It's time to announce the next step in growing our community and our organization: the official Catholic Creatives Patreon.
I love Cameron Smith's work. It's a marriage of surrealist and realistic inspirations, patterns and figures, bright and subdued colors, and modern and classical expression. This kind of this is often done in Graphic design where images are easily cut from backgrounds and patterns are easily layered, but I've never seen someone combine so many seemingly disparate contrasts in single fine art paintings. Cameron Smith does it with such tactile beauty that it makes me want to put down the mouse and pick up a brush.
I thought it fitting to post this as we conclude the Easter octave, looking forward to our own resurrection. What a beautiful belief, that we profess as Catholics, that the body is not a thing we have, but it is us, and it is good. I feel the goodness of the body in Cameron's painting. This is the kind of art we need to be making, the kind that expresses the goodness and beauty of truth in a way that can be touched and experienced by the world.
Here's another one of Cameron's paintings for your inspiration. Thanks for creating this week! Keep on it brother!
We believe that the Holy Spirit is bringing a new Renaissance about in the Church in art, creativity, beauty, and innovation. The Spirit is calling us as a Church to move away from a defensive posture to an offensive one, and in order to do that He’s creating community, infrastructure, and support systems for the leaders, artists, creators, and innovators. Catholic Creatives is a part of that movement.
This Community Needs You
Catholic Creatives need support not just online but real, in-person community. That’s why we are looking for leaders to help host regional CC events. We want to build you up as missionaries to this community and give you the resources you need to be effective in your city, because only out of thriving community can a New renaissance be birthed. To that end, we’ve compiled some of the lessons we’ve learned over the last year as our community has grown, so we made this guide to give you what you need.
First, let’s start with who we are.
What is Catholic Creatives?
Primarily this group’s primary purpose is to build a support community for creatives. We do that by
- Supporting and Encouraging each other
- Fostering Collaboration
- Encouraging a Culture of Honest Critique
- Broaching Taboo Topics,
- Killing Sacred Cows (obstacles to good media/art/business)
- Giving our members a platform to speak to the larger community.
How do the Regional Events fit into our vision?
CC exists to build a community where artists/makers & innovators find belonging. That’s why in everything we do, we always take the utmost care in inviting people to our events who match our values and who would contribute to each other. When someone takes on the role of hosting a regional Catholic Creatives event, they essentially become a curator of our regional community. Regional communities are the places we see the greatest ideas, collaborations, and businesses grow out of because proximity matters. Eventually, we would love to see regional groups living together in community, working together in coworking spaces, and building their own economy together. The regional events are beyond important for us as a community, so let’s do them intentionally.
Currently, there are two kinds of CC regional events, the Hangout and the Meetup.
Happy Hour, informal, 2-3 hour event. Can be at a bar, during a larger event or anywhere alcohol or coffee is readily available. The hangout is a great way to start the ball rolling with a regional community.
Half design sprint, half party, the meetup is an awesome half day community builder hosted at an event space or a members house. In a CC Meetup, the leadership selects a problem that the group will brainstorm on. They will lead the group through the design sprint process and after the event, write up a case study on their discoveries.
The guiding principle for both:
Exclusivity has always been a hallmark of Catholic Creatives. This does not mean that we are Elitists. Creativity is not owned by designers and artists. Anyone can be a Catholic Creative, but not everyone is. We curate the community because we cannot be everything to everyone. The needs of the Catholic Creative are unique and therefore a community geared towards them must be created as a safe space of belonging for them.
This Means That:
Every CC event must be exclusive. People can only invite their friends if they clear them with the admins first.
How to Curate:
When you invite people to into your regional events or into regional online groups, always default to a smaller group of the right people rather than a larger group with the wrong people mixed in.
So who are the people you’re looking for?
Catholic artists, creators, ministers, & entrepreneurs who express their Catholic worldview through their medium, whether that is a canvas or a business. Look for talent, an entrepreneurial outlook, and charisma.
