20″X30″ Pen & Ink, watercolor, on Illustration board/smooth surface.
This turned out being a lot more detailed than I expected it to be, but I had a lot of fun seeing it develop as I worked on it. The general idea in this one, was more topical and symbolic in nature. Simply put this picture is meant to show change in a persons life when they come to faith(specifically Christianity). The left side of the picture, was based off of a WWI, trench warfare, no-mans-land idea. All symbolizing the chaos that people can be in when they don’t have structure or God in their life. I’ve been challenged recently in my life personally with becoming a father, and seeing how so many people have kids in a non-ideal way (e.g., single parents, cohabitation without committing to marriage and raising kids) and how it many times leads to craziness for the family, especially the kids as they grow up. I was challenged by the thought of marriage, and how in many ways without what we read about in Genesis and God’s establishment of marriage for humanity, and IF we never had that concept…SO many things would be different in world. That’s just one concept/area that this might apply, basically you could take this line of thinking into nearly every area of life and apply some sort of moral/ethical teaching in how God has provided a type of structure for humanity to live by. Lastly regarding my inspiration, some of the reason why I was thinking about all of this, is over the years, I have taught a number of students who are 1st generation immigrant students from many war torn regions of the world e.g. Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Bosnia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Burma…and a lot more…but basically, how there is a prevailing theme of insane levels of chaos/war and how destructive it is for people. People, family’s, are not able to live and thrive in a chaotic, lawless environment, let alone a war. Using Somalia as an example, its crazy, because their country has been without an official government for 15yrs. and they really are only able to progress to a certain level before more fighting breaks out because certain groups don’t want other groups to have all the power. I guess I’m making a point for how destructive long term civil wars and wars in general can be for human development, and that was part of my inspiration for the left side of my work.
The right side of the work is meant to symbolize the state that a person comes into when they choose the path of faith, i.e.when someone becomes a Christian. I guess it might go beyond just faith, and into action and change of lifestyle as well. I used orchards and vineyards as contrasting imagery to the trenches, that simply symbolized life and growth. Green vegetation was a way that I showed this through out this whole side, grassy fields, pools instead of blasted craters in contrast to the wasted side. It wasn’t my intention for the right side to be heaven, rather an example of how things change for people who come to faith, and how many will profess how they see their life as becoming a type of new life from their past. Maybe more peaceful, calmer, things more in order and alive. My main focus for this side was to convey a sense of peace, and life. The horizontal boardwalk that runs through both sides of the work, is meant to symbolize the path of faith that a person gets onto in order to cross the wall. The lit lamp represents Jesus (inspired by C.S. Lewis’ lamppost in his Narnia books), maybe the wall represents the separation of sin between humanity and God. How the world of human chaos and destruction and ultimately death, and God’s world of peace, hope and ultimately life. There is obviously Christian/theological symbolism in this work, and yet it wasn’t my intention to create a whole theological work…rather I simply wanted to show the contrast between the two worlds in a symbolically clear way, relevant in symbolically showing how a person maybe comes to faith…from one state, into another. I tried to mirror a lot of imagery on each side. I was a fun picture to paint, and I was intentional with making the distance appear more washed out and lighter due to an atmospheric effect as you got farther and farther into the picture.