Why? Art tells the story of who we are and what we love.
According to Amy Lowell, “Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in.”
Remember the moments
One of the innate qualities in us as humans is that we want to hold on to the meaningful moments of our lives, and creativity is an amazing vehicle to do so. How many of us start taking pictures and video of our newborn as soon as they peek their head from the womb, capturing every movement, smile, and developmental step.
Even when family members pass away, we remember them not only in memory, but in photography. We reminisce about who they are through the music they loved, movies they watched, and by the power of how the arts ignited shared memories.
Art just may be a lot more important than we realize. Art captures our culture, celebrated events, and how we lived.
Culture is defined through Art
As I travel around the world to foreign countries, I always try to visit local art studios and museums to learn about the their culture, beliefs, and values.
Beverly Sills says, “Art is the signature of civilizations.”
I am captivated by how people in various cultures identify themselves, and tell their story through their creative expressions — especially in their art.
I enjoy adding to their story through the art that I create as well.
Recently, I was leading a Creative Conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and found out that over 5 million people visit the city every year because of the beauty of the Creator’s painting of creation in that region.
The majestic mountain-scape’s and wildflower laden green meadows in the national parks, as well as the wildlife, is considered by many to be the Serengeti of the West. The land is teeming with elk, moose, bear, and buffalo, and so many other wild animals, unlike anywhere else in America.
I painted this buffalo, to showcase what the buffalo represents to the Native Americans, and to us as a national symbol. Following it is a poem I wrote about this painting’s prophetic meaning:
Proudly the buffalo symbolizes America’s heritage.
Native Americans found warmth from its pelt and food so they could live.
We celebrate their symbol on our coin, displaying what we protect on our nation’s soil.
Like the buffalo, God is returning back the inheritance of us as sons and daughters,
so that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and be brought to freedom.
God’s Purpose In Art
One of the great men in revival history, Count Zinzendorf, started the Moravian Prayer and Missionary movement in Europe in 1731. Why did he start it?
Count Zinzendorf visited an art museum where he saw a Domenico Feti’s painting entitled, Ecce Homo, “Behold the Man.” It portrayed Christ with the words, “This have I done for you- Now what will you do for me?”
While gazing at the painting, Count Zinzendorf had a mystical encounter, in which the Christ in the painting was speaking those words to his heart. He vowed that day to dedicate his life to serve God in any way possible.
In reality, a painting is worth more than a thousand words, and maybe art expressions are worth more than a 1,000 sermons in motivating people.
Can a painting preach? It did to Count Zinzendorf.
Just think about how a song like Amazing Grace can bring people to their knees, and cause their hearts to cry out for more of God, and how a musical like Les Miserables can showcase the journey of redemption?
In the first chapter of Romans, the apostle Paul, speaks to the fact that the message of the Gospel can be seen in creation, so that there is no excuse. In other words, there is a message in the art.
Art has the power to shape culture, influence the masses, and become a message.
We get to determine what that message is by what we create and where our inspiration comes from.
Transformation through Art
As I was preaching in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on the power of God’s love to heal us. I showed them a painting I had done called the “Happy Jesus”, to express how that Jesus loves them and is happy with them.
I explained to the church about how most art museums only highlight the suffering Jesus and portray him as sad and stoic. I then shared how that Jesus is always filled with joy, and wants us to experience this joy as well (John 15:11).
If we don’t think that Jesus is happy, than we will have a distorted view of the resurrected triumphant Christ, and we won’t be able to comprehend that His joy and love can heal us.
After the message ended, Cielo approached the pastor and our team for prayer. She explained that she had felt unworthy to be healed. The pastor showed her the painting of the Happy Jesus again and that He had made her worthy and bought a print for her.
She had been battling cancer for 6 years, and her stomach was swollen to the size of a 6-month pregnant woman. She felt like she had done something to deserve the cancer, and that God didn’t love her enough to want to heal her.
As we prayed for her, we had her look at the Happy Jesus, and then, laid the painting on her stomach. I then released a “word of faith” that when she woke up the next day her stomach would be normal.
The next morning, she reported to the congregation that she had slept through the entire night with the happy Jesus was laid on her stomach the entire time.
She hadn’t slept through the night in years.
When she woke up, her stomach was completely flat. She put on her coat, and for the first time, she could button it all the way. Praise God!
Can a painting heal people? Can it bring about an encounter that leads to revival around the world?
God wants to speak to us and through us in art that we create.
That’s why art is important.