Who is this group not for?
- Domineering people who take over conversations and don't leave space for others.
If a person needs a ton of work to host, doesn't understand social cues in a big way, and takes over conversations, they might not be the right person.
- Hobbyists - People who don’t really value creativity and aren’t pursuing excellence in it.
To a hobbyist, art might be entertainment or a nice thing to have, but not a critical need.
- Self-promoters. This community is only safe if the people in the group are all contributors.
Host a Hangout
If your city hasn’t had a hangout, start there.
You don’t need our permission to have a hangout, but it would be good to for us to know when you’re doing one so that we can help you and hear how it went after.
Create a private facebook event, use our branding to create any design elements needed, and start inviting people. Know that you will have to reach out to people individually if you want to be successful. A post inside of the CC facebook group is generally not enough.
Host A Meetup
Once a hangout has been successful, let’s set up a google hangout and talk strategy for putting on your first meetup.
A meetup will require the following:
- A problem to solve (Ie. The Ugly Church Bulletin, The Vatican Website...etc)
- A creative space
- Food & Drink
- Someone to lead the design sprint
- Design sprint materials (post-its, sharpies, wall posters)
Meetups are a blast and always lead to a much deeper community than hangouts, but they require more planning. The good news is that we're here to help, so get in touch with us and we’ll help you set it up.
You are welcome to use our fonts and design elements as needed.
Want to get in touch about hosting a regional event?
A while back my son just sort of yells across the living room without warning or prompting:
"Dad, what does 'messiah' mean? - Kolbe
"Me in my mind: Where do I begin? ... Do I jump to Judaism? That would make sense... do I hand him my Scott Hahn collection? Too early... ]
No... like any good dad with a wifi connection, I turn to YouTube. We then proceed to spend about 45 minutes sitting on the couch together, me and my little 4 year old son watching these videos and talking about what was uncovered. Mostly we talked about what he saw, not so much what he heard in the narraration.
"Is that solider a bad guy or a good guy?"
"Is that guy an angel?"
"Can we go to that castle (the temple) sometime, maybe this summer?"
Kolbe just needed to see it first, and I think part of me did too.
Enter the The Bible Project, Creation of the Week and a Portland based non-profit crowd funded creative studio. It's been great to see the group progress from the early videos to the most recently published ones, and to see the quality constantly increase, and the willingness to try new things pay off with each new graphic venture. Everything they make they give away for free, though if you offer your dollar bills I'm certain they won't turn them down. This creation of the week is really dozens of "creations" that are summarized in this one post. Mostly the following:
- Theme videos (holiness, image of God, Kingdom of God, Dozens of others on YouTube)
- Animated short films (Wisdom, Torah)
- Print Materials (A few dozen large format posters)
The work really stands on it's own (see screen captures of the animated films below) and needs little in the way of explaining. It is just top to bottom thoroughly engaging and rooted in the narrative arcs of scripture. It's well worth your time to sit, watch, and then share these videos.
The videos have been personally helpful to me because there is a significant gap between what my 4 year old can glean from his "kid bibles" and my Ignatius Press "full bible". And if we are being honest, they help kick start us into reading and loosen whatever grip lethargy may have on our hearts and minds. That's what engaging works of art do, they clue us in to something of the clarity of the truth, something that may not be as readily expressible with words, or certainly not in the say way that an image can. With hundreds of instantly made and intuitively felt design decisions layered on top of one another to produce an affect that washes over the viewer, works of art like these operate on a different level that that of those who deal in words.
All of these resources mix an exceptionally high level of production quality, with what seem to be a fairly open and approachable theological bent. The printed material is also all free and super high quality. Dig it. Download any and all of the artwork, and if you can support the effort.
The best part of this CoTW is that it has given me cause to return to these books to be able to enter into these stories anew. I hope it will result in the same for you.
This Creation of the Week is by Christopher Duffel, architect, father, and sharer of wisdom.
