I have been asked to describe my blog and what I write about. I thought it was pretty obvious, but for the sake of those just joining in: I write about the things God shares with me as I read the scriptures. I use these blog entries as a way of remembering where I have come from and what has been revealed to me. If I remember correctly, we are commanded to remember what The Lord has done, and to tell our children.
I was asked by several people why I blog. I have found many things on the internet that have at one time or another strengthened my faith, or challenged my beliefs, or caused a paradigm shift in how I view/ed a topic. God created and God gave. In being reborn into a new nature we become givers. This blog is one way I give back that which has been so freely given to me.
I have been asked why I haven’t been posting much lately. Good question. I have been spending my precious free-time in the free speech art movement, which is pretty funny considering, it is not so much a movement as it is a return to basic constitutional law. In a nutshell: when I paint a painting, write an article or book, write a song, make a movie, dance, perform, print photos, or create a sculpture, I am expressing something and attempting to convey an idea. Exactly like speaking my mind. In fact, the 9th district Federal Court has held that my work as an artist is protected under the first amendment. The key to remembering how to distinguish free speech protected work and other stuff, like crafting for instance, is that protected speech is completely useless – it has no other intended purpose other than to express an idea. If I paint a painting on a canvas, I have ruined a perfectly good canvas by smearing colored grease on it. If I paint that same image on a t-shirt, it would not be protected, because you could wear the t-shirt. A t-shirt has a dual purpose. The cool thing is that the law has already been established and the definitions have already been written, I am merely involved in making sure the law is being applied properly and that people understand their rights. A byproduct to all this is that the 9th Circuit has upheld that an artists right to sell his or her work is fully protected under the constitution, and artists are not required to obtain a business license or a state tax id in order to sell their original or collaborative works. Thanks to Nevada’s Art in the Park Bill, artists are encouraged to come out and do/sell art in the State parks with little to no hinderance by the Park Service. It is because of this law that I was able to set up at the Candy Dance in Genoa for the past two years without having to pay anything. That is not to say that I didn’t pay anything, I still paid for parking, paid for food/drink and donated 10% of all proceeds to Mormon Station State Park. During the Candy Dance, many people came up and yelled things at me because I was standing in a “Free Speech” zone. The “Free Speech” zone is not actually a place to yell at the top of your lungs about government and/or your hatred of the scab artists set up in it… The “Free Speech” zone is the one place where my rights as an artist don’t stop just because someone rented out the park. In other words, the “Free Speech” zone is a protected space where artistic people are free to engage in their protected rights of “speaking” with the public and possibly even being paid for that speech.
Finally I have been asked why I bother with the “free speech art” thing. I like to paint, and I like to talk to people. I paint paintings of things inspired by scripture, inspired by visions I believe are from God, and as a form of worship. With every painting I produce, I attempt to express some form of spiritual truth in my own private worship of God. When I am out in the public and on the streets of Carson City, Reno or elsewhere I get to share my worship with others. Sometimes I get to talk about what the paintings mean, and sometimes the conversation is just about the colors or technique. I attempt to let God direct the conversation through His Holy Spirit. While being outside, I have met countless artists who would never walk through the doors of my church – but we have been developing relationships. In effect, art is the bridge God is using to bring more glory to Jesus Christ in my life. So in order to continue reaching people and carrying on a dialogue with the community I literally have to fight for the rights of my fellow artists.