Art Gallery at Lifelink Church in Memphis

I made a quick visit to Lifelink last Sunday. Here are some views of their art gallery. I really liked the space. It feels very formal and it is just outside the sanctuary. They are doing a great job.

Lifelink Church
1015 S Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104


Prophetic Art - Art and worship

Prophetic Art is a term that I've been running across for a while. Usually it is used in relation to painting as a form of worship, especially painting whatever comes to you during a worship service. I've often wondered what prophetic art means. It just sounds sort of odd to me and I dont quite get it. Recently, I came across this comment on a Youtube video of a church's arts event:

"Besides just serving in a visual capacity, I believe that art can also be used for communication just as the spoken or written word. So just as you can "speak" prophetic words, you can also create "prophetic" art that communicates a message. So how do you define "prophecy"? According to Strong's, the word propheteia's primary use is "not predictive in the sense of foretelling, but interpretive, declaring, or forth-telling, the will or counsel of God."

When I use the word prophetic art I am referring to something that God has laid on my heart to communicate visually. Sometimes that is simply scripture. Sometimes it is what He is doing in my own life. I am not trying to foretell the future, just communicate God's unboundless love that has set me free!" -- anonymous comment

Seems to me like "prophetic" is just a fancy way of saying, "I felt led to paint that." Isn't that sort of unnecessary? Isn't that just setting you up to get in an argument or even turn people away? "Prophetic" appears to be a easily misunderstood or disputed term. Let's not have the words we use to describe spontaneous or inspired art get in the way of adding art to the worship experience. The focus of creating a painting during the worship service is really no different than singing, preaching, and prayer. It's all about communicating God's message and impacting others.

My suggestion is to keep it simple.


Map of churches with visual arts programs

View Artsy Churches in a larger map

This is something that I started to put together for myself. I'm thinking about a little visual arts and worship road trip. It would be so inspiring to visit some of the churches and arts programs that I've learned about over the years. What a great opportunity to learn from others and add to my own ministry when i return! Also, I thought you might enjoy a listing of churches. Maybe you're an artist and you're looking to get plugged in or inspired too. Please leave a comment or reply if you know of a church with a visual arts ministry, ei, live worship painting, a gallery space, artists small group, artists outreach program, etc. and I'll add it to the map.


Jason Fuller - worship artist interview

Explain for us your experience of worshiping God through art. How it feels and why do you enjoy it?

the way i feel... boy...
I start out with a happy nervousness. I know that God is going to bring it all together, but I know that I still have to put time into my work to be ready. The one you saw had to be timed to the song that the choir sang, so this took repeated practices to get it right. But I tried to keep in focus every time that it was all for God...to give it out of the heart. That's hard when you are in front of a congregation who expects something... to just force it out and focus. Tell your people that they may not be happy with the end result, but if they do it for the Lord that His heart will glow. I hope to give my skill to him every day in my job. If they put the prep time in that they need, and worship while they work, and keep God at the center, then they can know that they have done their job.
I enjoy it because it feels good to give back to a God who has saved me and redeems me daily. Wow. Even typing this email is just bringing me back to that heart of worship mode. I love to listen to the music that is being played while doing what I love and spending time with God. It is almost like the way I like to watch a good movie- to turn the lights out, eat a snack, grab a Dr. Pepper, and just fill my senses, except this is filling all my senses with the Lord. There again, all of this is if the nervousness is not present and I am in tune with what God is doing.

Do you use your art as a way to talk to other people about your relationship with Jesus?

I have opportunities to talk to people about the Lord since the arts are full of people who are "free thinking" and distant from God. It gives them the opportunity to realize that Christians aren't always what they imagine them to be. My worship paintings mainly are used to lift up Christians, I believe, but by doing other kinds of art I get to mingle with all sorts of other artists, who are usually surprised to see a Christian who is not going to thump the Bible at them for what they are doing. I generally just try to talk about ME and God, not them and God- at least until they are ready. I believe that God has given me the ability to do something that bonds me to others, regardless of their spiritual beliefs, so that I can grow closer as a friend and plant seeds that will more likely take root.

If you to ever be in a room filled with Christians and spiritually searching people, what is one thing you would say to them about art?

