Sunday, July 3, 2011

Re-Purposing and Kingdom Ethics

Camp Stephen Mural Backdrop
Acrylic on canvas
12' x 5'
Teresa Carter

"The passing years and the artistic life have taught me that past, present and future are realities only so long as I dwell on this globe that whirls around a star."

"There are two things you should know: first, what you are; second, that you are not what you are by your own power."

Youth camp ended Friday, at noon. Samuel and Emma experienced the week as campers, Teresa as a teacher, leading a group in art projects, and me as a kitchen volunteer. There is much time for reflection while chopping and cooking and mopping and dish-washing (my hi-lite was learning, thanks to Aaron Hershberger, to toss a pizza!). My respect for all who serve in the kitchen is now one of admiration.

While trimming the fat from a case of chicken, I meditated on the notion of creativity, specifically, where and how ideas occur for these creatures known as 'artists'. I am grateful for a memorial designer named Eugene H. Faehnle. He led a design workshop I attended in Elberton, Ga., almost twenty five years ago. On day one, he said, "It occurred to me one day that many of the designs in my industry have not changed in more than half a century. The traditional 20th Century memorial is, what I call, a P2 SerpBurp with corner clutter and band aids (see below for 'tombstone terminology'). I began to take note of contemporary design, as it relates to other fields. I realized something. Companies spend millions on good design. So, I drove to the local drug store and walked the aisles, noting product shapes and dimensions." 
Eugene H. Faehnle revolutionized American memorial design by re-purposing good design. He passed away several years ago but his memory is honored by the American Institute of Commemorative Art's Annual Design Contest

 P2 SerpBurp w/Corner Clutter & Band Aids

I owe Eugene Faehnle a great debt. He stands in line with those who have helped shape the way I see. He reminds me that we, along with our 'ideas', are not our own; we are a part of a collaborative collective, stewards of creative moments meant to enhance, encourage and educate others. I have a list of concepts I keep tucked away, a group of pieces I plan to realize one day. While trimming chicken fat in a church kitchen, I had this thought- what if God, in His infinite generosity, gives me more ideas than I can generate so that I might give them to other artists/students? What if I posted a project concept on an international bulletin board and an artist in Tokyo had the means and time to realize it in a way I never imagined? After all, we who claim the name of Christ, are not owners but stewards, even over 'intellectual property rights'. It's Kingdom Ethics fleshed out. 

I have compiled a list of a few concepts I have tucked away and I am making them available to anyone interested. You can click here for a PDF link, or, if you email, I will send a hand-written list from one of my yellow legal pads- old fashioned, USPS snail mail. Everybody loves mail. If you see something you decide to produce you don't have to tell anyone you got the concept from a guy in South Carolina (tho' I would be thrilled to hear from an artist in Tokyo). My email address is-   

Tombstone Terminology
P2- Polished two sides 
Serp- Serpentine Top
Burp (BRP)- Balance rock pitched

1 comment:

  1. What an honorable thing to do. I have thought for some time that individuals with gifts in the arts and a heart for Christ should consider themselves more as transforming than creating. All comes from Him. Tedd