A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

by

Charles White

___________________________________________

 

A picture is worth a thousand words. If this is true, then the artwork of Stephen Sawyer speaks volumes about the Christian faith. His pieces are modern religious icons that offer the believer an existential connection with The Divine. However, Stephen is not content to wall himself off in his studio and garner accolades. He is a man of action in and out of the studio that takes the call of The Great Commission very seriously.

 

Stephen Sawyer has had a passion for painting running through his veins for many years. Although interested in art since he was young, he never thought he would become a professional artist because it was and still is difficult for someone to make a living at this vocation.

 

After spending several years as a professional portrait artist, Stephen decided to turn his skills towards sharing his faith in Christ. In 1995, Stephen created ART for GOD, an organization dedicated to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through stunning visual representations.

 

“My commitment and mission is to accurately reflect the life and teachings of Jesus in the 21 Century,” Stephen’s website explains.  “...to show the eternal Master, Jesus of Nazareth, in a way that depicts His holiness, kindness, humility, unselfish love, strength, beauty, and His eternal relationship with us in this present moment. People need to remember Jesus laughing and Jesus smiling. Contemporary Christian Art has a huge responsibility and ART for GOD accepts that challenge.”

 

In many respects, Stephen’s artwork serves as a visual sermon offering viewers an opportunity to encounter Christ and his message in a different medium. For a society that is used to experiencing most of life through television, radio and movies, Art for God offers a unique way to spread the Gospel message.

 

“It is a silent witness,” Sawyer explained. “It gives people the opportunity to contemplate in a deep way. You don’t have to plug it in, turn it on and adjust the volume. It is there…it is always there.”

 

What would cause a successful portrait artist to focus his time and talents towards God? For Stephen Sawyer, the answer to this question is easy.

 

“If you have the opportunity to take your talent and devote it to the kingdom of God, then your art becomes really important,” Stephen explained. “This is my opportunity to follow The Great Commission and that is why my art has become so important. When you find out that somebody has actually turned that corner and is now facing God instead of facing away from Him because of the impact of your work, then it makes all the difference in the world.”

 

His efforts to follow The Great Commission don’t simply begin and end with the creation of magnificent works of art. Unlike many other artists, Stephen spends a great deal of time outside of his studio speaking to churches, youth groups, conventions and schools. Since 1995, Stephen has shared his story both in the United States and throughout the world in countries such as China, England and Germany.

 

 “It is so important to really know people,” Stephen explains. “I’m trying to make ART for GOD a very real experience by personally being part of many relationships with people around the world. I don’t hide in my studio; I hit the pavement.”

 

Throughout his years as a professional artist, Stephen has won numerous awards for his artwork. In addition, his lithographs can be found in over 100 countries throughout the world and have been featured on NBC’s Today Show. Despite all of this, Stephen remains quite humble. Joy, for Stephen has nothing to do with awards or sales. Instead, it has every thing to do with family and service to God.

 

“My entire family exhibits the presence of God in their lives and all of them either are working for ART for GOD or have worked for ART for GOD, even my 8 year old daughter,” Stephen proudly relates. “They bring me closer to God and they ground me. God himself brings me the most joy, but how do I experience that joy? I experience that joy most because of my family.”

 

Stephen’s journey in Christ has taken him to many places and taught him many lessons. When asked to share some of this wisdom with youth and young adults, Stephen offered this simple observation:

“Go and do what you must but always remember that all of your choices and all of your decisions are made in the presence of God. The things of the world have to be known and experienced first to be appreciated and/or loved, but the things of God have to be loved first in order to become real.”

There is no doubt that Stephen Sawyer is an amazing painter on par with many of the modern American masters. What is truly amazing is that instead of trying to attain accolades or pursue commercial success, Stephen has used his talent to communicate his love of Christ to believers and non-believers throughout the world. What Stephen has become is nothing short of a visual preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and an embodiment of His message.

 

For more information on ART for GOD please visit Stephen Sawyer’s website at:  

www.art4god.com

 *** Photos and artwork courtesy of Art4God.com