Within Inspiro, we talk a lot about artists. On the ‘Who We Are’ page of our website, we state, ‘We cultivate and empower artists globally to spark beautiful worship and witness among the least reached.’ We are a ministry comprised of artists that ministers to and through artists who seek to fulfill the Great Commission as artists. However, we realize that the term ‘artist’ can mean different things depending on your cultural context. We never want anyone interested in serving with us to be hindered by a misunderstanding of this term. In an effort to all be on the same page, here are some reflections on what it means to be an artist.
- Expressing Creativity
Everyone is creative, but not everyone is an artist. Being creative is certainly part of being an artist, but it is not the only qualifying factor. Part of being made in the image of God is to be creative, but this does not mean that this creativity must manifest itself in artistic form. Someone can be creative in organizing spreadsheets, doing math problems, cleaning the house, or planning parties, but none of these activities are inherently artistic. Being an artist takes creativity and uses it to craft something beautiful out of the materials that are culturally relevant and readily available, whether that be through dance, music, painting, writing, sculpting, film, or another discipline. An example of this could be a dancer in Southeast Asia choreographing a piece using the traditional cultural style and music or a spray painter from New York creating a beautiful mural. The examples can be beautifully varied, but they will all feature a combination of imagination and skill that results in a unique work of art.
- Being Artistically Created
Being an artist also involves how the Lord has created each person. In Inspiro, we firmly believe that the Lord gives each person unique gifts and talents in order to serve Him. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, Paul writes, ‘Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone’ (ESV). As Christians, we are all given the foundational command to love God and love others, but the specific way that each person lives this out can look differently. For an artist, it is likely that their natural gifts tend towards the artistic. This does not mean that hard work, learning, and improving are not involved, but it does mean that one’s interests and talents are more naturally inclined in an artistic direction. When the Lord gives someone artistic gifts and talents, they are able to glorify Him by using these gifts to serve Him and tell others about Him.
- Pursuing Excellence
Someone who is created to be an artist will be dedicated to continually growing in and becoming better at their craft. This does not mean that the artist must be an expert at their discipline or fit into an elite category, but rather that they are committed to growing their art to be the best it can be. Being committed to being an artist also means that one will continually seek growth in their artmaking. This serves as a testimony not only to a watching world but also to fellow artists who may have questions about how faith and art can work together.
An artist is any individual who has been created by God to use their creativity to make art in their own cultural and personal style and is committed to doing so excellently. An artist on mission is one who does this with the end goal of glorifying the Lord and sharing His glory with those around them. In Inspiro Arts Alliance, we are passionate about ministering to and through these types of individuals and seeing them grow and thrive in the gifts the Lord has given them!