Standing out as an artist has always been hard, especially now, when the impact of social media has given a 24/7 platform to content. Although it can help in getting your work out there, the market has become far more cramped, meaning it has become easier to put your hand up but harder to actually get noticed.
This is similarly true if your passion is religious art. According to sociologists, only 7% of the world’s population is non-religious. With religion providing a blank canvas for many artists to demonstrate their own vision of texts, it is also a common subject when it comes to art.
With that being said, there are certain things you can do to stand out as a religious artist:
For Starters, Know Your Scripture
This may seem like an inane point, but it is very important to know your source material as an artist. And we mean really know it. Read the scripture front-to-back. Don’t just understand it. Feel it. Get closer to the parts of the scripture that relate to you and spend time with them. That way, you will find encouragement, motivation and inspiration to create the scenes you care about and place them onto the canvas as accurately as possible.
Embrace The Other Details
This may be confusing, but many religious artists choose to paint scenes which have been done before – or are synonymous with the religion itself. For instance, the crucifixion of Christ or the seven-branch menorah for Judaism. Instead of repeating these symbols, however, find parts of the scripture which are rarely represented in art. For instance, shabbat candlesticks are just as beautiful and symbolic for Judaism, and there are a number of examples of Jesus’s sacrifice for humanity in the Bible. Look for the details that aren’t so widely represented and go from there.
Spend Time With Artists
When attempting to stand out, it can be easy to isolate yourself from other artists. After all, if you keep yourself to yourself, then there’s no chance you can echo someone else’s work. This is a mistake, however. If you spend time with other religious artists, you can learn from one another, become motivated and challenge each other to get better. Try to find a creative group and gain some support in your endeavours.
Embrace Your Own Vision
Every religious scripture makes the individual feel something unique. You may get a different implication of a certain text compared to someone else, so utilise that and put it down onto the canvas. Do not be afraid to paint the way you see it. The mistake many painters make – and the reason it is hard for them to stand out – is playing it safe and refuting their own image of the text. Trust the way the scripture makes you feel and paint your own vision of it.
Your Art Does Not Define You; Religion DoesMost of all, it is important to remember that your art does not define you. It can be easy to get too engrossed in becoming successful and lose the passion for art along the way. You need to make sure you are having fun with the process, ignore your level of success, and embrace your failures. What defines you is your religion and the virtues it has taught you. Art is just a way to get it all down on the canvas, so enjoy it and keep the joy closest to your heart. If you do this, your art will only become better and so too will your own happiness, which is most important.