The Catholic Woman is a ministry that seeks to illustrate the many faces and vocations of Catholic women. They publish letters group members write to one another every week.
Check out this video they did on Artistry & Motherhood. IT'S SO GOOD.
I love this ministry for many reasons. Their design is beautiful and smart, their content is so vulnerable, their Facebook and Instagram are active and incredibly consistent. These are all hard things to pull off for any ministry and they make The Catholic Woman stand apart, but these reasons aren't why I love what they are doing. It goes much deeper than that.
Why I Love TCW
I can't write this feature from the standpoint that many of you could. I can only write from my own experience as a man growing up in a Church that I felt didn't understand me. It took a long time for me to find my place with Her. I believe gender is one of the most difficult topics for any of us to touch on because our deepest wounds lie in deep recesses of our identity as men and women. Our scars, the lies the evil one speaks over us, tend to tie themselves to our conceptions not of ourselves as people, but ourselves as a man or a woman.
When I was in high school, I thought I wanted to be a priest and applied to be a seminarian for the Diocese of Dallas. I was rejected because I wasn't "pastoral enough," that is to say that I was clearly not going to grow up to be a docile bank manager. I challenged authority, pushed the boundaries of acceptable behavior wherever I was and did not have a diplomatic bone in my body. Throughout my life, I've been diagnosed, medicated, scolded punished for my boyness. In my mind, this diocesan vocations committee brought all of the weight of the Magisterium to bear in its prognosis of my lack of a "pastoral disposition"
When I finally was accepted and sent to St. John Vianney seminary, I found a Church that had an entirely different image of Masculinity that I was compelled to pursue. "The Vianney man," as they say, was clearly German. He was on time, he was disciplined, he read St. Thomas Aquinas, had played football or baseball in high school, and never displayed emotion in public. He was some strange Frankenstein of the ideal red-blooded American male and JPII's theology of the body. He was all of these things, but most of all, he was not me, and I knew it the second I was fraternally corrected for singing too high during mass because we all know that if you sing a high C you are probably just waiting for the right time to come out of the closet.
The point I'm making is that we all have felt at times like we've had to hide who we really are in order to fit some idealized image of what our gender should look like. I love the way God has called me to manhood, but the road that got me here has been long, winding, and riddled with potholes. Often times, what I needed the most on the journey was simply to be told that I belonged.
That's why I'm so grateful for what Corynne is doing with The Catholic Woman. Even if she isn't intending to minister to me, she has simply by offering everyone who comes to her site to freedom to be where they are at. Thank you Corynne, thank you for your beautiful ministry. Keep it up.
by Marcellino D'Ambrosio,
One of those crazy Catholic Creatives
I have to confess that this project is one that I had a hand in. Anthony Kaiser, the head hancho over there in the Y&YA office of Tulsa asked our agency (Sherwood Fellows) to help rebrand Totus Tuus Oklahoma in a hurry. As soon as I got off the phone, I hit up Daniella Madriz because she's amazing and we went for it. The end product was not only a killer look, but a much more profound understanding of what makes Totus Tuus special. Take a look through this brand guide that Daniella created to show the client how to use the brand.
The goal of this rebranding was to attract more prospective teachers and give them the sense that Totus Tuus is a legitimate way to spend a summer in building the kingdom. The twelve stars are the stars of Mary pointing at the crown of Christ. The brand relies heavily on blues and golds to tie in the Marian theme subtly. Daniella kills it all the time, but this was such a slam dunk I had to put it out there.
Hat's off to Anthony Kaiser over there for leading the charge in getting Totus Tuus rebranded. I hope that more Dioceses follow your lead so that the program grows. Next, hopefully someone will make a website for Totus Tuus that I'm not embarrased to link to.
