Seven Subversive Questions for Artists of Faith

Given that it’s the beginning of a new year—a time when we typically evaluate where we’ve been and where we’re going—I thought I would stir the pot.

Here are seven questions that might subversively stretch your preconceptions and wobble your paradigms. I encourage you to prayerfully contemplate a few of them, and maybe discuss some with fellow artists of faith. It’s my hope that these questions might help you gain clarity on your journey of faith as an artist.

1. If you are (or could be) a vocal artist, which would you prefer: Having an excellent voice that everyone likes, or having a unique voice that some people love and some people hate?

2. If you are (or could be) a visual artist, which would you prefer: Having one of your paintings hang in a prestigious gallery, or being able to study under a prestigious artist?

3. What is more important to you: Having a lot of compliments from your audience, or having a single compliment from a fellow artist peer/mentor? Why? (For more discussion on approval and acceptance, check out this blog post.)

4. What artist (painter, architect, dancer, author, etc.) from history would you like to have dinner with? What current artist would you like to have dinner with? Why?

5. Of these two important values, what do you generally regard more highly: artistic integrity or commercial success? Are there situations where the reverse might be true?

6. If you could visit yourself ten years from now, what one question would you ask your older self as it relates to your art? If you could visit yourself ten years ago, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

_MG_0427 - Version 27. Do you consider yourself a “Christian Artist,” or an “Artist who is a Christian”? (By the way, this is the reason why I use the term, “Artist of Faith,” which I believe encompasses the spectrum. And yes, discussions on what the terms actually mean are encouraged.)

Bonus Question: What goal(s) do you have this year—personally, spiritually, and artistically?

[Photo Credits: Keith Elliott.]

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6 thoughts on “Seven Subversive Questions for Artists of Faith

  1. 1. Comfortable with my voice but I’m not knocked out by it. I think and hope I’m an interesting, capable and creative singer.

    2. If I was a V.A. as a practical matter, I’d want to in a prestigious gallery because I would at least theoretically be a position to support my family with my art.

    3. I greatly appreciate any positive feedback I get for the audience but I am very mindful of my peers because they travel the same or a similar road as I do. That does give peer respect a bit more weight.

    4. King David, so many reasons why? He’s a role model personally and professionally. Flawed as he was he was a man after God’s own heart and a excellent musician and songwriter. I’m a huge fan on so many levels.

    Sting, because what a palette. What a musical journey? And it has been a long term goal to lead Sting and Bonnie Raitt to Christ.

    5. Generally artistic integrity for me has been just as important as commercial success. I am constantly trying to figure out how to attain the both. That’s the very short answer…

    6. What in the world do I do RIGHT NOW?! I have few regrets so it’s hard to answer part II, but here goes. Get a team together that will allow you to do the parts that God created YOU specifically ASAP!

    7. I like the term Artist of Faith. It seems much more accurate and broad based than the other two. I’m not one for pigeon holing…

    Bonus: This needs to be a year of reclamation and renovation on all three levels as last year was unbelievably… challenging and tumultuous. I very much believe I need a harvest this year and I am willing to receive from the Lord what that is supposed to look like and work like crazy to do my part. I would love it if the Lord would allow part of that to mean working with my family (extended as well) and creating opportunities for the artists I know love and believe in.

  2. First of all, SO reblogging this.
    1. Excellent voice. Unique does not always equal better.
    2. I think I’d choose the gallery, but it’s probably for selfish reasons.
    3. I honestly don’t know. I’ve enjoyed both. I’m selfish enough to love the audience, but artistic enough to love the peer’s response, too.
    4. I like Aaron’s King David idea, but I’d say as a writer, C.S. Lewis years ago or Frank Peretti now.
    5. Artistic integrity is higher on my list, but no so much that I get into “high brow” art that is actually nonsense. Plus, my family has to eat. I think if you can make commercial success without shattering artistic integrity, that’s a huge win.
    6. Ten years ago, I’d have told myself to network in college and learn what to do afterwards. Ten years from now, I’d ask, “What can I do right now?”
    7. I’m both. I have secular works that don’t compromise my Christian values and Christian-specific works. In that case, I’d say artist who’s a Christian because my art can go anywhere.
    Thanks for this, man.

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