As both a committed artist AND a committed Christian, I often feel as if I'm floating somewhere between two extremes. Current culture (and general consensus) tells us the two are mutually exclusive... so for someone like myself, who considers herself fully both one and the other, articulating HOW the two influence each other makes for a somewhat sticky explanation. Will my professors/classmates/etc be able to take the work seriously if they know I'm thinking about Christian themes? What will fellow Christians think about my work if they find out how weirdly sexual it is? My work isn't overtly spiritual in the sense that many "Christian artists" strive for: art-making simply as a mode of worship - it's much more complicated and nuanced than that, and its hard to explain. I'm working on breaking things down (thesis, here I come)... in attempts to better articulate how my faith and belief in Christian theology really is central to my studio practice. And in the same manner I am perpetually reminded of how this urge to create, to make something of the world, is simply an expression of my humanness. I am made in the image of the Creator, therefor I too shall create.
Below are some books I've been reading... some of the better ones on the subject, I think.
"Creativeness is a work of man's God-like freedom, the revelation of the image of the Creator within him."
Nicolas Berdyaev in The Meaning of the Creative Act (p. 93)
"Culture is the result of man's creative activity within God-given structures. So it can never be something apart from our faith. All our work is ultimately directed by our answer to the question of who - or what - our God is, and where for us the ultimate source of all reality and life lies. So our resulting 'culture' can never be something separate from our 'faith.' This is just as true for those that do not acknowledge the true God, the Creator: their cultural activity is coloured by their basic non-Christian faith. For the Christian the problem remains of how we have to deal with the culture around us, often the fruit of a non-Christian point of departure. But then this is dealt with at length and depth in the Bible itself: it is even one of the main concerns, and bound up with its teaching on sin, redemption, and sanctification."
Hans Rookmaaker in Modern Art and the Death of a Culture (p.36)
"We make sense of the world by making something of the world. The human quest for meaning is played out in human making: the finger-painting, omelet-stirring, chair-crafting, snow-swishing activities of culture. Meaning and making go together - culture, you could say, is the activity of making meaning."
Andy Crouch in Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling (p. 24)
"But aside from the rare exceptions, religion is seldom mentioned in the art world unless it is linked to criticism, ironic distance, or scandal. Art critical of religion is itself criticized by conservative writers, and it is noted with interest by art critics, but sincerely religious art tends to be ignored by both kinds of writers. An observer of the art world might well come to the conclusion that religious ideas are not relevant to art unless they are treated with skepticism."
James Elkins in On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art (p. 16)