Art Reflects The Artist [Identity]

“One of the truisms of our culture is that art somehow reveals the artist” (Prescott, 307).

In his chapter, Identity, Theodore Prescott addresses the thought that “art is an expression of the artist. Such a statement makes me think about humanity and creation as a whole and how that reflects on God, the ultimate creator of everything.

Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love, opens his book with getting the reader to reflect on God’s greatness and holiness. He shares how often times Christians can get caught up in a routine with their faith. Such monotony can often lead to familiarity and create a lifeless relationship between God and believer. In response, Chan challenges the reader to think of God as Creator, and as Creator, God is constantly creating something new. He challenges the reader to think about all the things that have been created and how awesome they are. He shares a few interesting facts about the world around us.


  • “..a caterpillar has 228 separate and distinct muscles in its head” (Chan, 25).
  • “The average elm tree has approximately 6 million leaves in it.”
  • “your own heart generates enough pressure as it pumps blood throughout your body that it could squirt blood up to 30 feet.”
  • “[God] didn’t have to put 3,000 different species of trees within one square mile in the Amazon jungle, but He did.”
  • “…plants defy gravity by drawing water upward from the ground into their stems and veins”
  • “…spiders produce three kinds of silk… When they build their webs, they create sixty feet of silk in one hour, simultaneously producing special oil on their feet that prevents them from sticking  to their own web.”
  • “Coral plants are so sensitive that they can die if the water temperature varies by even one or two degrees.”
  • “…when you get goose bumps, the hair in your follicles is actually helping you stay warmer by trapping body heat”

This is an easy statement to believe when looking at nature; how everything collaborates and works flawlessly. Chan even goes on to say,

“God’s art speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like” (Chan, 26).

But what about humanity? When looking at the complexity of the human body, it becomes apparent how truly amazing the human body is. But what about the evil that is in the world? What about the rapist, prostitute, murder, child molester, and thief? They were all created by God too. Do they reflect God? What does this say about God?

I do believe that art is a reflection of the artist; however, I have not been able to make sense of my own questions previously proposed. Perhaps it shows God’s great love and His gift of free will to the world. That despite our choices, the fact that we are the only creatures to be created in His image instantly separates us from everything else on earth. It must be some kind of crazy love that inclines Him to create something that could possibly lead to be a misinterpretation of Himself as an artist.

I would love to read some responses that tackle these questions. Would you agree? Disagree?

Here are two of my favorite misunderstood artists and their works:

Georgia O'Keefe

Georgia O’Keefe paintings


Poppies | Georgia O’Keefe

Georgia O’Keefe’s flower paintings have been faced against Freudian’s interpretation as “vaginal flowers.” When asked about her flower series, O’Keefe shared that they were mere studies of flowers and their intricate designs when explored closely.

“I have but one desire as a painter – that is to paint what I see, as I see it, in my own way, without regard for the desires or taste of the professional dealer or the professional collector.” Georgia O’Keefe

The Starry Night | Vincent Van Gogh

The Starry Night | Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gough

Vincent Van Gogh

Although Vincent Van Gogh may have had some mental instability, his work was new and different. Though at the time, his work was not well accepted, his creative approach in use of colors and painting technique brought new perspective to the art world.


Crazy Love by Francis Chan


2 thoughts on “Art Reflects The Artist [Identity]

  1. Wow, you brought up some really interesting questions here. I think that, in addition to your answer, the evils that exist in people and in the world are there to reflect what the absence of God does to Creation. Our free will allows us to choose to not have God in our life, so that leads to some really horrible things, and it’s sometimes only through that horror that we can truly see the kind of “crazy love” that He has for His creation when He gives us the chance to choose redemption.

  2. I like that you brought in a variety of sources to talk about identity. What I hear you saying with your quotes from Chan’s “Crazy Love” is simply that our identity must be a pretty amazing thing as we are created by such an amazing Creator. I do think even the most deprived of people have to reflect some aspect of the Creator because they are simply His creation. A child is still a parents child no matter what choices that child makes. I like both Van Gogh and O’Keefe, and yes, they were both misunderstood in their own ways- I need a little help connecting this thought to the comments you were making to Crazy Love, or the fact that derived individuals still have some aspect of God’s identity as a part of who they are. Very nice food for thought in your blog here.

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