Let's face it. The Church is no longer the great Patroness of the Arts. She doesn't have the same reach and scope she once did at the time of the Renaissance. Yet the world's need for her influence has not lessened over the centuries; if anything, the desire for tangible beauty is greatest now in facing the wave of nominalism coursing through millennial culture. To answer this desperation, the Church needs to blaze new trails for the gospel to pass into the hearts and minds of this new generation.
This is why the Church needs new DaVincis, Mozarts, Michelangelos, and Beethovens. This is why it needs aesthetically and philosophically articulate creative leaders, artists, and risk-takers: to recast the gospel message as surprising, attractive, beautiful, sublime, and, above all, relevant. The time is ripe for a New Renaissance, a counter-wave of beauty (as an antithesis to nominalism) that can place the gospel back in the center of a cultural dialogue.
But unfortunately, there are few places within the Church where creatives feel a sense of belonging. For the Catholic creative, the secular artistic community cannot wholly be home; there we are often quietly or not-so-quietly chastised for our archaic religious leanings. And yet, in the church they love, Catholic creatives find themselves again displaced as they recognize the Church’s lack of emphasis on innovation and cultural relevance. Furthermore, the Church’s culture, at least in America, hesitates to embrace the weird, the edgy, the rebellious, or the skeptic, all of which are traits that creatives especially manifest. A blue-haired, inked-up graphic designer feels far less a freak at a sketchy concert venue than walking around a Newman Center. Classics majors, steeped in traditions of philosophy and art, find themselves out of place at parishes where mediocre 70s folk and saccharine preaching are standard.
Community is essential for creatives. Community is essential for Catholics. Community is essential for human beings. Thus the Catholic Creatives movement was very reasonably formed to assemble all those who affiliate with that trio of demographics. We want to create an open place to collaborate with other individuals like ourselves who pursue the very important work of being creative within, for, or adjacent to the Church.
That is why this movement was sparked, and why creatives from all over the world are gathering in Dallas, March 23rd–26th, to talk about creating a New Renaissance in creativity and culture. For more information, visit www.ccsummit.xyz.
Finally, consider the following:
There is a group that posts the same picture of Jeff Goldblum every day. (It’s called The Same Picture of Jeff Goldblum Every Day because of course it is, this is the internet.) There are Facebook groups for the cute-animal-obsessed, for tracking current events, for lifestyle and health support, for science enthusiasts, and many many many for meme aficionados. Point being, our generation has looked to the digital space more and more to connect with the like minded peers around the world. Our definitions and approach to community have evolved with the dawn of a well-connected global society.
So Catholic Creatives has an online community. We have a Facebook group and a Slack channel and an email newsletter and a blog. We have in-person meetups where we brainstorm solutions to issues in the Church. We have a annual summit where we can come together for real human conversations. But all of these are a part of a greater movement taking place in the Church towards a new culture of art, innovation, and creativity. And that's somewhere we can all belong.
We get asked a lot about stock photography, free graphics, and other items. Someday we dream of creative a stock photography site specifically for Catholic stock photos and graphics, but until then here are some resources that many of us in the group use a lot. So, whether you're a professional graphic designer or a volunteer learning on the fly, we all can use a little help & inspiration.
FIRST: Putting it All Together
While being inspired & having great photos is important. BEFORE you set off on a spirit quest to find all these resources, take time to familiarize yourself with basic communications principles. There is no better place to do that for church communications than through Brady Shearer at Pro Church Tools. There's an incredible website, podcast, social media presence and more you need to familiarize yourself with:
Royalty Free artistic photography. They have single handily made the internet more beautiful.
Sign up to receive a free photo of the week
Super high quality real-life images
High quality, categorized photos
eCatholic Churches Stock Photos
Solid generic photos for Catholic Church imagery
Cory is a fantastic Catholic graphic designer. He can assist you with your project, or you can check out his work to inspire your own.
Church Marketing Sucks Blog
Great place for inspiration and ideas on how churches are upping their communications game.
