Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stephen S. Sawyer is a nationally recognized Christian portrait artist. Stephen Sawyer was born in August of 1952 in Paris Kentucky. Sawyer is an American artist widely known for his unique and sometimes homoerotic visual interpretations of Jesus Christ, as well as for his business, "Art For God". His work has been featured in many magazines, over 400 newspapers such as the full front page of The New York Times, and news shows such as The Today Show. Since 1995, Sawyer has traveled to several locations in America and occasionally other countries sharing his testimonyStephen Sawyer started a business named "Art for God" in Versailles, Kentucky, where he resides. The first year of business Art for God only brought in three thousand dollars of business. Mister Sawyer has five children and a wife. To support them he did a lot of miscellaneous jobs, one Christmas he even drove a UPS truck. His wife, Cindy, never asked him to get a "real job" her belief in his artistic value is overwhelming to some. Cindy married Stephen the day after she turned eighteen and now thirty years later, she is still his biggest fan!

He chose Jesus of Nazareth as his primary subject for his artistic expressions. His spiritual art honors and also reflects the life and the teachings of Jesus Christ in a unique and over powering way, no matter if the setting is out of the New Testament setting or a more modern one. . It doesn't matter how Sawyer paints Jesus it is the same merciful love for all humanity of God that shows through.

I was taken in awe by Sawyer's painting "Silent Night Crucifixion", pictured above. The look on Jesus' face is what struck me at first. He looks angry and like He is in a dark world. His eyes are almost blackened out as if there is no soul in them. The firm look on Jesus' face is almost frightening. The artist says that this look is because of the sins Jesus was taking on as He died.
The artist’s explanation of the painting; My use of dark colors gives this painting a particularly dark, ominous and even morbid feeling, reminding us of the significance of the crucifixion. The lighter blue colors and stars in the background can be seen as a glimmer of hope, foreshadowing the glorious resurrection that was to come. At that time, the Son may have cried out, as is explained in Matthew27:45-46. One thing is for sure. We have no capacity to appreciate the utterly horrific experience of having the sins of the world put upon the Lord Jesus as He hung, in excruciating pain, from that cross. The physical pain must of been immense. The spiritual pain, must have been even greater.
Sawyer wanted to go beyond the pain and the sufferings from the beating Jesus accepted before His crucifixion. Sawyer wanted us to see the pain Jesus suffered when all the sins of the world was thrust upon His soul. We can tell this because there is no blood coming from the crown of thorns on Jesus' head and we do not observe any of the painful cuts and bruises we see in other paintings of Jesus on the cross, painted by other artists..
When I first looked at this painting, I thought it was during the darkening time during the crucifixion, mentioned in Matthew 27: 45-46. Then as I studied this piece of art, I came to the conclusion, it was not about that time. If you look closely there are stars out in the background. If it had been the darkening time we would not of been able to see them. The darkness would of over taken even Jesus' being.
When Jesus cried out to His Father or our God, asking Him why He had forsaken Him. I think that Jesus may have been quoting from Psalms 22:1, where the psalmist wrote, "My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me...
We hear of the sins of the world being piled on Jesus in II Corinthians 5:21 and in I Peter 2, both verses say, I am combining and evaluating these verses, that He (Jesus) bare our sins, so that we (sinners) might be made righteous in God through Jesus!


1 comment:

  1. As the artist, I find it sadly disturbing when others write things and say it is a quote or statement from me.

    Here is what I wrote about the piece "Silent Night".

    "There is great beauty in self-sacrifice. I have no morbid fascination with the murder of Jesus Christ but I cannot continue to present the loving kindness and unselfish joy of God in my art without keeping a real place in my heart that is reminded of this tragedy when the simple joys of Sonship with God were so brutally ended. I love God. I love what Jesus said and did to give us truth, hope and joy."

    "I do not advocate choosing God or Jesus out of guilt or fear and there is no real relationship if one is a slave. The truth of Sonship forever releases humanity from presenting itself before a loving God as a mere servant. The highest levels of service can only be attained through a loving relationship as a friend of God and as a child of God."

    "The greatest tragedy of Jesus crucifixion is not his death but the persistent avoidance of His life, the living example of how God wants us to treat each other and the living example of how we can joyfully know and serve a living God that has created this magnificent well-nigh infinite and eternal universe in which we live."

    "Silent Night is dedicated to Jesus of Nazareth, the only hero I have ever had, the only God I will ever serve."