The Fine Line

28 Feb

The battle of “Secular vs. Sacred” has been a common theme in the Christian sphere for some time now, but with a generation rising up- their main goal in mind to blur the line between this argument- what will be left of creativity?


Faith was born into a pagan culture, whereby “pagan” means and learning styles dominate the way in which the mind is being shaped.  What society has taken and claimed for its own power was not created merely by a human mind but was sought out of by God’s providence and must simply be re-worked in a way which conceptualizes “creativity” so that “Christian art” can be taken more seriously.  Augustine says, “I blame not the words, which of themselves are like vessels choice and precious; but that wine of error that is in them”.  The purification process of speech is vital to humanity; the idea of art seems to be one of many things lost in translation over time. 


Art as visual aid was the first to seemingly evaporate before humanity because art as language was abused, as well as poorly received (both the communicator and receiver carrying equal weight of blame.)  As written earlier, the term “create” was itself created; the most fascinating part is that the term did not even exist when the idea of art came to be, so from the beginning there has been a distinction between the two.   Merton wrote in his memoir that God is the “circle whose center is nowhere and circumference is everywhere.”  Throughout the course of history, foundations have been solely laid on words created and pictures painted of a God who is beyond knowledge itself- especially beyond this ever-prevalent line of secular and sacred.


 At best, the terminology of choice that has been coined is “Christian art”, as stated earlier.  Jacques Maritain says, “It is the art of redeemed humanity.  It is planted in the Christian soul, by the side of the running waters, under the sky of the theological virtues, amidst the breezes of the seven gifts of the Spirit.  It is natural that it should bear Christian fruit.  Everything belongs to it, the sacred as well as the profane”. To be very clear, the disposal of the term “Christian art” is key.  One of the first examples of an idea being bound by language is this notion that all art either belongs to “the world” or to “the church”-  and yet they are one, the artist and the Christian, and have been so naturally intertwined that it should seem unnatural to separate them.  This artist in particular (the one that has fought to have the mind and soul remain fused together) will do the utmost that is required to bring about the beauty that lies within the essence of who they are, which should simply be the outpouring of the love of Christ.  It is not possible to separate the art from its source or origin because it is not isolated from that which it was so purely united with: the soul.


The church has lashed out against poetry and aesthetic beauty for fear that it would result in only that which is left to the imagination- a truth that is mistaken for something completely fabricated (whereas the world over-produces for the lack of knowledge in that which is completely and utterly beyond the privilege of even knowing.) 

As an artist myself, I would argue that you can find Christ in everything I produce because there is always something bigger behind whatever someone is doing.  For myself, that is Jesus, whether you are looking at an actual representation of Christ or a painting of the sky, the origin of creation is simply found.



C&I Studios

17 Feb

In a generation thriving off of creative excellence, only the passionate will stand.  C&I Studios is a media company focusing on photography, graphic design, audio, and video/film production, based in the beautiful South Florida.  Josh Miller, executive director, is the mind behind the vision, and from the moment he started sharing his dreams and aspirations, struggles and not-so-subtle realities of owning a company, it was simple to see that only the dedicated can make it in this industry.

Image As you walk through the studio, creativity can be found in every facet of the building.  From DIY decor to the graffiti lining the back walls, this is a place where the imagination is safe to venture into areas yet explored.  With a “strategically” and small picked staff, as Miller would say, these young adults strive to be the best at what they do.

“In 2006 I started finding my staff, I had two friends in their own companies and basically asked them to shut down theirs… and come work with me.” Says Miller, “so it’s really people I’ve known all my life.  We’re very strategic about it, my two most trusted camera guys came in knowing nothing a couple years ago, and we just worked together and worked hard.  It’s a drive you have to pertain, they want to learn and genuinely know everything there is to know.”


Maybe the most interesting bit about C&I was the start and how Josh keeps it going.  “In 2005,” Miller explains, “I was in a different company and it plain sucked.  All I wanted was a company solely focused on creative work instead of being client based.”

He continued to discuss the struggles that owning a business presents, mainly that of income and resources.  “You make no money!  So while working on only creative projects is ideal, the reality is we needed to do some corporate work in the beginning.”  

One of the first questions I inquired of Miller was how it felt to be running a successful creative company, and the passion in his response was one of the more inspiring things I’ve heard. 

“It’s honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.  This gig can suck, I have a wife and little girl I can see for maybe 10 minutes out of my day.”  He starts explaining, “I think there’s this idea that gets implanted when you’re a kid, like, ‘oh, josh, you’re living your dream!’ But people just don’t realize the drama, heart ache, and frustrations of running a company.  Especially in this industry.”


