One of the most enjoyable aspects of creating art is having the ability to insert minor nuances throughout the piece, knowing the objective they serve and their personal meaning. If artists didn’t create visual pieces that didn’t include their own flare, purpose, or intellect, art would not be nearly as distinct or powerful. Many people can make something that looks cool, but what does it mean? Does it serve a purpose? What is it trying to tell us about our world and society? There’s certainly a place for art that doesn’t naturally communicate anything inherently, but with the Engage Art Contest, we are honing in on Art with a Purpose.

Here’s an example from a famous piece of visual art that you have probably come across at some point in your education years or from visiting museums that have copies. The Scream.  Concerning the background story behind this painting, “Edward Munch’s ‘The Scream’ is the name given to describe each of four versions created by the Expressionist artist. In one of the entries in his diary dated 22 January 1892, Munch described the inspiration behind the art. He wrote, ‘One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.”

Known as one of the most expensive, popular and beautiful pieces of art ever made, understanding even the tiniest bit of backstory concerning the painting creates a more profound bond and connection with the feelings emulated and expressed. Through the Engage Art Contest, we are focusing on the Biblical topic of the Full Armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:10-20 below to get the full picture of our focus:

“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

When reading this passage, what kind of emotion does that draw out of you? What visuals enter your imagination? Think about these things when you are crafting your visual art, music or video. The Bible comes alive when you think of what this passage is communicating and how it can be interpreted artistically. By creating art with a purpose, The Engage Art Contest is constructing a creative space for artists just like you to make amazing pieces that speak to its audience in powerful and meaningful ways.

We hope that you will take the time to rest in these verses and insert its ideas into your visual art, music or video in creative ways that can spark a conversation, change someone’s perspective and engage with our society. You do not need to make the next “Mona Lisa” or “The Scream” to have an impact. Reflect on this passage as you consider what you will create during the Engage Art Contest and download our app to stay spiritually nourished and read more inspiring articles to keep you motivated.