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Art and Light

Art and Light

“The world is not accidental – there is a designer. And the divine voice speaks to us through the physical world.” – Juliette Aristides

When it comes to the connection between art and the church, there seems to be a misunderstanding. Taking a step back we can see that it was God who first appointed the priest and craftsmen of the Church. It was these men who worked together to anoint and bestow upon the church an artistry all its own.

But take another step back; look only at the relationship between art, light, and humanity. We as humans use art as a way to communicate, across languages and religions. Light is the illumination that makes the art possible, for art cannot be created in vacuum, without light.

Light is the illumination that makes the art possible, for art cannot be created in vacuum, without light.

Whether it is through paintings, photography, or sculptures, humans use art to express their feelings, create a dialogue, and further understand others and ourselves. But each person has his or her own view of what art is and how it is formed.

For some they see art as a means to an end, a creation that serves a single purpose and nothing more. Then there are others who use art in a multitude of ways, through politics, history, or visual pleasure. And yet there are others still that say art is a dying breed of visual expression.

“The creator’s eye is watching us and blessing all of our creativity and hopefully hiding from us our shortcomings, so that we are more free to really blast about the dirt yard with our compositions, our canvases, writing pens, singing a new anthem to the Universe, one that will proclaim that our artistry will save us, the planet, the people… Mankind is One, God is One… Let us all agree at least on that.” – Sonya Bennett

For me, the creative process begins and ends with belief.

For me, the creative process begins and ends with belief. In order for me to create anything I need to believe that it will happen. I need to believe that it is worth the time to perfect the craft. But above all, it must be God-honoring.

Just as it took Noah a long time to build the Ark, to perfect his creation, so too does art take time to perfect. There is no easy formula to produce art in a set way at a set time. It is a fluid process, ever changing and adapting to the person and the time.

There are those in the world that see art as simply something that is dehydrated. Merely add water, pop in the microwave, and within a few minutes out pops a pre-made creation, slap a label that says ‘Art’ on it and you are good to go. But this is hardly appropriate or accurate.

“Religion is essentially the art and the theory of the remaking of man. Man is not a finished creation.” – Edmund Burke

I always strive for perfection, but have never been able to reach it. It is a fleeting thing, something that changes with the wind. And though I understand that some may think it is a sin to chase this elusive thing we call perfection, I disagree.

Through this striving and struggle, searching endlessly for the pinnacle for perfection, is where we tap into true beauty.

It is not doing our best and settling for just ‘good enough’. Through this striving and struggle, searching endlessly for the pinnacle for perfection, is where we tap into true beauty. By continuing to look for and search, we are the harbingers of the change we seek to achieve.

We should never be satisfied with merely meeting the status quo. What good is maintaining the world as is, when the world itself is a constantly shifting and evolving piece of art itself? What good would it do to watch the world pass you by?

What good is maintaining the world as is, when the world itself is a constantly shifting and evolving piece of art itself?

One must always be prepared for the change of the seasons, as well as prepared for the ever-changing kaleidoscope of the earth we live on. It is our job, our only job really, to be present and prepared for when it does.

“There is a need to go deeper, to let myself go completely, to enter into the surroundings in the real fellowship of oneness, to lift above the outer shell, out into the depth and wideness where God is the recognized centre and everything is in time with everything, and the key-note is God.” – Emily Carr

There is more to the world than just the surface we can see. It is important to dig deeper, to study harder, to understand more fully, the world we live in. That is why I research, I photograph, I hoard.

It is not the hoarding of things like on the television shows. You won’t find a decaying pile of old newspapers, or a gathering of yogurt cups filling the bathtub. I collect the memories and ideas, the moments and expressions, the stories and the tears.

Each day passes and, if you aren’t careful, it will pass you by without you even noticing. And once that day, that moment, has gone, it is impossible to ever retrieve again. That is why collecting, hoarding, maintaining these thoughts and memories is so important.

By researching, photographing and writing down the expressions, the stories of a day or even just a single minute, you are freezing it in time. Instead of losing it to the sands of time you are able to call upon the photo, the story, the memory and it will be as though it had just happened.

“I think that the real religion is about the understanding that if we can only still our egos for a few seconds, we might have a chance of experiencing something that is divine in nature.” – John Cleese

All of this and more is possible, you need only find out what motivates you. Listen closely to your own inner voice, the voice of God. Dig deeper than the surface of the story of your life.

Dig deeper than the surface of the story of your life.

Travel to the deep, dark abyss to find the truth. From there, God will lead you down the path you were meant to follow. Once you have that truth that you found from deep within yourself, you will finally understand that you cannot compare yourself to anyone else.

God created each human being as both unique from each other, yet still in the same form of the Father Almighty. It is important to understand your own unique place in the world and your visual representation of it. Take the truth you have learned and apply it to making the world a better place.

Never doubt yourself or the great and powerful God above. He is the ultimate artist because he was able to form and create humans. Using his own divine light and love he fashioned humans in his own image. He is the Almighty Creator – not only of the world and us humans. Everything we create is an honor to the God above.

It is only through God that we are able to possess the power of creativity and thus it is our duty to honor him as the ultimate creator of all art. Without his divine love and creativity we would never have gained these artistic skills.

“So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:7-10

We are God’s masterpieces, the ultimate creation of the universe. Based on His love and His light we came into being, and for that we should be forever thankful. And so, just as God put His love and effort into making us, so too should we put our love and effort into each and every piece of art we create. In this way we can and must honor Him.

About The Author

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist, storyteller, creative director and artist who loves telling stories of the extraordinary in the ordinary. He serves as a creative director for Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas and is the author of Framing Faith from Thomas Nelson. You can see his work and more at mattknise.ly and Twitter.

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