The church needs the arts, not so there will be opportunities for more artists in churches, but for the sake of the gospel, says the artist and founder of the International Arts Movement.
Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Ill.
“Charis-Kairos (The Tears of Christ).”
Taken from “The Four Holy Gospels,” illuminated by Makoto Fujimura, © 2011.
May 10, 2011 | Chances are if you’ve heard others use the expression “It’s like watching paint dry,” you’ve assumed they meant that something was boring.
But that’s not the case for Makoto Fujimura, an artist and the founder of the International Arts Movement (IAM), a nonprofit that encourages artists to wrestle with questions of art, faith and humanity through workshops, lectures and performances.
He finds watching paint dry fascinating -- so much so that he has even videotaped it. “There’s something about it that is very generative for me, that makes me come alive,” said Fujimura, who moved from Japan to the United States when he was 13 and was drawn to visual communication as he learned English.
He paints using the traditional Japanese technique Nihonga, and his paintings have been exhibited at galleries around the world, from the Dillon Gallery in New York to the Contemporary Museum of Tokyo. His latest work is “The Four Holy Gospels,” an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels published by Crossway in January to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.
Fujimura became a Christian while completing a master of fine arts degree at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and was named World magazine’s “Daniel of the Year” in 2005. A former elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and a founding elder at The Village Church, he is the author of a memoir, “River Grace,” and a collection of essays, “Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture.”
Fujimura spoke with Faith & Leadership about the function of art, the International Arts Movement, and the “Four Holy Gospels” project. The following is an edited transcript.