Art is Language

All true artists want to change the world. Metamorphosis is the very nature of all good art. This quality of positive change has almost disappeared in the art world. There is mostly darkness. However, artists longing to reveal the revelation of the Holy Spirit, the heart of God, and a relevant message of the Gospel of Jesus are awakening to the call to bring a fresh light in the darkness. We will create art that will not only reflect the culture and who we are now, but it will also change that culture and push humanity closer to God.

There is a problem…

How do we get the world, the church, and even our own friends and family to see the light? How do we get them to understand our voice?

Art is language – and art can speak volumes without words – but if we are ever going to inspire people to be enlightened and convince the “naysayers” to say “yes,”  then we must learn to speak their language in order to help them to understand ours. There is a seemingly un-crossable divide between artists and those who do not see themselves as artists. Artists often speak a language many do not understand and therefore people do not want to hear what we have to say. Occasionally we do have those who are seeking to understand – who are being awakened to the artists within themselves, but mostly, people (especially those in the church) pass us by and ignore our expression. Too many want point-blank answers about the arts – so they do not have to go to the deeper places of understanding the artistic language. We, as artists, know the beauty of this language – but they do not.  Do we just leave them there without understanding or do we really mean it when we say we want to change the world? Is expression any good if no one is affected?

For far too long, artists – like the church – have insisted that people come to us and learn our language so that they may understand our “revelation.” Artists especially have created this false sense of superiority and elitism that separate us from a great majority. I say this is rubbish. If we are going to affect culture, our artwork has to meet people where they are. There has to be elements in the art and the language of it that will speak to our audience in common, familiar ways yet also in deeper, profound, unspoken ways. There is no formula to help people understand art. It is different with every artist and every viewer, but I do believe everyone can understand art. Everyone can go to the deep places. As artists, we just have to learn to speak the right language – to connect – to communicate – to love. Fearlessly.


Pam said...

Some art pieces submitted to my local church were turned away because they were too abstract. Basically, the abstracts were not "pretty". The selection group picked realistic looking landscapes for the most part. This caused my soul to groan. There seems to be a huge gap between believers and artistic expression. How can we bridge this gap?

Pattie Ann Hale said...


Thanks for your question. There is much that needs to be done in educating the church about art. Abstracts are often not understood and sadly, generally, what people don't understand, they reject. I believe a good starting point for helping a local congregation understand abstract art is for the artists to give some articulation to the works. Though I understand about letting the art speak for itself - sometimes people just need help grasping the visual language. I think as artists, we can serve others in that way. Another place of understanding can be found in teaching workshops to the laity, helping them to understand the power of expression in abstract art. If they experience it for themselves, they will be more open to the visual expression of another.

There are many creative ways for us to inform, educate, and share the visual language with others, helping them to embrace the arts... sad thing is... it seems we are just beginning. We have a long row to hoe. ( :-) There's my Appalachian roots coming out!)
Bless you. ~Pattie

Karen Kay said...

And this is exactly why the arts have been taken over by the secular world. Christians reject art like they reject so many other things. If it doesn't fit into their box then God must not be in it. There goes that judgment thing again. Ugh!

Pattie, you are a very good writer- you have a way with words- a gift from God for sure. God bless you.

Pat L. said...

Love this, Patti. I am a Poet and writer, and a little bit of a musician, with a leaning toward color and form. I have always felt art is/should be prophetic, never heard anyone els say it that way! Nice to be in contact with you! I am longing to understand how to be more prophetic with more show forth the One who IS all beauty....!