The brilliant Kevin Strickland and Tyler Barnes blessed me with their time and energy to make this small window into my life. With the love and support of our amazing friend and producer Linda Parisi.
The Human Condition and its relationships from individual to individual are the most interesting of things to me. The desire to know and be known, on a human level, and also on a spiritual level, has intrigued me my entire life. The often overlooked and over-familiarized stories in the Judeo-Christian scriptures are not only so full of the richest stories of humanity but they are a deep well of lives entangled together in brutally honest and sometimes horrible stories. We are used to the sanitized versions of these stories made palatable for Sunday School class or anecdotal virtue lessons, but by looking closely at them, by digging into them and extracting the stuff to make images I get a better understanding of my faith and a glimpse, maybe, of God and the desire we both have to be known. By, as it were, bringing forth images from these places I find a sense of struggle and satisfaction only surpassed by my wife and I raising our children.
When I think about Creation I think about man being made in the image and likeness of God. I think of how He made us and breathed into us and we became something that wasn't before. How special we are. By His bringing forth from nothing He Blessed creation. By His making and blessing Man and Woman to live in His Paradise, He also blessed our involvement within His creation. By man’s transgression, we were subject to the corruption which our closeness to God had saved us from.
We remember the Incarnation. God joined himself to our flesh in order to renew the image of God in us. We remember His baptism in which, not himself, but the Jordan and all of creation was made clean. And under all of those things, I remember that although He was God and could have revealed himself in any other way he came as a child, born of a virgin, and became a carpenter.
Having worked with wood for most of my life I have often wondered why Jesus was a carpenter. It is really hard and beautiful to work with wood. I have always appreciated the simplicity of Christ working with his hands in a shop. Carving wood from the very trees He had spoken into existence. One day while speaking with my wife’s uncle about the beauty and wisdom that craftsmen have, it suddenly struck me that in His very occupation He was telling us the Story. He was whispering the Gospel to us in His daily job. Think of how a carpenter receives the wood. A once living, growing, flowering, and fruiting thing that has been cut down. That is now dead and in His loving hands hewn and shaped into something again lovely and useful, something which now has new life. If it had been left alone in the forest, where it fell, it would simply be drawn back into the ground.
I think that is my calling as an artist. To be a “partaker of the divine nature” which finds joy in the struggle and beauty in the creating.