Art & Faith
Journal entry: August 25th, 2019
I recently spoke with a lead writer at a studio that soured my stomach. During this interview the writer asked me how I became interested in the world of animation. I mentioned to them an incredibly cliff notes version of; growing up homeless and how libraries and churches were my healthy sanctuaries that pulled me out of my circumstances. I explained that there is often three assumptions people have about the children that are watching a kids show.
That they're receiving three meals a day.
That they have a roof over their heads.
And finally that they have parents that are looking out for their safety.
These are three things that I can unequivocally say I didn't have consistently growing up. That I was often hungry and seldom could I rely on having three meals a day, that I was often homeless and that my parents we're not looking out for my safety.
I continued in this interview to express how libraries gave me a window into my imagination and how animation, along with my animation heroes really gave me a safe way to dream. Animation represents that freedom and that power to me.
Well as if from complete left field this writer zeroes in on how they're convinced that there's really no way they could see us getting along because I'm a Christian! I was taken back by this statement. They continued to say that since I was a Christian they thought I was incapable of clicking with them or their team. Here I was clearly being openly judged for my faith. You see I have deeply sincere friendships and colleagues that range from all sorts of religious and non religious backgrounds. And I wasn't sharing any particulars about my faith outside that when I was a homeless kid churches helped me. Because last I checked libraries don't usually run a food bank or soup kitchen or shelter beside their doors. Churches help people! Plain and simple. You don't have to prescribe to their point of view but that's what they do. Churches, synagogues, temples and mosques and beyond are big on feeding and taking care of the homeless.
Yet this writer wouldn't let up. They insisted that because of my Christian faith that I was unfit to mix with their own point of views and incapable of fitting in. Now granted this writer and the company they represented was from another country than the great United States of America. Perhaps where they're from they don't believe in the freedom of religion. I wasn't pushing my faith down anyone's throat I was just answering a very personal question in a very personal way.
Here's the thing at my company I'm not pushy about my faith. While I have the right to voice my opinion I invite friends and colleagues to disagree with me. I'm not going to ever look at differences as reasons to disqualify a creative partnership. Difference are really what make amazing work. Ultimately if you've had an experience be that good or bad that's your valid experience and I'm not threatened by people seeing the world another way. However I'm never going to ask someone to water down their convictions.
I'll never work with an industry that I morally disagree with. For example if your business is involved in the sex industry in any capacity I'm gonna bow out. No thanks I'm not interested. If your business promotes the lack of the sanctity of life or is about removing humans rights to life, or is overtly hateful or racist I'm not interested either. I say overtly because some see disagreements as hateful when perhaps people just disagree, no malice is intended. Truth is brands and companies are made up of people. We all have prejudices and biases, it's just part of being human. Until we're evolved into emotionless robots we'll always have blinders. And if there's certain nuances to a creative partnership that doesn't really work I'll graciously bow out. You don't need to click with everyone. But if you're a Christian you're welcome to work with me! If you're a person of faith or not a person of faith you're always welcome to work with me as well!!! Sure their might be some projects that you may not be an ideal candidate for the work. But I'm not gonna shy away from the reality of faith! I'm here to learn and be respectful.
While yes I know what I believe I don't have an agenda. Jesus loved people for who they are and that's what I think a true Christian should be about. You can be an atheist or anything in between that's your freedom to do so. But if we're gonna work together we need to respect eachothers differences.
Lastly I find this souring encounter so puzzling that someone would consider themselves an artist and have such an aversion to faith. When the lion's share of art and art history involves stories of faith. From all cultures across time stories of faith while often called myths have endured. Without faith inspired works I'm convinced your art museums of the world would be very empty.
I ended my interview with this writer with the following: I said " you know I wouldn't imagine you would like to feel like you're being judged by your faith, or gender or color of your skin". They paused for a moment and slowly started to take in what they had previously said. Then went off to make silly comparisons about what they thought all Americans believed. It was honestly a blessing in disguise. We shouldn't feel pressured to work with people that think they're so open minded they can't respect someone with a different world view.
Don't compromise your integrity because sometimes as artists that's often the most authentic thing we can share. Thanks for following along.