What inspires you about artists and your own art?
I like Johnny Depp because he is aware that he is living a symbolic life. That his life itself is a symbol. I always feel this about my own life. And I like people who live aware of it, even if they don’t have the right philosophy of life or truth about it. They realize that their life itself is art. That just makes sense to me. King David was perhaps the best at it, outside of Jesus. But since i was young i always felt like my life itself was art. I used to want to entertain others for self acceptance, then it shifted to the desire to inspire others to be a living piece of art. And I still feel like that. I want to leave behind a life which was art–a legend more than things or material stuff on earth. I would like to be remembered as inspiring art really–something which pointed people to God by being so very interesting. Unique, one of a kind. Something which was obviously special and unique and unavoidable. Something so interesting, it made you want to go on living. And I also like surprising people with new areas, that even i myself did not know were there. To guide people into the forest of being. Where the Father God lives. And to guide them there, by inspiration. You need to be inspired to live well in the end. It doesn’t just happen. What just happens is depression and circumstance. But when you get that vision laid before you that the whole thing could be much more interesting and mysterious than you imagined, then you want to go on. I want to give that to people.
How does art bless the world or provide a mission?
There are different ways of blessing the world. Mine is to inspire it. Some people are just so interesting, that even if you don’t understand them at all; their lives make you want to live yours! Dylan, Christo, Thomas Merton, are like that, and many great artist are. They say to the world, hey, this thing might be more than you think–more than just shitting and cleaning up trash; more than disease and suffering; that it might also have beauty and mystery and something not yet fully unveiled. That is where the artist ushers in hope I think. And yes, this road, as well as others eventually end in Christ Himself. But that further up the road for most people.
And your own art–what’s its purpose or mission?
I think i am interesting. But I think that the symbol of me is more interesting, and in some ways perhaps more true. This is Johnny Depp in the mask. That symbol of himself that he is participating in, that is the universal transcendent thing. That is closer to his eternal self as well. Even though he himself does not believe in eternity; God does. And we do have a continuum, i think. And we have a truly higher self–and that self already touches into this life. That is one of the christian messages i think is true. That He came to bring Life here and now, as well and then and there. And that part of this life is our own life. Our spiritual selves which we can already partly access here. Glory to glory, already we are becoming what we are meant to be–as St John put it. The dawn is already dawning in those who believe–ie in those who are already in The Life of Christ. Our eternal selves are already forming in us now here on earth through the daily taking out of trash, raising kids, and meaningful conversations we have with others and the earth and life in general. We are already starting to be what we will be forever, in short. That is one of the hopes of Christianity as I see it. The Life of Christ comes in, and starts forming our eternal selves here and now. And they start to make the other parts of our lives more pregnant with life, possibility, hope vision…love even–the good things.
Artists are ones who highlight the symbolic. They highlight the symbol of themselves as well. Identity itself can be symbolized in a living way, and artists prove this daily. I’ve always been interested in the symbol of myself, not so much to make monuments, but to express core identity. I like to see things being themselves. It is like saying yes to the idea of truth when you see someone or thing being what it essentially is. That absolute self as some of the philosophers and aestheticians put it. The absolute self flowing outwards through the symbolic, that’s what great art is really in the end. But of course, this absolute self has to be born and unlocked. That’s where Jesus comes in. He leads the captive self free and breaks the chains, so it can start walking out into eternity–so that in the end, He will have many brothers and sisters. That was part of His Plan in coming to earth. To make us into what we really are.
What could art do differently on a collective scale?
We are not just our worst selves, which is why I don’t like reality tv, which highlights the worst moments in everyones life as entertainment. We are also the sons and daughters of God becoming eternal poems of God. I am not just my own stupidity, I am also my very best moments; and will one day live in them uninterruptedly. This uninterrupted or less interrupted living is why I follow Jesus. He allows true life to be less interrupted both by my own stupidities, and by the brokenness of the world itself. He overcomes stupidity, cruelty, the raping of the world, with love kindness and all the other fruits of His Spirit. That’s what He brings into us and He offers it freely as a gift. Hard to argue with a God like that. Better to just receive it, and start becoming.
Jesus’ business is all about making us into what we really are. That’s a liberating thought to me. So I don’t have to just therapy myself into being. But He uses His Own Being to liberate and reveal my own. That’s the symbiotic relationship believers have with Christ. And, though it is grossly one sided in a way–He does all the transforming–we get to partner and be in actual relationship with the One who is transforming us. So it is not just us meditating or transcending in our own power or religious rules. We don’t really have to do the transformational activity in our own power. He is the higher power which is presently making us eternal. That is the hope of Christianity on a daily level I think. And it takes some of the pressure to become off of us. It’s an “His Grace is sufficient” sort of thing in the end. And as Bono, has said, Grace is a lot better of a deal than Karma. I can’t keep up with Karma unless I am having an unusually perfect day. But Grace enters and dialogues despite how well I am living. And I can be being made perfect even in my worst weakness. Even when I am being rude to myself and others, and feeling depressed, His Life is forming my true life. Again, He offers us a much less interrupted life in Him. There is less wasted minutes in life, if we know we are being renewed and transformed even as we sleep.
So summing up your ideas on artists?
I think artists symbolize the transformational process in a unique way, and can become symbols themselves. For, some see their own lives as also part of their art. In the bible, you see this with Jeremiah and St Paul–both realized that their life itself was a teaching, a model, a message. They, of course, were then both asked to fellowship with Christ’s suffering-and that is revealing. To be a living portent of the true self is to shine forth the suffering of Christ in His formation of this true eternal self. It’s not easy for Him to make you truly you! Something to learn from their lives, to be sure. But they, like some of my favorite artists, inspired others by the way they lived. Their lives became one long piece of art that could be considered after they were gone. Their lives became a living portent, as David put it. That’s how I want my life to go down–as a really great piece of art, you want to keep staring at, considering, reading, one which inspires you to live your own life better, as a particular poem of God.