifts particularly to His children who implicitly and absolutely trust Him.

You may well find that you are not drawing realistic dogs but, hey, Snoopy is a dog, well-loved by many and I’m sure that many will ‘listen’ to him should he preach the Gospel. If I"m not mistaken, Charles Schultz was a Christian and Snoopy often ‘says’ things which are Christian in nature. That is no shabby dog.

I really wish that I can draw well but art is not my forte. I have come to realize that I can ‘paint’ with words and that’s where I need to focus my attention and celebrate the alphabet. I guess it’s an art form - pictures that come together with alphabets :))

I pray that you celebrate your gift everyday and dedicate it to His glory. He will continue His work in you as you relax in Him, trusting in His love for you. Do this knowing that He loves you deeply, completely and unconditionally! Dedicate each piece of artwork to Him and watch what happens. Just be the Charlie Brown who draws Snoopy, knowing that it’s Charles Schultz who’s actually doing the drawing:

(Dani) #6

Thank you Helen!!! I think you painted that picture in words very nicely and I want to print it out (is that ok with you?) and hang it somewhere. I’m going to try drawing tomorrow!

(Helen Tan) #7

Hi @Dani, I’m glad that it helped. It did take me a long time to put it together :)). Please feel free to do what you think will help you. It’s all about God and His great and deep work in our lives. We are all works of art in progress in His Kingdom, moving towards the beautiful picture He’s planned for us.

God bless!