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Friday, June 7, 2013

Wilton Library Art Show, and Religious Sensitivity

Every year I submit my work to the Wilton Library Art Show in Wilton, CT. 20% of all sales goes back to the library from my childhood. The show is for Wilton residents only, but I am lucky enough to get my work in because Wilton was the town I was raised in since I was born. This event wasn't really publicized by me before, but this year there will be a difference in what I'm submitting.

In years past I submitted my "Chickens" and "Rose" sort of pieces - artwork that was politically or religiously neutral and that everyone would enjoy. But this year marks a very bold step: the submission of "The Most Precious," the first painting in my sacred art series. The original will not be for sale, but prints will be available for purchase with a choice of a price that includes the frame exactly as the original, or an unframed price. The beauty of this is prints can be bought as many times as desired, and the library can take 20% for every print sold.

The reason why I chose "The Most Precious" is because that painting has been my most marketable piece, and if so many of my friends and fans have enjoyed it, then would the general public react in kind? This is where the sacred art series takes its first baby step into uncharted territories.

I honestly have no idea when Jesus became such a taboo subject for people in the Northeast. But here in Connecticut I sense the immediate tension connected to the name. I have seen people cringe, stutter to find suitable redirecting words, or remain absolutely silent when looking at my works. It makes some people who are not Christian very uneasy, and I know some try to be as kind as they can be, and I try to be as sensitive to their feelings and beliefs as I can. But at the Wilton Library this religious art will go public. So here it is, the elephant will be in the room now, and no one would be able to deny the elephant when they see it. This tiny child is being held by the Savior in heaven. Either they believe it or they don't, but it will be there right in front of them.

Not everyone reacts this way, in fact it has been only a handful of people. The majority of reactions have been elation, peace, awe and a spiritual stirring. As an artist that is why I am painting this series, to share a beautiful message that God loves us all individually, and bring beautiful reactions to an audience. But at the same time I cannot help but worry. This piece is my baby, the heart and soul of who I am and what I believe. I have always been open to public criticism, and it's easy to accept them from friends, fans and family. But I fear the stabs that may come from the general public. My biggest fear is that this work won't be accepted at all because it is too religious or extreme in nature. Would the public do that???

I won't know unless I find out, and I can't find out unless I accept the possibility that my entire works might fail. But I cannot be afraid to be rejected. Even if the world did reject me, at least I'll be able to say I gave it my very best, and gave the world my whole heart. So I guess we will have to wait and see what happens!


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