Revivification

Great news: sometimes blogs die. But sometimes, blogs are revived after you have two babies, and remodel and sell your house, and move to a new city  (say, Denver) and buy a new house, and start new careers, and then return to your old love of blogging about Christianity and the arts once again. Such an age-old story. 😂

So, you guessed it: that’s what’s happening with Art in Love! We (Jeremy and Liz) are hard at work, and we’re planning big things for the future, so keep an eye out for the revivification of this little old blog.

We’re excited to reconnect with you.

{By the way, that gorgeous image is one of Jeremy’s recent works – paper collage, encased in resin, and pasted to wooden closet doors. This one is called, “Loading with Obstruction that Threshold.” View more of Jeremy Grant’s works here.)

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Creative Fires

In the last few days, tensions have built to almost unbearable levels in my city. In case you haven’t heard yet, Colorado Springs, CO, scenic outdoor paradise, is on fire and has been for six days. People have lost their homes even as firefighters desperately defend our city day and night. (We are safe, by the way). The air reeks of smoke and of fear. What can we do?

Living in Colorado, I’ve never tasted the fear and uncertainty that accompanies natural disasters. Along with this week’s fire in Colorado Springs has come a new compassion for the victims of Katrina, Japan’s tsunami, Ground Zero, and the countless other disasters worldwide. At this point, no one has died in the Waldo Canyon fires, and for that I am extremely grateful. Even so, it’s frightening and painful knowing that my parent’s home has likely burned to the ground, along many of my friends’ homes as well.

It’s easy to feel helpless, restless, and angry. I can’t fight fires. What could I possibly do to help?

Two days ago, a friend of mine and owner of a local design firm, sent out an email to a few designers and artists who live and work in Colorado Springs.

“Let’s make some t-shirt designs and give the profits to the relief efforts,” he said.

Everyone was in and “all-in” at that. We worked with feverish energy, fueled by those same feelings of restlessness and frustration. Our creativity burned as fierce as the fires outside. My friend Troy’s design said, “fight fire with fire.” We nodded somberly and kept working.

Within 24 hours, we had three shirt designs and a website. We had hoped we could sell maybe 200 shirts and raise $3000 (much more than any of us could have donated). The site went live the other day with eight shirt designs, and in the first hour sold 50 (my design is below). Last I heard we had made $50,000. I’m still astonished. (UPDATE: we have now raised over $120,000 $200, ooo $270,000.)

My wife Liz is pregnant. During a recent “nesting energy burst,” we rearranged our small house to make room for our little girl who’s on the way. But suddenly, with uncertainty hanging densely in the air, Liz found herself listless and on edge.  What could she possibly do except try to stay cool and out of the smoke? It was simply maddening.

“I need to process,” she said to me yesterday, getting up and grabbing her iPad. “I’m going to a coffee shop to write.”

“Alright,” I said, “try to stay cool and out of the smoke.” We kissed and she left.

Two hours later she returned with a beautiful piece of writing about the fire, about this place we love, and about fear and trust. She submitted it to the arts magazine The Curator, and this morning heard it would be published. (UPDATE: the article can be found here.)

We all have destructive energies inside us. We all have the potential to act out of fear or out of apathy. But there is a better way. We can choose to be creative. We can choose to walk in trust and faith. We can choose to trust in Jesus who was called “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us.” Jesus who was called “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” We grieve as the land around us is turning to ashes, yet even so, scripture says that God creates “beauty from ashes.” He CREATES. And in the single greatest creative act in all history, Jesus turned a horrible and disgusting death into redemption, into freedom from guilt, shame and fear – for absolutely anyone who believes in him. That’s pretty creative.

I can see beauty from ashes. I can see this community coming together to help the helpless. I’ve read about teens buying toys to give to children in the shelters, children who have lost their own toys to the fires. My co-workers have made care packages for displaced employees, and they have donated to Care and Share. And these creative friends of mine have channeled their energies to help raise money with a few t-shirts. We are fighting fire with fire.

Contemporary Sculpture Roundup: Part II

 

 

Shan Wells lives and works in Durango, Colorado. He is a poet at heart, and his work is best viewed as such. Shan writes this about the pieces I’m highlighting below:

 

in the aftermath of the 2002 Missionary Ridge wildfire in Colorado
large swaths of the land were destroyed by mudslides from the deforested burned areas.
this mud seemed to me like clotted blood, which inspired a work about healing.
the land hemorrhages, and the blood is swabbed up
until the wound is repaired or stabilized.

 

 

“Swabs” by Shan Wells (photo from artist’s website)

 

 

Detail of “Swabs” by Shan Wells (photo from artist’s website)

GEHARD DEMETZ

Gorgeous craftsmanship characterizes Gehard Demetz’s work. A master woodcarver who allows some areas to stay rough while other achieve a life-like polish, Gehard portrays children as the medium for naysayer opinions. The work is beautiful, although pessimistic.

“A Soft Distortion” by Gehard Demetz (photo from artist’s website)

“It’s Warmer Now” by Gehard Demetz (photo from artist’s website)

“Your Fairy Tales Scare” by Gehard Demetz (photo from artist’s website)

Kristof Kintera lives and works in Prague. He seems to follow ideas, rather than a style and craft, and while much of his work doesn’t interest me, there are a few pieces I think are outstanding. The two sculptures here are great executions on particular ideas, and create strong reactions of revulsion and curiosity in their viewers.

