Being an artist is a big responsibility – whatever we put out there may help make or break a person – ourselves included.
- What do we want people to feel when they see our art?
- What good do we hope for them to do upon seeing it or reading it?
- What are our principles and values that we can ground our process, output, and motivations on?
Because I want my art to be centered on something good and true and for me to not get sidetracked doing things that God would not want me to do, I decided to write a Personal Mission as an Artist.
1. To glorify God who is the source of all our gifts
With the gifts we have been given, we must glorify God who is the one true Artist who created everything in our world, including you and I. It is from Him that we are able to harness these things that we are talented in or skillful at.
As we practice our craft, we will get better and better daily. And with this comes pride. I’ve been in those situations when I thought I did create a pretty good piece as compared to my old works, and I would feel proud.
I don’t like that word much, as pride stops us from practicing humility, from knowing that all we did and all we were ever good at are not just from our own efforts but originally from God’s own divine spark of creativity.
Add that to the encouragement people have given us, the education from artists who are our role models and inspirations, the support of our families, friends, and colleagues, and the time and opportunities we were given to excel.
Ultimately, that is the first and foremost goal: to glorify God in all that we do – our creative processes, outputs, and motivations behind every piece. We can assess our attitude in work and our finished pieces and see if we are truly glorifying Him. We can assess too if we are only serving ourselves selfishly and not Him.
“To create is to reflect the image of God. To create is an act of worship,” said Erwin McManus in The Artisan Soul (which is an amazing book – please put it on your To Read list!).
If our main work is not reflecting our love or worship, then what is it representing?
Never forget the essence, the attitude, and the motivations of our work.
No matter how far we go into the distance in our art and in life, we must never forget God and the people who have loved us so much that they gave us all the encouragement, kind words, and chances we needed.
2. To create art that is life-giving
If you have read my previous blog post on growing up with art in my life, you may have seen some of the artworks I did that looked sad or dark.
This was during a time that I was going through something personally. I was moody and cried easily. Art was the only safe channel I could go to to express my feelings.
What we go through can be reflected in what we do – one way or another – whether it’s in art or in life. Although my intention was pure and that was to express my emotions, the output may not be entirely life-giving. By life-giving, I mean that it’s something that brings hope, something that can inspire courage, something that can remind that person of love again.
We may draw something sad, but it must not end in sadness. May we always pepper and season it with something true, something good, and something hopeful – a message that our stories will not end in despair.
3. To add value and joy to other people’s lives through my work
We must use our talents and skills to serve Him and others. Imagine the value and joy we can give to people’s lives when we create logos, design brochures, write articles for newsletters, produce movies, pen books, draw together, make children’s literature, and paint murals!
But we must do these things with commitment, concern for the one we’re doing it for, heart, integrity, truth, and excellence.
Whatever we can do to serve a start-up company, a non-profit organization, a school, a notable cause we feel strongly for, a hard-working person, a restaurant that’s opening soon next door, let’s see how our gifts can serve them.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10
My Mom and I have a business (apart from my artventures), and during the times I was just starting out in creating graphics for her, I used to do them just for the sake of doing them, for the sake of finishing them.
That’s a wrong attitude.
If we’re going to do something, we might as well do it with an attitude of excellence and whole-heartedness.
By injecting those principles, we can add value to people’s lives and their businesses, charities, or goals, and we can add joy because what we produce together with them will bring happiness and more motivation as well.
I’ve been in that really good zone when I was able to do something that delighted the other person, and it’s such a wonderful feeling indeed, but may we focus not on our happiness and fulfillment only but more on the person we are doing it for. However, if it’s just a personal piece – one we do for ourselves to express our thought and sentiments – then it’s okay!
And before I forget: there is immense value and joy too in the little things, not just the big projects we may undertake. Like the sweet Christmas cards we give to family and friends, the portraits we paint of people we love, the hand-lettering we did of their names.
All in all, whatever it is that we do, may we do it to glorify the Lord, give Him thanks for our gifts, time, and life, and lift others up.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
These are the three objectives that make up my Personal Mission as an Artist. May God guide me in adhering to these, just as I try to live my life as well according to His Word.
How about you, friend? Do you have a personal mission as well or any set of rules, guides, or principles when creating art? Having one, in my experience, is a great foundation for any work.
Feel free to share your thoughts!