What defines Christian Art? Lately this genre has illustrated or portrayed the principles of Christianity all the while remaining PG-13. Precious Moments figurines, Veggie Tales DVD’s, and pastoral paintings by Thomas Kinkade may immediately spring to mind. But all that is changing. Although some boundaries help, playing it too safe can stifle creativity. So what can Christian Art do better? And how can we define this genre differently? These are the questions we posed to a group of artists (who also happen to be Christian).
Rachel Hayes Fraser
Writer and musician who admires Charles Dickens and Maria McKee
What defines Christian art?
When I was young, my view was that Christian record labels were always looking for the Christian version of whatever was successful in the mainstream. “This is how you too can be as cool as your secular friends, without compromising your values.” My father would find the better stuff, the Christians who weren’t on Christian labels. Steve Taylor, Charlie Peacock… people who were making art for art’s sake.
I feel like art should be edgy and controversial. [But] I think there you’re going to run into the same problem as in the mainstream–a lot of people don’t want to be challenged. They don’t want to think about it, they just want to be entertained. They want to listen to what their friends are listening to.
But I think as Christians, being challenged and questioning things is almost even more necessary, because it just matters more.
Even less so than regular society should people not be mindless or complacent. And it’s kind of art’s job in society to kind of bring out things that are uncomfortable, and point out things that otherwise we would just accept.
But that’s coming from the perspective of someone who’s an artist, and not someone who just wants to maintain the status quo. I like to be controversial, I like to have my thoughts challenged. So I would prefer my art — Christian or secular — to be provocative and not necessarily palatable.
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