This Advent and Christmas season is proving to be inspirational for me! As I always do, I used my art skills to produce a couple of gifts for people as well as a set of Christmas cards.
I have been busy stocking my ongoing show, Chicago Art. I have begun focusing on historical figures who contributed to Chicago’s history and culture. Below, you see cut-out portraits of two such figures, Jane Addams and Jacques Marquette.
The first gift-piece I made this year is titled “Inside”, and you can see it below. For this cut-out collage, I used a quote from St. Hildegard von Bingen, a visionary genius. A fiercely independent nun and abbess, St. Hildegard lived in the 12th century and excelled in a plethora of fields: architecture, medicine, science, philosophy, theology, poetry and music.
The quote talks about a new definition of selfhood — one which includes all of existence. This is a selfness not defined or limited by individual experience or ability. To convey this expanded selfhood in symbolic form, I chose to give a contemplative figure wings and a head that is reaching out and blending into the cosmos.
The second gift-piece I made is an image of the sleeping Child Christ, his gleaming halo suggesting the Star in the East. In addition to the stand-alone cut-out version you see below, I made a smaller version to serve as a Christmas card. (See both versions at right.) I made these art objects to promote inner peace, which I believe is the most useful and beneficial tool for living that one has.
When the world tries to control you using fear and violence, it is easy to to think that responding with fear-mongering and violence is a justifiable solution. The trouble is, that makes you into the same kind of immoral bully that you claim to decry. The only moral solution is to be that which you uphold, which is the opposite of that which you decry. In this case, the opposite is peace, simplicity, humility, mercy. Being that which you uphold is living with integrity, and it actually contributes to making the kind of world in which you would want to live.
May peace and prosperity reign in your heart and household this Christmas season.