ArtPrize 2018: Sept. 19 – Oct. 7, 2018
Hosted by the First United Methodist Church of Grand Rapids, at 227 East Fulton Street – viewable from the street
Colors of Community Art Festival: Oct. 25 – Nov. 12, 2018
Located at Life Stream Church in Allendale, at 6561 Lake Michigan Drive
(Thursdays through Saturdays – 5-9pm)
I AM was created as my entry into this year’s ArtPrize event. (For more information including some behind the scenes images and photos of the installation of the project, check out our Facebook page.)
I AM uses words & imagery to explore the concept of an Ultimate Entity/Common Denominator of all Existence/Author and Initiator of the Universe – in a word, GOD. A nautilus shell juxtaposed against a spiral galaxy illustrates the shared implementation of the Golden Ratio (also known as the Fibonacci Sequence) in both designs. The Golden Ratio has been called “the Fingerprint of God.” It is a mathematical characteristic we find integrated repeatedly in our reality across disparate systems spanning vastly divergent scales, suggesting an intentional implementation of this feature in the design of our universe. Tying words from John 1 to the Creation account from Genesis 1-3, the Self-definition given to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14 to the allusion to time-spanning existence found in Jesus’ response to His questioners in John 8:58, and incorporating the record of purpose found in John 17-20, I AM seeks to expand the mental space reserved by the viewer for their concept of God.
During ArtPrize, I AM is being hosted by the First United Methodist Church located at 227 E. Fulton Street. It is located just up the hill from the Division/Fulton intersection, on the north side of the road (the left side when going up the hill). The piece can be viewed from the road, although of course to see any degree of the details upon which the image is built it would be better to approach it on foot.
Following ArtPrize, I AM is planned to be included in the Colors of Community Art Festival held by Life Stream Church in Allendale, Michigan. If you’re in the area, please drop in and see it with your friends. There will be voting, so your votes will be appreciated, as well 🙂
I AM is my attempt at creating an abstracted portrait of God. I AM attempts to capture several facets of God’s identity and character through a combination of symbolic allusion, imbedded revelation, and expanded awareness. In my attempt to create an image that captures a (necessarily limited) perspective of God’s identity and character, I have used as the central theme two words that God used on more than one occasion in the Bible to describe and identify Himself – “I AM”
Imagery and selected texts from the Biblical record were used to render these two words.
The Imagery: The imagery of this piece alludes to a design characteristic present throughout the natural world and universe that surrounds us. This design characteristic is known as the Fibonacci Sequence, in honor of the mathematician that brought this mathematical sequence to the western world in 1202AD. This sequence, also known as the Golden Ratio, has been referred to as the Fingerprint of God because it can be seen throughout nature from the cosmic to the microcosmic. In this image, a rendition of a spiral galaxy represents the cosmic, while the cross-section of a nautilus shell that forms the letter “I” provides a visualization of the microcosmic. The two are juxtaposed to demonstrate the implementation of the Golden Ratio in both designs, bringing to mind the plausibility of a common designer..
The Texts: The texts used in the creation of this piece were gathered from five unique sections of the Bible.:
- John 8:58 provides the introductory phrase used at the top of the image: “Before Abraham was, I AM” was the answer Jesus used to explain His age and authority to those who questioned the duration of His existence.
- The first three chapters of Genesis provided the text I used to form the letter A. This passage includes the Biblical record of God’s Creation of Time and the Universe, as well as an account of the early days of Humanity and their loss of fellowship with their Creator.
- Four chapters (17 – 20) from the New Testament book of John were used to form the letter M. This passage documents the lengths undertaken by the Creator to restore His fellowship with Humanity.
- The “postscript” at the bottom of the image was taken from the first chapter of the book of John, which ties the identity of Jesus Christ to the identity of the God of Creation. The actual word “Word” used in John 1:1 means “Conveyor of Meaning” (“In the beginning was the Conveyor of Meaning, and the Conveyor of Meaning was with God, and the Conveyor of Meaning WAS God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. … And the Conveyor of Meaning became flesh, and dwelt among us” – John 1:1-3 & 14a)
- The 5th section of the Bible used in this piece provides the very title and central theme to this piece: I AM. This comes from Exodus 3, verses 13, 14, and 15. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, Moses asked God what name he should answer when asked who sent him. God said to tell them, “I AM hath sent me unto you.”
Don was born in Africa and was exposed to a wide diversity of cultures at a young age. His life experiences have given him an appreciation of perspective and an awareness of its importance in the process of communication. He enjoys focusing on the details. He loves the beauty that pervades nature. He is in a constant state of awe and appreciation for the design and detail found in God’s creations.
Don started creating art out of words in 2010. Long fascinated by the diversity available within the realms of visual and verbal communication, he finds great personal satisfaction in merging the two forms of expression into a singular form of art that he likes to call Pictures of 1000 Words. If you have the chance, he hopes you will take some time to check out his work and perhaps even discover new ways of looking at things you may have previously dismissed or taken for granted 🙂