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Epic Theology

Finding God through the lens of an artist

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Inspiration

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Quotes Revisited

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.

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“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!

Blessings

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10 Quotes to Inspire Your Art

I want to start off this week with some quotes that I’ve found to inspire your art. No matter what your discipline is, spend some time this week making art. Make good art, make bad art, just make it with all you’ve got.

I haven’t been able to confirm that all of the quotes are attributed to the correct people, but the research so far seems pretty good. I hope you enjoy!

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“None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands.”
Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gives value to survival.”
C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
Andy Warhol 

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
Aristotle

“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”
Stella Adler

“Sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God”
Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.”
Neil Gaiman

“Dancers are the athletes of God.”
Albert Einstein

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
Henry David Thoreau

Do any of these quotes inspire you? If so, go and be artistic for the week. Come back on Thursday, when I will discuss my top three favourite quotes from this list.

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