Why Your Art Is Essential

discovery god journey joy quest Mar 04, 2021
By Erik Peterson

Life is a journey, and so is your art. 

As an artist, the two are forever intertwined and bound together. As St. Paul might say, this is a profound mystery! Your art is a journey to discover more of the life you want to live, and more of God’s life that wants to live in you.  

If you think back on your life and your art, you will see how closely connected they are. Your art stirs something in you about life too precious for description, so you use whatever means necessary to draw it out, or write it, or sculpt it. 

What is “it”? It is your story intersecting with God’s greater Story. Only you can name it. Only you know it.

When you undertake your art, you are doing something in one sense that no one has ever done before. It is your heroic quest, and yours alone. On the other hand, many others have gone on the same journey, and their companionship is essential to your work, as yours is to theirs.  

As an artist, you are mining the depths of your profoundly complicated and beautiful human experience to make sense of your place and contribution in the world.

You map out the territory (because there isn’t one), often searching in the dark, but all the while making sense of your surroundings. This is equally exhilarating and terrifying work. It’s work that lights up your soul, and that light allows you to find what you are looking for. Precious jewels. 

Yes, even though there are endless unknowns, the whole enterprise is one thrilling discovery after the next.  Excavating your soul in search of something useful and meaningful to bring out into the open.

It is not unlike the tireless work of a detective, alone in the middle of the night amidst an orchestration of papers, searching, searching, and then finally spotting the thread that ties the whole convoluted thing together. To an outsider, this might look like madness, but to you, it is a reflection of how you engage in this one precious life - with conviction, and a searing desire to produce something reflecting greater truth, greater goodness and greater beauty in every simple act of creation.  

What have you learned about yourself, God and others on this journey? Do you see how art has been your companion, your wrestling partner, and your teacher all along?  We need to be reminded of the invisible threads that pull our art and life along, and how they intersect and touch others’ lives in the process. I hope we see how important, necessary and beautiful this journey of art really is.

I see this in The Grove artists in our community. Passionate, soulful companions who are doing the arduous but thrilling work of discovering and sharing something unique that reflects God’s good world. Well done, and let's keep on going.