Church Marketing Lab
Samples of other churches' work. Utilize the search feature to find inspiration for your designs "Advent" "Youth Ministry", etc. NOTE: Although this group has no longer been moderated, there is a huge archive of designs for you to draw inspiration from!
Amazing graphic designer who offers some sweet freebies!
What are a few of your favorite resources to use for inspiration? Comment below!
The bulletin is THE primary communication tool at the majority of churches around the world. So, let’s make sure people get the message.
Tip #1 - Make Sure Important Information is Visible
One Sunday, a parishioner fell ill and someone needed to call the ambulance. As someone who was helping him on the phone, that person quickly reached for a bulletin to give the operator the address of the Church, but she couldn’t find it! Luckily, someone overheard what was going on and quickly relayed the information - crisis averted - and we learned to make it really EASY to find our contact information.
- Mass Times - (if space allows) add other devotionals like daily Rosary & Adoration - let people know you have an active prayer life in your parish
- Physical Address, Website, & Contact Information & don’t forget social media
- Staff contact information - add a photo next to each member so people connect a name and a face
Not only do you want important information visible, but you want it to be predictable. Be consistent with the layout & placement of these pieces of information so it’s intuitive for people to find and easy to reference.
Tip #2 - Photos, Not Clip Art
A picture is worth a thousand words. Clip art is worth nothing. Here are 3 tips about the types of photos you’re looking for & how to get them:
- Use photos of people - People don’t care about people’s shoes, socks, or pants - use photos that focus on faces
- Focus on faces - When shooting a photo, make sure the camera focuses on a person’s faces, specifically their eyes
- Composition is Key - Google “rule of thirds” - thank me later ;-)
Make a strategy regarding how you want to display pictures:
- When will you use a landscape vs. portrait orientated photo? (Bulletin cover ALWAYS portrait)
- When will you use a stroke, drop shadow (please... never), or none of the above?
Tip #3 - Better Blurbs
The bulletin is a communication tool. While what you are communicating is important, how you are communicating is equally important as well!
- Use headers to grab people’s attention - use a larger & bold font. Make the caption interesting and attention grabbing
- Copy (fancy word for “blurb text”) should be short & sweet - make your text “sizzle”. People don’t get excited about a date, time, & place. They get excited about stories and people. Tell a story in a few short words about what’s going on and why people should get involved
- Make sure there’s always a call to action - This means you want the reader to DO something after he or she reads the “blurb”. Make it clear what you want them to do, and make it easy for them to do it! (make it better: the web is AWESOME for capturing information about how effective your bulletin is. Use QR Codes, short links, and easy to remember URLs to get people to go to specific pages and be able to track their actions.)
BONUS TIP: THE SPREAD
Did you know that most bulletin publishing companies will allow you to SPREAD across the two center pages of your bulletin? Grab a bulletin, check out the very center, it's not glued, it's simply stapled! That means, it's no big deal for the publisher to let your content bleed across that space. ENJOY THE EXTRA ROOM!
I'd love to continue this conversation with you more! Find me at Tom Lelyo in the CC Facebook group or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To see some of my own work on bulletins you can CLICK HERE and check out my flickR album. Most of this work is older, but hopefully still helpful and inspirational for you!
In December 2017, the CC group had a meetup where they discussed Parish Bulletins in depth. To read their in-depth analysis, CLICK HERE.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR OWN TIPS? DO YOU HAVE EXAMPLES OF GREAT BULLETINS? POST THEM BELOW!
Written By: Jesse Weiler
Are you running a Facebook page that has plateaued a little in the likes-per-day category? Here is an easy way to get more likes!
This works for organic posts, boosted posts and targeted ads. I prefer the results that I get through targeted ads, but I'll explain why later.
STEP 1: Find a post of yours that has generated a lot of reactions e.g. likes and loves
STEP 2: Click the number that tells you how many likes your post has acquired and a pop-up will appear with all of their names and information as to weather or not they've liked your page.
