Earlier this week, I posted 10 quotes to help inspire your artistic endeavors. Today, I want to look at a few and expand on them. It is my aim to interpret what these thoughts can mean for the faithful artists of today as they seek to find God and maintain artistic integrity. We will explore what art can offer the world one small bit at a time.
“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”
– Stella Adler
I don’t know of anyone who can claim that life is always easy and care-free. Life is hard for everyone. It is harder for some than others, but we all face pain, suffering, and adversity throughout our years. Unfortunately, the unstoppable wearing of life can, as Adler so eloquently puts it, “[beat] down and [crush] the soul.”
Yet, life is not a long, dreary march toward oblivion. It is a struggle, to be sure, but it is a struggle that is full of beauty, hope, love, and joy. These are the things that feed our souls, allowing us to continue on our journey through this life. And art, fortunately, has the opportunity to remind us of these moments of glory. It can remind us of the times when we were full of joy, or fill us with awe at the majesty of the Creator. It can be a light-filled respite from the darkness that threatens to encroach on our lives.
If for this reason alone, I would argue for art’s value in our lives. Yet it has many other amazing qualities.
“Sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God.”
– Catechism of the Catholic Church
For those who have been reading with me since the summer, you know that my aim is to seek God through the avenue of art. I acknowledge that there are other ways to connect with the Creator, but as one called to create art, it is the path I know best. In this quote, the Catholic Church affirms art’s capability to draw us to a place to meet with God.
As we enjoy the beauty of a created object, we can be lifted up to look at the Creator of all objects. A beautiful landscape, a symphonic masterpiece, or a delicately folded piece of origami each show part of God’s majesty. If we keep our eyes, ears, and minds open, we will soon see God’s fingerprints in the works of all great artists. If the aim of art is to portray truth, then all great art should, in some way, point back to the Greatest Truth.
In this way, art is an invaluable tool to help us along the greatest journey we ever undertake: the search for God.
“The world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
– Henry David Thoreau
This one was probably my favourite of the bunch. My imagination is one of my favourite qualities about myself. I am easily swept into stories of swashbuckling pirates or fearful runaways or dashing knights that occur nowhere except my mind. I often fall asleep immersed in a world I have created. It may be part escapism, but these worlds are also places to explore greater meanings of life without the danger of actual conflict or injury.
Yet none of these imagination-led wanderings would be capable without an exploration of the real world. Many are based on the question “What if…” as I look around me each day. I see a person at my work and wonder “What if that girl was a spy escaping from an evil plot?” Or I read a novel and think “What if the character had done something else?” I often wonder what our world would have been like if certain changes in technology had never occurred, or if extra technology was at our fingertips. These additions to reality are the jumping off points for a plethora of stories I have that are waiting to be written or staged.
The ability of art to express the imagination and its relation to the real world is the real reason I call myself an artist. I can, like my Father before me, create worlds for His glory. I can mimic God as I create stories and images, beginnings and endings. This is how I relate to God.
But what do you think? What quotes inspire you to create? And how do you use your inspiration and art to seek after God? Or, if you prefer, what do you think about the quotes I delved into today? Do you see something else in them that I missed, or do you see something completely different? Join the conversation!