On Thursday night I had some time to actually sit down and attempt do something art-related that didn’t have anything to do with a computer, which was a fairly refreshing change of pace.
I started with a very vague notion of using pencils for this art piece, but initially I was going to use them in a more conventional way- actually drawing with them. But as I started thinking about it I remembered how I use to draw Celtic knotwork, and in doing so would usually sketch it out on graph paper and then trace it to blank paper to finish. In the process of remembering this, I thought about how the graph paper is a lot like pixels- these little tiny boxes that we try to cram all our ideas and creativity into. Holding the pencil in my hand, it seemed as if I was just miming the same motions I would use on the computer, only with a pencil and graph paper rather than a mouse and Photoshop.
So I thought- maybe instead of trying to break out of the proverbial ‘box’, I should just break the pencil instead. With these broken pencils I had the opportunity to speak to something more than if I had just started drawing. I began thinking about how all of our art arises out of brokenness- despite the heights that one may reach, we are hamstrung from the beginning by our fallen-ness. Thus, within the Christian view of the world there is a tension in which the world is good because God created it, yet an estrangement from God because of our sinfulness. That which is good in our hands turns to ash and dust. It is as if we are born without wings when we are meant to fly. Yet we long to soar upon the heights, for the human soul is not content to be chained to the ground. Art, music, beauty- all of these become our feeble attempts to jump off the ground.
Yet the hope of Christianity is that God in Jesus transforms and renews everything; as Paul says, we have been reconciled to God. Thus, even in our brokenness there is hope, if for no other reason than the lack of grace that we live in because of our sin points us to the one who can fill it, and not only fill it but overflow love and mercy into the deepest abyss. In this piece, I wanted to use the broken pencils as a crown of thorns to speak to this- human art in all its sublimity and goodness and beauty is ultimately like broken pencils, scribbling on paper. But through the Incarnation, the world is transformed. By assuming our nature, God pulls together the broken pieces of our world and even ourselves and makes something out of them that has never been before. After all, Deus Caritas Est: God is Love.
Anyway, those are few musings about this piece. I hope you enjoy.
Mixed Media on Canvas