STEP 3: Invite that list to like your page. In this case I can invite Krissy, Kathie, and Kris.
That's it! That's all you need to do.
Notice that some are greyed out with text that either says "Liked" or "Invited". This just lets me know if they already like my page or if I've already invited them to like my page. Facebook does limit the amount of invites you can make per day. I maxed out at about 900 invites on my first day trying this. I was allowed to do a few more the next day. You'll have to keep testing it.
There is a type of Facebook ad that lets you pay to get likes, but my option is free and just as effective. It has dramatically increased the number of people who follow our page. We saw a 20% increase in followers over the course of one month from 5,000 to 6,000. It was all thanks to this strategy.
I mentioned earlier that I like to use this specifically for ads and here's where it gets good. Whenever I boost a post and use broad audience descriptors, I do get more likes but, they aren't likes that will likely convert. They are people in the Philippines or India that like almost every post/page they see. Those people are not going to come to The Liturgical Institute for a graduate degree. However, if I target an ad to young adult Catholics in America who are interested in graduate school, I will get a higher conversion rate on those acquired likes.
If you use this strategy correctly, you can gain followers that fit your desired demographic without having to break the bank.
First off, I want to give some mad props to all of the awesome music/video collaborations that have been happening over the last year, but I'm just so pumped by this new trend. The Vigil Project was huge in making that a thing, and I'm excited to see more artist/film maker teams make more of these.
Now can I just talk about how awesome it is to see Fransciscan Friars worshiping with LEGIT original music? A lot of times art that priests and religious make can be over celebrated simply because of the novelty that is associated with a priest making art, which is why "Rising" struck me. I would have loved this song regardless of who wrote it. The lyrics are simple, but profound, the instrumentation is dynamic and open, and the spirit behind it full of worship and intimacy. The fact that it was the CFR's makes it just icing on top instead of the predominate reason for the enjoyment.
Also, it's awesome to see the diversity present in the group. A lot of times our Catholic art can just come off as a bit on the white side. This is just not a problem for the CFR's, is it?
As for the Video, there's just something so beautiful about the way the Spirit Juice team has of celebrating music and submerging you in whatever song they are filming. The lighting in this video makes me feel like I'm waking up just as the dark is fading at the sky's edges. I think this particular shine that Spirit Juice has with music comes from Rob Kaczmark's own passion for music and history, which he talks about in our podcast here.
If you haven't seen the video they did with Fr. Pontifex, it's one of my favorite music videos ever and is very fitting for Lenten meditation.
This blog is by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, CoFounder of Catholic Creatives and Principle at Sherwood Fellows, an agency dedicated to anointing new Davids in their fight against Goliath.
For those of you who don't know Brian, he's an awesome dude with a lot of insight. His youtube channel is really interesting, and his web/identity design agency has done some really big work like the Fishers Net Awards. We did a podcast with him here.
Brian did some pretty groundbreaking work on this logo mockup, and I say that for the following reason:
Heraldry is super Catholic, but we haven't adapted it to the digital age.
The coat of arms was the original logo. It was the way we communicated the essential identity of organizations, always painted big and huge and intricate on shields, walls, and banners. It spoke in a language of symbols that was common and understood by all. Now a few hundred years later we're in the digital age, the age where logos are generally represented in tiny corners of webpages and printed on the corner of fliers in black and white. The banners that we rally behind now are logos, and those logos have to be used in a few different ways:
- It needs to reflect your organization’s why in a single simple form.
- It must be distinguishable in positive and negative. This necessitates the use of negative space.
- It must be able to be represented in black and white
- It must be distinguishable at the size of a penny, and still look amazing blown up on a billboard
- It must last for at least 20 years, but probably more.
The rest of the world has generally caught up to these needs, but Catholic Dioceses never got the memo. Here's what most Dioceasan logos look like:
Here's what it would look like in a single color if it was on a poster we designed for Exalt, a young adult group in Dallas:
What's amazing about this is that the "Exalt" logo is actually SMALLER than the diocesan logo, the diocesan logo is unreadable at this size. Heraldry is still rich and amazing, but it needs to be done differently in order to work as a logo.
