Dear Christian Artists: Why Do You Create?

Maqui Castelo

May 14, 2020

To my fellow Christian artist, 

Have you ever heard of the term “starving artist?” Have you ever wondered why the world often associates artists with being poor, unstable, or struggling to get by?

I’ve always found it strange that while people desire to enjoy art every day, they’re so hesitant to pay for it. Of course, the fear of instability never stops an artist from pursuing his or her craft. The soul is always hungry, and sometimes, feeding it is enough to let the body endure. 

I mean that’s why we make art, right?

The satisfaction of creating something—bringing an idea, expression, or feeling to life—is on a caliber of its own. It’s a feeling unlike any other, the quenching of a hunger that food or other pleasures can never fill.

And the beautiful thing is, once art is released to the public, it can resonate to its audience. People never stop craving for art because it gets etched into their minds and hearts—music, film, literature, and traditional and non-traditional art. Whether they like it or not, people will always need to feel like they’re being listened to, understood, or at the very least, entertained. Art is universal. 

But in idleness, the soul craves for more than what it needs, and we see that every day. Nowadays, media is always looking to capitalize on people’s hunger to be entertained, to relate, to feel.

The flesh desires to have its fill, and the world is willing to provide fast food. Creativity has since been less thoughtful, more formulaic; less artistic, more capitalistic. That may not be necessarily wrong, because most of it (I think) is still enjoyable. It’s just that, if we continue to feed ourselves with junk, our health will inevitably decline. And much like the body, the soul needs nourishment, too. 

Art, no matter how beautiful or inspiring, becomes junk for our souls if it does not lead to Christ. 

Imagine how much of the art made in this day and age is created apart from Christ. It’s not difficult to think that billions of already malnourished souls are declining in health day by day as they feast on junk. The truth is, the only thing that can truly nourish and restore our souls is “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

Imagine with me for a moment if the art we make involved more of God and His word. Imagine creating pieces that nourish and restore the soul instead of simply feeding it.

As Christian artists, I believe that this is an essential integration that we must consider, because we know that the Bible is our access to spiritual nourishment. Reading God’s word allows us to grow in our knowledge of Him—His sovereignty, justice, love, compassion, and majesty.

And while everything else changes, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). It’s His constancy that gives us unwavering hope and perfect security. As we meditate on His word each day, we develop a deeper and more intimate relationship with our heavenly Father.

Unfortunately, not everyone has tasted and seen His goodness, so they search for something to fill the void in their hearts, the starvation in their souls, only to end up with cheap imitations, which the world provides. 

A Christian artist must be a starving artist who hungers and thirsts for righteousness. Even if the world may not appreciate your art, the reality is that art is far from useless in advancing the kingdom of God. And this season is the perfect opportunity to allow Him to use our art to rehabilitate the spiritually malnourished.

Just take a look at how the global pandemic has put people’s lives on pause and at the uncertainty, tension, anxiety, depression, and loss of hope it caused. People don’t know what to do or who to turn to, so their minds wander and end up mindlessly glued to their screens to distract themselves, either with politics, controversy, or the mundane. Although that may be disheartening, it ultimately gives us a platform to connect with an audience that is hungry, thirsty, and yearning to be filled with hope again. 

By sharing God’s word in our art, we can create formidable weapons of hope that breathe life into weary souls. The battle is not between flesh and blood, and every piece of art that is created to glorify God is an avenue to solve the spiritual famine in the world. 

As we create with God’s glory in mind, we echo the genius of our Creator who made us in His image for His glory. In our own, creative way, we answer the call to preach the gospel to those who have yet to know God.

It’s a daunting task to attempt to feed the world’s spiritual hunger, but by His grace, we have the secret ingredient—the gospel, which ultimately satisfies. So let’s share it through our songs, write it into our scripts, blend it into our paintings, pen it in our poetry, flaunt it in our performances, and, above all, display it in our lives. 

Right now, the world is dying of hunger and hopelessly trying to endure. My hope is that you are dying to feed it. 

 

From a starving artist, 

Maqui 

 

 

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The Author

Maqui Castelo

Maqui is a 24-year-old photographer, director, and producer based in Manila. He is one of the co-founders and co-owners of a local production house called Limitless Productions. In his spare time, he likes to eat sushi, play video games, and write.

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