Biblical Accuracy verses Creative License: What is Our Responsibility as Christian Artists?

July 28, 2011

I recently read The Shack and found myself fascinated by the controversy surrounding this amazing novel. As an artistic work, this book has been criticized for promoting a wrong-headed view of universal salvation and for being deeply subversive, scripturally incorrect, and downright dangerous.  At the same time, others have celebrated this work as creative brilliance, spiritually profound, and transformational.

I was stunned by how a single creative work could provoke such opposing responses, an observation which raised for me this question: Is an author required to maintain a sense of biblical accuracy in his or her expression of faith, and to what extent is creative license appropriate? This same question could be asked of Christian songwriters and Christian artists, many of whose works have also provoked opposing responses within the Christian community.

I consider myself a Christian artist, meaning that I use art as an expression of faith in an effort to impact things on a spiritual level. As a result, I consider myself a teacher of God’s Truth and feel a certain responsibility to ensure that my artistic expressions are accurate representations of everything I know about God and His Good News; whether my expression is written, lyrical, or visual, I feel a responsibility to convey His attributes and promises in a way that is biblically accurate and theologically sound, even at the expense of using any creative license.

After reading The Shack, I wonder about my responsibility as a Christian artist. Am I expressing my faith for the purpose of educating others about Biblical truths, or am I expressing my faith for the purpose of entertaining and encouraging others to seek God’s truth on their own? What is the purpose of my expression and does purpose really matter? At what point does creative license trump biblical accuracy?

What do you think?


Have You Considered Adding Speaking to Your Artistic Expression of Self?

May 28, 2011

I am an artist, which means I have an inherent need to express myself.  As a songwriter, I express myself through creative lyrics and hooks.  As an author, I express myself with compelling plots and character dialogue.  As a mixed-media collage artist, I express myself with my color palette and design elements.  I use art to express myself, which means that I have something to say – something that burns so deeply in my heart that I can’t sleep peacefully until I share it with someone else.  This is the reason I sing, paint and write!

As an artist, I also have a certain level of expertise in using my artistic talent and medium of choice, not to mention personal experience with my subject matter (source of expression).  This simple truth opened my mind to a new possibility – expanding my artistic ministry to include speaking.  By including speaking as a vehicle for my expression I increase my ability to give meaning and clarity to my message, boost my visibility as an expert in the field, and increase in number my performances and shows.  How can that be bad?  It can’t!

If you too are feeling led to expand your ministry with public speaking to support your creative expression and personal message, I highly recommend two resources:

How to Speak So People Will Listen CD by Florence Littauer
Statistics continue to show that speaking in public is one of people’s greatest fears. Yet for many, putting together the perfect presentation is the key to professional success. Florence will guide you in planning, preparing, and presenting a program that will capture both the hearts and minds of the listeners. 90 minutes.

Talking So People Will Listen CD by Marita Littauer
All of us talk. Even if you are in a position where you can make people be quiet when you speak, you can’t make them listen. However, what you can do is adjust your approach to them so you can make it easier for them to really hear you! In this fast paced and entertaining tape based on her book, “Talking So People Will Listen”, Marita Littauer will help you identify your personal communication style and that of those with whom you live and work.  60 minutes.

Both CDs are instructional and insightful, and provide great suggestions for even a novice like me.  Florence Littauer is known universally for being entertaining, educational and encouraging all at the same time, and she has received special honors as a Legend in the speaking profession.  Marita has trained thousands of men and women in speaking and writing skills, is a member of the National Speakers Association and is a frequent guest on television and radio programs throughout the country.

For more information about this dynamic mother and daughter team, visit: http://www.classervices.com/florencespeaks.htm and http://www.programresources.com/spkr/littauer_marita.htm

And then ask yourself, “What have I got to lose, except maybe another peaceful night’s sleep”?


Eight Ways to Creatively Promote Your Art

December 29, 2010

Original article written by Kristen Clark, edited by ASC | Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2008; http://www.asingularcreation.com/articles/eight-ways-to-creatively-promote-your-art.htm

Creativity applies to more than just art; it also applies to the business side of art – generating sales. The appeal of art alone is not sufficient to generate the kind of “buzz” that increases awareness, consideration and purchase. Art needs promotion – creative promotion.

I am a collage artist, and I am but one among a vast number of artists specializing in this medium; the competition is great and ever growing. As a result, my challenge lies not only in creating unique and appealing collages, but also in setting myself and my work apart from others. In the absence of an agent, I need to promote myself and my work, and I need to do this on a daily basis. The reality is that no matter how good my art may be I still need to create my own “buzz.” Fortunately, there are a variety of activities that can be easily managed in this effort, and those activities can be tailored to each artist’s unique style and preference.

• Maintain a creative and compelling web site

• Generate your own promotional “buzz” and communicate it through a distribution list

• Write and post an artist’s reflection for each piece

• Feature your art in all of your communications

• Donate select pieces to various charitable organizations for auction

• Leverage associations for networking and collaboration on promotional opportunities and ideas

• Volunteer to speak at conferences and events

• Write an article for a supporting magazine or journal

Creating “buzz” means more than entering art competitions and applying for shows. It means exposing your artistic abilities to a broader audience and in a creative way. I’ve outlined a few ideas that have worked well for me. I suggest trying even just a few of the eight listed above and remember, the need for creativity not only applies to artistic design; it also applies to promotional effort.