That's why I love what Brian did with his. It works at small sizes, but looks awesome blown up, and it's easily viewed in greyscale. This is his logo used in the same poster at close to the same size as New York's.
Brian, you win again. Good work man.
Welcome to Creation of the Week, where we usually feature one of the members of the group and their recent work. I say "usually," because this time, though I am featuring a group member, I'm also making a case for two of our favorite punching bags: postmodernism and minimalism.
Many times we look at modern genre as Catholics and we criticize it is fadish. We see genre as the lesser artist's crutch, pedantic and needlessly the same. This is certainly true of many "artists" who shock their soulless audiences out of numbness by sheer virtue of their novelty. I do not think this is an accurate assessment of modern genre as a whole, however.
It is, in my view, much more like an economy, a massively complex cultural conversation. The modern artist hangs their piece onto genre's art gallery where each piece speaks to the others in open dialogue and sometimes in fiery argument. For the Catholic artist, to enter into genre is to speak eternal truth in a language that the modern heart can receive it.
This is precisely what T.S . Eliot did in his poem "The Wasteland." He uses modernism's own genre to point out its emptiness.
Ryan does something very similar with LifeTeen's Lenten companion. He employs the language of minimalism to speak to the unchurched teen of what is truly essential. He carries the very ethos of Lent in the charcoals and whites. The simple clear type set on the dark background speaks of drama and tragedy. As a whole when I look at this piece, I hear the words in my heart: "memento mori."
Ryan, don't listen to the naysayers that tell you to stop being so modern. You keep doing what you're doing brother. Your target audience isn't the intellectually formed Catholic anyway, is it?
Sometimes creations are physical things you can see, but sometimes creations are communities. This is something we know very intimately as part of this community. Communities take cultivating, steering, guiding with an eye to culture, ensuring that value is always being added and doubled upon. Nic Gutierez has been steering the Sunday Psalm community for three years now, and as a liturgical musician, I couldn't be more grateful for it.
For those of you who are not musicians, you've probably never heard of Sunday Psalm. If you lead music for mass, Sunday Psalm has probably already become dispensable to you, but what is it?
Sunday Psalm is an experiment in crowdsourcing.
What would it look like if a bunch of liturgical musicians picked a Sunday a year and wrote a free psalm to share with the rest of the community?
Collaboration is a solution to so many of the problems in our Church today. There are many creators, but not enough platforms to empower them. It takes someone with a real heart for the Lord to shine the limelight on others.
If the psalm wasn't enough, now Sunday Psalm is helping musicians get booked for worship events in their area, leveraging the psalm platform as a way to give musicians exposure. It's awesome, and I hope that one day soon it get's monetized so that Nic can take a larger role in ministering to musicians.
In Sunday Psalm Nic Gutierrez embodies so many of the core values of Catholic Creatives: Collaboration, love for beauty, & creative problem-solving. Good work Nic. We're excited to see where this project goes.
One of the sizable challenges I have with Creation of the Week is just the multiplicities of genre we get to tackle with it. This week we're entering into the Vblogosphere with Steven Lewis's review of Silence.
I've been following Steve since encountering his awesomeness on the group WAY back in 2016, and y'all, he cracks me up.
To vlog well, one does not necessarily need to offer high production value with lots of editing and effects. The goal of the vlog is to compress thought provoking messages into a condensed and engaging 4-5 minute short. Come to think of it, I think all priests should have to start a successful vlog before they are allowed to give any homilies, but I digress.
This community isn't just about promoting good art, but about moving the conversations at large in the Church into new territory of engagement. Steve's thoughts here do just that.