If I were in a room filled with Christians...
I would tell them that God gives them the ability to do anything that they want to for Him. I can see God growing me toward being a successful artist-even though it didn't seem like it was going to happen- just because I believed that He wanted me to do it AND I decided to use my art for His glory and purpose. When I became faithful with that, He put it all in place for me.
I was working four jobs to make ends meet with my wife and our new baby boy. One night I heard the voice of God(and I checked it to make sure it was God). He told me to do a search on google for "Christian graphic design jobs". I had done that search a million times since my deployment to Kuwait in 2004, but I knew it was Him this time. I searched it, and within 3 mouse clicks I was on our church website looking at a design job. I applied and within two weeks we were moving. The one step of obedience toward that which I knew God was calling me brought me to a church that ministers for Him and a job that has paid me more than I have made with any other job. God is so faithful when we trust Him AND ARE GOOD STEWARDS OF WHAT HE HAS ALREADY BEGUN. We can't be the flighty artists that is sometimes our nature when there is so much to be done for the God who paid such a sweet price to save us. I am not saying that all artists are flighty, but I have to fight that battle daily to be creative but not scattered. I went to an art school that taught you to express yourself and be free, but not the disciplines that you have to incorporate to compete in the world. It takes hard work to achieve the quality of work that you need, then you will be able to worship freely, knowing that God has handled the details and that you can relax and rest in Him.
That's my take on it. Hard work, along with something you love, just multiplies. Do whatever you can when you can and use your spare time productively. Even now that I am a full time graphic artist, I still spend my spare time either learning more about my art, practicing guitar, or just creating something. The thing that sets the artist apart from any other job is that he/she had made their hobby their job. Since we are doing it because we love it, use all the time that you want to get better. Talent is not always just born into someone, but it is a combination of the love of something and the time put into it. I couldn't sing...until I started to practice. I had no natural ability with guitar, but since I have started praying and practicing together and I really wanted to learn, I have learned exceptionally well. You can achieve what you want if you give the results to God, and do the work. David's army was amazingly skilled in battle, but they trained. The supernatural part of the gifts of talent many times is the fact that God gives you a savior who gives you a new lease on life and lifts the viel on what is possible.

I pray that these words help, and I thank you so much for the opportunity to share. God has so blessed my life that it is hard to keep it in sometimes. This was a great release!

thank you!


Worship painting video of artist Jason Fuller

Jason Fuller Worship Painting

First of all this is not me. This artist is Jason Fuller painting during the Easter worship service at Woodmont Baptist Church in Florence, AL. I found this video and thought I'd share it. Although I find the song to be very traditional for my tastes, you can't argue that it's a great choice for trying the act of painting to the act of worship. I believe the song title is "Picture of Grace".


More art ministries in Memphis churches

Momentum @ Lifelink Church, 1015 S Cooper St, Memphis, TN

We are a group of artists including painters, photographers, sculptors and dancers in the Lifelink church community. Our goal is to encourage and inspire each other in our artistic endeavors, personally, spiritually and professionally. We do this by creating avenues to showcase our work, forums to discuss and opportunities to view other artists on display. Saturday workdays are offered periodically for those who want to meet at the church to work on their art with other artists.

Sounds really interesting. They are definitely located in a very arts rich area of town. I'd think that they have a very high number of artists in attendance. I wonder what sort of things they are planning for this group. There are very few details listed on their web site. I might have to check them out one Sunday morning. It would be cool to hear what another art ministry is doing.


Art night at the Cove? Figure drawing in a bar?

So we're all use to art in coffee shops... art openings, galleries, gatherings, etc. Seems like a natural fit by now. Then the other day I was at Otherlands Coffee bar and I saw numerous flyers for Art Night at the Cove. So every Thursday night from 9:30pm to 12:30am for a $3 cover they are going to have live models and drink discounts. Huh. I might have to check that out.

Seems like an unlikely location for drawing - small space, low lighting, etc. But then I think of the P&H Cafe as an unlikely place to have a gallery (actually Dwayne Butcher refers to it as The P and H Center for the Arts). P&H has been doing these art openings on the first Friday of every month since Jan 2005. They pack the place out during these art openings, and its more difficult to get selected to show there than at most of the area coffee shops.


Call to Artists - To Send a Prayer sermon series and art exhibit

to send a prayer
2009 Stirring Art Weekend - Sept. 27

Call to Artists

Event description:
The Stirring is planning a sermon series and art exhibit that will focus on prayer. The idea was inspired by a play I saw in November 2008 at the University of Memphis. In the play Eurydice, by Sarah Ruhl, the dead characters in the Underworld try to send letters to characters still living in the “upper world.” To help illustrate the difficulty, the stage had about two dozen mailboxes on long, slightly curved poles, approximately 15-20 feet high. It was impossible to reach the mailboxes.

