Monday, April 15, 2013

Interview: Matt Appling (Author of Life After Art)

One of my favourite Christian bloggers is Matt Appling (from The Church of No People). His writing is the right kind of provocative- he says the things that need to be said about Christian culture and life in general in a way that gets you thinking. Matt has recently put his talents to good use writing his new book Life After Art. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

For readers who don’t know about you, what’s a few interesting things about yourself? 

 Well, I'm an art teacher with a seminary degree, a pastor who supports himself in the classroom. I'm an art teacher, pastor and writer, and my wife and I live with our two dogs in Kansas City. If you don't know where that it is, we're right in the middle. Every weatherman in America stands right in front of Kansas City as they gesture around on the map.

 How would you sum up Life After Art in a sentence or two?

 Life After Art is a journey, not toward becoming an "artist" per se, but more human. These are all of the spiritual truths that I discovered were waiting for me to relearn when I stepped into the art classroom as a teacher. How has art changed you the most? Art has always been a love of mine. I was always a child artist, and there's some little anecdotes in the book about how art has intersected with my life. I think with writing the book, I've realized just what a metaphor art and creativity is for the rest of our lives. I don't want to give too much away, but to me, "creativity" is much more than just making pretty pictures.

 What do you think the most common misconceptions about art and creativity in the church are? 

For some reason, a whole lot of the church is removed from art, and vice verse. Maybe it's because art isn't always need and concrete, with definite boundaries and lessons. But I think the wedge has been driven deeper by a belief that art is not for everyone. We put it in the hands of a few elite people while the rest of us sit back. We do the same with our spirituality as a whole. A few are qualified to preach and pray and serve while the majority sit silently, feeling that they cannot do the same.

What would you say to people who don’t think they are artistic or creative types? 

You are in the majority. When I talk to people who aren't happy with their jobs or some part of their lives, I ask what kinds of creative pursuits do they engage in, and the answer is almost always that they aren't "creative." Creating isn't something that just a few of us get to do. It's what we were made to do! It's something you deserve to do. It's not a contest. You don't have to turn whatever you do into a business. Just do something!

What creative mediums do you most enjoy working with? 

When I was in high school, I did a lot of painting. In college, I fell in love with graphic design. And in my later 20s, writing became my creative outlet. I've probably poured 450,000 words into my blog over four years!

You can get Life After Art  at Amazon, Book Depository or other stores with good taste in books. You can read more from Matt at his blog The Church of No People..