When discussing or reviewing art, our Catholic community has a tendancy to be satisfied simply by answering the question "was its message positive?" In the case of Silence, if you leave off there, the answer is a resounding no. But the best art is often times the art that is difficult to palate, hard to digest. Silence is the type of art that tends to need more chewing before it's lessons can be swallowed, and Steve gets that.
He helped push me beyond my initial responses and moved me to ask deeper questions both of the movie and of myself. I for one am grateful for his contribution to the conversation at large about this movie. And since all I'm doing is reviewing a review of silence, which is itself a review of the reviews, I will refrain from further commentary on the movie itself. Keep up the good work, Steve!
Anyone who has been to Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence and seen the David in person knows the difference between photo representations pulled up on a screen and the tangible experience of the art's presence. It is sometimes difficult to feature fine art on Creation of the Week for this reason. The intricate beauty of a piece like Kara's "In Utero" can be lost in translation from thread to pixles. Never the less, even without being able to see this tapestry.
There are many scales by which one can weigh good art. One way to test a piece's merit is by the question "does this piece grow in richness and complexity the deeper the examination?" "In Utero" is incredibly detailed, and grows more so as one looks on, an accomplishment only achievable through painstaking labor and time. According to Kara, it took a month of work. She wove the navy background fabric and stitched the image by hand.
The colors are so vibrant, and complement each other so well. The stitching gives motion and passion to the moment it captures. The media chosen so perfectly matches the subject. As Kara told us, it's based on a sonogram of her niece. She contemplated Psalm 139 as she worked.
In her comments Kara wrote: "I wanted to simply reflect the beauty and intricacy of the unborn child growing in the womb." Kara did that, but so much more. The first time I looked at the piece, I saw the universe, not a cold dead, empty place, but the C.S. Lewisian "Deep Heaven" full of warmth and life and energy. When my eyes took in the shape of the baby, I thought: "all of creation in all it's motion and movement coalesces in this: The creation of a child in the womb.
You can find more of Kara's work below, or check out her website here.
I know a lot of you are super disciplined and never ever need any help keeping your new years resolutions. I know some of you don't make new years resolutions because you're too cool for that life.
For all the rest of us that really need some help, accountability is a proven method of making lifestyle changes. Enter: SameTime.co
SameTime.co is a website that lets you create FREE accountability groups that help you do things together. Want to go to the gymn more consistently with your friends? Want to go to daily mass together some time? Want to set apart time to pray the office, write poetry, paint a passion project together? SameTime is here to help. All you do is go to the home page, create a group, set the time you want to get reminders, and everyone in the group gets a text reminder beforehand.
I created a group called "Wake the Hell Up," because I have a nasty habit of working really late at night and sleeping in. Tommy, you are going to single-handedly change my life, brother.
If you have not had the pleasure to meet Tommy Marshall yet, he is a world class developer who works on crazy things like Espn's Anatomy of a Pitch and the award winning game SayViget. Though it would break my mind trying to figure out how to make this site, SameTime.co is the kind of thing Tommy does on Christmas in between eating Turkey and watching Die Hard because why not?
Tommy and his brother Joe who is also equally as incredible will be leading workshops at the CC Summit in March. As of 1/9, we have 20 tickets left, so if you are planning on coming, get your tickets asap! Follow the broes on twitter here: Tommy & Joey Marshall
Mike Marshall is an amazing artist and illustrator who sports a fantastic mustache. He's currently working on a project that is mind blowing even in it's infancy: an illustrated series of the Martyrdom of Polycarp. The illustration work is incredible.
Mike's style evokes so much emotion and drama. Even these few early pieces transport me to the space in my imagination that I've always stored the stories of the early Church from when I was young. These images tap into my childlike wonder at the hero figures of the new testament and their willingness to give it all for the faith. I can't wait to see the completed series, and we'll definitely give you an update when it's up. In the meantime, you can check out his smooth jazz rendition of O Come O Come Emmanuel here because yes, Mike also plays guitar in a band. Some people are just good at everything.