Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Visual Arts In LA

Los Angeles is second only to New York City in its number of artists, art shows and museums spaces dedicated to the arts. There are also lots of artistic enclaves around town with style vibes ranging from the classic fine art greats to “retro-groovy”, to graffiti to “edgy- in your face” to “just way way out there”. Ecclesia Church is not to be left out and so they are having a Visual Arts exhibit the end of November that will be faith-based.

The theme we are to follow is about how Jesus, born into flesh i.e. the Nativity, is intersecting with our lives now or intersections of our faith in our reality in 2011, I guess. I was a bit confused with the concept initially but now I want to take the approach of Ecclesia “the called out ones” as Pastor Joseph discussed in church (listen to the downloadable sermon at ) and how we live “the Jesus in us” or a broader view of how the Holy Spirit operates and the “This Is Ecclesia” series we are delving into in the book of Acts . Then I guess I'll just let the Holy Spirit direct me from there :) .

Ecclesia supports many churches around the world and they are very dedicated to their support of the church in Kibera, Kenya, one of the African nation's most notable slums. Ecclesia's mission team went there recently to share the gospel with the children and teens of Kibera and I've wanted to do some art about that trip ever since.

In fact, a few Sundays back, various Kenya missions team members took the stage and shared their experiences with us at church and I can say it was life changing for me. I wasn't the only one touched by their words and pictures as there were many teary eyes and open hearts to go around. One member even shared that before going on this missions trip, she had been simply checking things off her “Christian bucket list” and not letting the Lord move her (something I 've been guilty of myself).

So Kibera's kids it is and our artwork is due in less than a month so I needed to start sketching quick. I bugged my friend M.W., a Kenyan missions 2011 team member, for any pictures he had of the mission team in Kenya and he had tons. I think that the final work will be in pencil, charcoal, ink or maybe oil pastel crayons because I am not able to work with paints and brushes as well these days. I may make it a 3D multi-media display or a performance piece but I'm still working on the concepts right now.

I'm a little nervous about submitting my art because most of the people submitting work were gifted artists many working currently in the field while my last official art classes were in high school in the 80s. I was found to have artistic skills at age 6 and I was blessed with wonderful art teacher from elementary school all the way through. I also come from a very artistic family and I watched my older brothers drawing at home up through high school then I frequented the fine arts building exhibits during college. But then I went off to medical school to do the doctor thing and I rarely did art after that.

I returned to art in 2001 as therapy and it works well as a distraction but some of my skills suffered I think. I usually do about 3-4 pieces a year now (body willing), most seen only by me in my small “art studio” at home so if I get this done, it would really be a dream come true.

UPDATE: 11-13-11
I submitted eight 9 x 12 inch matted portraits of the Kenyan kids done in graphite pencil and charcoal on paper today so wish me luck. I did them all in about a week and a half and I really wanted to present something for those young mission team members at my church who go yearly to the slums of Kibera. The faces of these kids and teens from Kenya make you want to do for God and give your all and all I can do for them right now is my art.

All this my art is Holy Spirit inspired work because this is not the technique I had before. I also didn't have much supplies but an artist from church hooked me up (thanks R.R.) and another artist matted them for me at a discount in his frame shop (thanks A.B. and fam).

Seriously, seeing my work properly matted and mounted was heavenly and worth the effort. God is amazing! Oh, and I named my pieces as a group, Ecclesia, the "sent out ones": Lives Touched, Kibera.

UPDATE- 11-16-11
Good news! I just got word that 3 of my pieces made the cut and will be on exhibit at the historic Pacific Theater on Hollywood Blvd during Ecclesia's church hours or exhibit hours throughout the Christmas Advent season. I'll make sure to video tape the opening reception especially since I'm going to wear the authentic Kenyan Masai necklace that I bought at the Alternative Christmas Market at Ecclesia last year.

The Alternative Christmas Market:
Speaking of which the Alternative Christmas Market at Ecclesia will be on Dec 3rd this year in its new locale in the outside garden space so it's going to be bigger and better (weather allowing). This is a lovely and novel shopping event for Christmas gifts and it has many jewelry, scarfs, belts, bracelets, purses and ornaments for sale all made by women from Africa, India and Asia. You can also buy or donate for a cow or chicken for a poor family in a developing country, a perfect gift for that man in your life or your young kids.

I plan to make tons of hand made cards with the other women of the church to send to the kids in Kenya like we did last year. I'm also working on some detailed original artwork for Christmas cards, stationary, gift wrap and Christmas trees with an Kenyan/African safari feel for sale on Dec 3rd. I have the concept But I need to get more card stock and envelopes. I'm also going to make my own stamp and logo the old fashioned way. If I get this done, I hope to sell them as a box set of five with the profits going to help the mission in Kenya. I plan to do my pine cone work, too so I have to get cracking now.

***See video of last year's Alternative Christmas Market on an old blog post.

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