Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Giftedness is Seldom Monitized until it Flows out of Love

A major frustration among those with great artistic giftedness is that they pour their hearts into their art and no one buys it. After they have invested their very life in it, there seems to be no monitory purpose in it.  Ask anyone who has tried to make a living as an artist.  You will hear their frustration.

I have a friend who wrote a long piece on this. I know what her hearts cry is.  I have so many extraordinarily gifted people I know.  People who by all rights should be on the top.  Yet they are not.

These people are artists (paints and painting), sculptors, musicians of all stripes, composers, writers of books and preachers.  Most of them struggle to get paid for what their hearts passion. 

I have asked the Lord why.  Freely given freely give.  

Matthew 10:7And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, 10no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12As you enter the house, greet it. 13And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.
 Please understand, they deserve to be paid.  They deserve more.  The problem is as soon as one begins to focus on striving for wealth out of the gift, they become their own worst enemy.  Sure, a Micheal Jackson, the Beatles, an Andy Warhol, A Joel Osteen and numbers of others have succeeded in monetizing the gift they were given by God.  Sometimes it is just knowing how to push the buttons on the star making machine. 

It really comes down to the flow of the gift from God.  IF an artist truly gifted from God knew full well he or she would never ever make a penny for the rest of their life on their art, would they stop painting, sculpting, composing, playing, writing or preaching?  IF the answer is yes, they would stop, then it was not a gift.

True artistic giftedness is a flow.  Inspiration comes and the art is performed or created for it's own sake.  Music is different in that it can be repeated.  People covering their own music sometimes are the most sad.  No one says to Van Gogh, "Paint another "Starry Night" again".   He could have. It might even be good.  But it would be a copy.  The nuance in giftedness is seeing the difference. 

I know the history of art.  Patrons supported artists.  Artists produced art... much of it great.  Bach wrote something every week fresh.  Mozart fought to stay alive on patron money.  Commissioned paintings.  Commissioned sculptures.  That tradition seems to be lost.  Not much of that going on any more.  Sure as a writer, if you are good enough, you can find someone to advance you money on a book. 

This frustration has caused discouragement and even anger on the part of many.  I knew a gifted artist who in frustration took all her paintings and sculptures and piled them up, poured gasoline on them and burned them.  She told me her artistic flow increased.  I thought it was a pretty radical thing to do. 

I have writings and sermon notes from the last 20 years.  In boxes.  I from time to time have dipped back in them.  They are good. YET.. I can never preach nor teach the same material twice.  I hear renowned preachers and teachers four or five times and begin to hear serious recycling going on.  No fresh manna.  That is when purely for money stifles the flow.    It's what happens when the ministry money machine is turned on. 

Please hear my heart.  I am NOT critical of people who make a good living on their art.  I wish all could.  It must start however with the gift being able to flow thru us. 

One of my relatives, Terry Redlin is a famous wildlife artist.  He has become wealthy by his art.  What most don't know is when he wasn't wealthy, when we worked for a magazine (Dakota Farmer) for peanuts he painted all the time for free.  Gave it away.  I have some.

Unless we are prepared to play, paint and preach for free...we will never find the flow that makes it possible for monetization.  Here's a prayer for artists written by Ginger Pennington:

My prayer for the struggling artist:
Despite these things, we will trust in the Lord. He works all things for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purposes. We will walk by faith and not by sight. We may not know what opportunities or seeming lack thereof will come down the road for us, but God, you do, and you know better than we the plans you have to prosper us, give us hope, and a future. The rich may rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender, but even still may we remove our dependence upon others and simply trust in YOU [God] to send us provision and wisdom. May we be trusted when we have very little so that we can be trusted with much, since whomever is dishonest with very little is dishonest with very much. Let us receive a renewed vision and hope from you without any doubt, so that we will no longer be like a wave tossed to and fro in the ocean, and so that we may receive anything that we ask from you. Keep our hearts pure, full of love, and eager to always serve you in the name of Christ. Let whatever we create come together in a way that both brings glory to your name and draws souls to the love and freedom you provide in Christ for eternity. Hallelujah!
Now go on producing the flow of the Holy Spirit given to you freely.  When the times comes if it ever does you will see a reward.  The art you bring will be it's own reward in love ...  and the world will be a better more beautiful place.