“All My Bad Thoughts” by Kristof Kintera (photo from artist’s website)

“My Light is Your Life” by Kristof Kintera (photo from artist’s website)

Basically the Deborah Butterfield of Finland, but four times as large! Yes, the body of that second calf sculpture IS an entire van.
I love artists that walk the line between figurative and abstract and Miina does that beautifully here.
(photo from artist’s website)
(photo from artist’s website)
Although his work has a heavy New Orleans influence, Sean O’Meallie lives and works here in Colorado.
His bright and playful forms are all created from wood and hand-painted. I particularly love his series of toy guns, and the deeper thoughts they provoke in spite (and because of) their child-like appearance.
(photo by Troy DeRose)
(photo from artist’s website)
(photo from artist’s website)
(photo from artist’s website)


Art is a Gift: Thoughts from Madeleine L’Engle

 

One woman that we consistently admire in her pursuit of art and faith is Madeleine L’Engle, author of the Wrinkle in Time series. During her life, she wrote a number of books related to art and Christianity, most notably Walking on Water (which comes highly recommended to you) and one I (Liz) am reading currently, Madeleine L’Engle: Herself, which is a compilation of her written and spoken words teaching others about writing.

Naturally, faith enters into these writings of hers, and lately, I have made a habit of reading one or two of her thoughts at a time before I sit down to begin writing. The book is written almost in a devotional style, with each page a new thought from Madeleine, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorite readings with you.

ART IS A GIFT OF THE SPIRIT, etc.

“We’re never sure that what we write is true and honest. We try to make it true and honest. How much I succeed is really beyond my control. It happens if I am given the Spirit to write the work.

“It is through the gifts of the Spirit that art comes, that love comes. But because we’re human, we’re never entirely sure. We know we haven’t served the work as well as we would want to. But if I had to serve the work to my satisfaction, I would still be on my first novel. And that would be pride.

“The important thing is to recognize that our gift, no matter what the size, is indeed something given us, for which we can take no credit, but which we may humbly serve, and in serving, learn more wholeness, be offered wondrous newness.

“If the work comes to the artist and says, ‘Here I am, serve me,’ then the job of the artist, great or small, is to serve. The amount of the artist’s talent is not what it is about. Jean Rhys said to an interviewer in the Paris Review, ‘Listen to me. All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don’t matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.’

“I have never served a work as it ought to be served; my little trickle adds hardly a drop of water to the lake, and yet it doesn’t matter; there is no trickle to small. Over the years I have come to recognize that the work often knows more than I do. And with each book I start, I have hopes that I may be helped to serve it a little more fully.

“Picasso says that an artist paints not to ask a question, but because he has found something, and he wants to share — he cannot help it — what he has found. ”

Let us be those servant artists who depend whole-heartedly on the Spirit for our work to get done! Because, boy, we need help. 🙂

Contemporary Santa Fe Roundup

Just a few weeks ago, Liz and I celebrated our first anniversary in Santa Fe, NM. Being the art geeks we are, it was a great decision. Santa Fe has a thriving art community with lots of contemporary and even ground-breaking art.

Here are our favorite artists and selected works.

David Nakabayashi’s collage work at the Box Gallery.

Jon Lee‘s work at the Jay Etkin Gallery.

We saw Nina Tichava‘s show being hung at the Nuart Gallery

 We LOVED Mark Horst‘s work. This is “Embrace #37” at Canyon Road Contemporary Art.

“The Invitation #3” by Mark Horst.

Detail of “The Invitation #3” by Mark Horst.

“I am not I (brothers 17)” by Mark Horst.

Some gorgeous, abstract found object work by Randall Reid at Nuart Gallery.

Paintings by Pam Cobb at the Jay Etkin Gallery.

We caught an emerging arts festival here at The Railyard. Aside from being our favorite art district in Santa Fe, the Railyard is also home to Second Street Brewery which has a real solid Imperial Stout.

And then there were giant fish head sculptures by Colett Hosmer. What’s not to love?

Contemporary Sculpture Roundup

It’s been a while since we posted, and that’s because we’ve been hard at work making art! You can expect to see a few updates in the flickr widget soon (see the right side of your screen).

In the absence of any particularly deep thoughts, here is a round up of what has been inspiring me (Jeremy) lately.

These are my top picks in contemporary sculpture. What I like about them: unexpected use of ordinary materials, borderline abstraction and borderline chaos, brought together through shape or color.

Follow the links under each photo to see more work from these artists, it will be worth your time.

"Giant" by Juan Angel Chavez
"Mushroom Form" by Juan Angel Chavez
a "soundsuit" kinetic, wearable sculpture by Nick Cave
by AJ Fosik
"The Fighting Solar Bros" by Max Boufathal
"sponge painting,sky light, light years away" by Lynn Aldrich
"Quantum Cloud" by Antony Gormley
found object sculpture by Miquel Aparici
"Nude IV (Delilah)" by Jeremy Mayer

Links:

Juan Angel Chavez

Nick Cave

AJ Fosik

Max Boufathal

Lynn Aldrich

Antony Gormley

Miquel Aparici

Jeremy Mayer