The whole concept of how to send a letter above and how to receive one from below was very spiritual to me. These mailboxes on the set looked like something you might find in a Dr. Seuss book. What would a child’s perspective be on how his or her prayers reach God? How might a child imagine solutions to this problem?

It is my prayer that this exhibit will touch lives and speak to the hearts of the viewers, leading us all on the journey toward a more authentic, personal, and powerful prayer life. Our special guest artist, Arian Armstrong, and I plan to complete 15-25 paintings a piece on this theme. Because the works will be small to medium in size, the gallery will still need more work to be filled. Therefore, I encourage the local artist community to submit work for this special art show. –– Richard Fudge, Senior Artist and Gallery Manager

Deadline for submissions: Friday, August 28th
Selection and artist notification: Friday, September 11th
Installation: Saturday, September 26th
Opening: Sunday, September 27th 5:25pm

The Stirring Art Gallery will be accepting submissions of original artworks from artists in two themes; 1.) pieces that explore a child’s perspective on prayer, 2.) small works (i.e. 9"x12", 12”x12” ) that are artistic expressions of a prayer and should include a word or phrase. Artwork must be ready for installation on Saturday September 26th.

Digital submissions are preferred. Digital submissions are to be formatted as .jpg at 300 dpi and no larger than 5”x7”. Mailed submissions are to include a CD of digital images of the artwork. Please include your name, phone number, email address, artwork title, medium, dimensions, and date completed with all submissions. Do not send originals. Submissions will not be returned. Multiple submissions accepted, limit five.

Send to:
richard.fudge@gmail.com or The Stirring, c/o Hope Church, 8500 Walnut Grove Rd, Cordova, TN 38018


"Release" - by Richard Fudge for Art of Caring 2009

The deadline for Art of Caring 2009 is quickly approaching, and I need to finish up my painting. 

This is the prayer that I painted on the canvas before beginning. 

This year sounds like its going to be the best one yet. The Perry Nicole Fine Art galley and art curator Jana Travis are going to host the event. I think there is some other new things this year as well, but I cant locate any details at this time.

I'm hoping that I'll get to hang with all the cool artists this time. The professional artists and the featured "Memphis Masters" get to hang in the Perry Nicole gallery. Everyone else gets set up on tables and easels in the walkway of the mall (not so cool). The last two years, I've been in the walkway which is fine. I'm not a professional, in a bunch of galleries, $1000+ a painting, sort of artist... yet. 

This year I'm hoping to make the cut. First, I'm going BIG. No more 16"x20" paintings. I am donating a 24"x48" sucker. That's something I'd probably price at $600-700 (Possibly higher. People love this image). But being big is not the only advantage, it's in perfect tune with the Camp Good Grief message and experience. This painting is going to grab your heart strings with both hands if you have ever been involved with the camp. I'm so excited about sharing this with others and raising money for the camp.

Here we are at about 80% complete.
Jay said, "Man! This is so cool! Richard, that your picture does what words are inadequate to do, in explaining camp, its awesome!"

Please join Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation for
Art of Caring 2009 

A reception and silent art auction to benefit 

Baptist Trinity Hospice House and

The Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief

Sat. August 22nd from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Chickasaw Village Oaks Mall 3092 Poplar Ave


my ever growing booklist

There are way too many books on my "to read" list. I don't even know where to start, but I know that I want my next read to be a book on art and worship.

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It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God

by Ned Bustard (Editor)

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Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Culture

by Makoto Fujimura (Author), Tim Keller (Foreword)

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Art for God's Sake: A Call to Recover the Arts

by Philip Graham Ryken (Author)

This one is not an art and worship one but I love Don Miller's books.

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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

by Donald Miller (Author)


Virgin Mary and Christ Child - live painting

"The Virgin Mary and Christ" -- by Richard Fudge 2009
Painted live at Resurrection Catholic Church in Memphis, TN

I got quite a few questions regarding the faces. "Is the painting done?" Was the primary question. Yes, the painting is finished. I purposely made the faces blank. First, we dont know how Mary looked exactly. Second, I think its important that the view be allowed to project the faces and features of this piece. Each of us will have a different picture in our mind of Mary. Also, if the faces are blank, it allows the painting to have more expression. You can see what you need to see. Do you need comfort? Then maybe her expression is compassionate to you.