Kelly Dombrowski said...

I have to disagree Gene and here is why.

Exodus 31 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, 5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.

In this scripture passage you see many skills and most of those skills get paid dearly. Jewelers to be one, custom cabinet makers another.

So I would submit, there actually is no excuse for painters and sculptors to be giving ANYTHING freely.

We don't ask for a gold ring for free, or for our mantlepiece to be completed free of charge.

Even our preachers have an income albeit more with some than others.

I say it's because the Christians backed off the fine arts. It was not cultivated. The mountain was not kept for many centuries. We gave it up.

Now it's hard to get it back.

Also the printing press gave a cheapness to art. Most people will go down to Walmart and get the latest Chinese printed reproduction to hang on the wall.

The one who OWN real art begin to know the joy of it. To own something very unique and one of a kind that some soul poured out blood sweat and spirit to make.

Tell me how many people actually have quality things in their homes anymore? Not as many as in the past. Not so many things available to be passed down from one generation to another.

Anyway, I make art because it brings me joy. I have considered quitting. I've even done other things for income and it was like a death. So no matter what I will make art. It's a shame it doesn't bring in enough money to support one. There is so much GREAT affordable art out there right now it's crazy! Millions of artists are out there and even willing to practically give away things in the hopes that one day they hit it big.

My opinion is, not everyone can occupy the top. There is not anything wrong with staying a little lower with consistent sales. It's hard, it's brutal and artists feel very under-appreciated. And they are.

We have an arts ignorant society and culture.

Think about the 1700's. If you wanted a likeness of little Johnny, you HAD to commission an artist. We now have iPhones.

I can't compete with that. Nor should I have to.

Vincenzo said...

I agree with you Gene. As an aspiring artist myself, I would sit in the coffee shop and draw for hours simply because I wanted to, and people would come up to me and ask me about my work. I got a couple of commissions out of it too. In an interview recently, artist Armin Mersmann made a similar point, that when money became his primary motivator, doing art, which he calls 'his sanctuary', was reduced to a chore.


Anonymous said...

I have a question although I believe I understand the context of what you wrote. when I was almost through I began to think of oppressed ministries. Young ministers going as the Lord directs and yet not meeting the standards or checklists of many older ministers many matured by fire. I have seen them very knowledgable very hurt. They are called many tested by fire. Yet can not find opportunity to let God express himself thru them. Many priests are bearing rule by their own means others caught with partial truths and refuse to grow into balance and yet last weekend a prophetic Word came back to me. much of the next generation has been neglected my people do not understand them. I remember several visions I have had passing churches seeing one in white. weeping terribly each time and not seeing His face but tears many tears and deep mourning and greif. As I sought the Lord about it I heard all have a gift I remember thinking that's right all have a gift and severally as He wills and all may prophecy. I don't recall ever telling more than one or two this. Feel free to judge please do not criticize the scriptures are there. The training and unity of Gods people is not very common many many places non existent and yet they have church like clockwork. I do not know what kind of shaking must take place for 1st cor to become a reality and 2nd cor to be obeyed. I do know it makes my master weep signs where to follow all and the character was to be developed through the Fathers hand and the very Gifts He gave to the Body. I saw a national prophet several weeks ago proclaiming outrageous blessing and increase before He called people to sow into His ministry a seed indeed many are saying such but I remember the tears the grief the pain and the knowing Father had a plan and yet He sought for a man and so Jesus came and even amongst the ones He saved many times His Spirit may not move and control the very people He called and designated this very hour. He weeps and many cry prosperity but most don't meet and would not want the scriptural signs of discipleship and the signs that follow those who believe. So I ask myself why give any the wealth of the wicked when HE GAVE Himself and is not able to move through many Blood Bought and Spirit created temples. Some preach against it others think it's normal few strive for it. But God sees the multitudes who though destined to be touched where never touched because of it.The sick the demon possessed the unsaved those called to work in the field to be Gifts of God Himself and yet rejected neglected and persecuted as we hurl towards the end of time. My heart is wrenched and my tears flow freely and I mourn deeply what shall we do. your article has stirred me in a very painful way. signed weeping even now shalom