To help aid in the understanding, Josh made a practical comparison between working at a Home Depot and then for a studio.  He explained how him and his staff solely deal with the image- whether it be their own or what they are producing, the talk and response from an audience is all that matters.  If you’re working for a Home Depot, say, when a product doesn’t sell so well, or when customers aren’t aesthetically pleased, it will not fall in your hands.  Image in the final product is everything when you’re creating.

Aside from the visuals, C&I host a plethora of events each month.  These events are based off of things they are passionate towards to help get the community involved in the arts.  There’s something electric and contagious about opening up their doors to strangers and having an individual leave with a different take on how they view things.  Josh is most passionate about film, but his favorite part about films are the music.  Most of their events will have live bands, showcasing what they do best.

The most attractive part about working in a creative business is the day-to-day schedule, or lack there of one.  For the spontaneous and easily bored person, this seems to be the job for you.  “Our days change a lot.  I can be in meetings and creative directing one moment and out on location shooting the next.  It keeps you on your toes, it’s how it should be.”  Josh says.


As for some advice for the future creative- Josh simply says, “Don’t do it.  I’ll try my hardest to sway each employee out of this job before they’re hired.  The most unattractive, gruesome details that most people won’t see, I make sure is the first thing they will see.  Only the strong-willed and completely committed stand a chance in this.”

What does the future hold for C&I? Aside from opening multiple locations and having wild success, Josh says he dreams to keep dreaming.  “I want to view the end product in the future, and not be satisfied at all, you know?  I want to keep getting better, I want my staff to keep thinking different and new thoughts.  So while it would be great to sit in a theatre and view what we have made, I just don’t ever want to be satisfied.”

With their passion and off the wall ideas, C&I can only grow and become a powerhouse studio in their area.



Life After College

3 Feb

For the average early 20 something, reaching the final stretch of your undergrad career is a pivotal landmark- you’ve learned, accomplished, stretched your mind, and fully immersed yourself in a higher level of thinking; but what comes next? The student turned adult transition can oftentimes leave one weary and confused, on the other hand, there are the postgrads that get thrusted into full-time careers.

Breanna Chval, 22-year-old graduate, was offered a full-time teaching position half way through her internship, all while still being a student.  So what was it like being responsible for 25 third graders, 3 months shy of receiving her diploma?  

Ms.Chval says, “It’s definitely a lot of pressure because I’m responsible for whether or not they pass the FCAT and are able to move on to the 4th grade. Something that most people don’t know is that statistics show that your 3rd grade FCAT score is almost synonymous with your 10th grade score- due to the potential they feel they have at such an impressional age.”

Most recent college graduates will never know exactly what all goes in to being offered a position with so much at stake.  What would appear to be the ideal scenario is to have the opportunity to work right after college, though students should never underestimate the importance of giving yourself a breather and mentally preparing to take on such significant responsibilities.

“I wish I could have waited, knowing how much responsibility it would be, but I feel like the Lord really kept the door open”, says Breanna on being immediately hired,  “So even after waiting a few weeks, I was asked to do the interview, in turn getting the job.”

Very literally, Breanna had to kiss her college days goodbye overnight.  “I went from solely being responsible for myself, you know, all I had to worry about is if I could manage making myself an egg and showing up on time for a class, to taking care of 20-something children all on my own.” 

“Southeastern provided me with the best college experience, but nothing could have prepared me for what I walked into on my first day of teaching.”  Breanna says on her overnight transition.  Her 3am nights out turned into 5am alarm clocks.

Breanna says of her day-to-day outlook on teaching, “Most of their home lives are pretty rough, so I truly feel like it falls on me to almost parent these kids.  You know, they come in and they don’t really care about what comes next for their lives, it’s a pretty hopeless situation for most of them.  I just want them to see their full potential and empower them to be better than they were the day before.” 

It’s more than just teaching, it’s providing our future generation with the hope of tomorrow.  Breanna is one of the many that will shape, mentor, and cheer for students to get through one more year of schooling.


Dog Owners of Instagram

20 Jan

With the world of social media thriving, Facebook and Twitter seem to have given up their claim to uploaded picture fame to none other than Instagram- the new photo sharing app on the scene.  Over the past year Instagram has boomed, with an average of 40 million photos being posted daily world-wide.


Instagram promotes a platform for instant creativity, no matter how original or cliche the content might be.  With thousands upon thousands of food, beach, and “selfie” snaps, users are aiming to get a little more personal and fun-loving.  Just a few scrolls through your news feed and you’ll be able to see a new trend catching on, the “dogstagram”.  There are guys showing their softer side, ladies swooning over little pups, and babies cuddling their best friend.


So why all the rage? Just to name a few points:

  • Adds character
  • Everyone loves to be a proud parent
  • Gives a friendly feed
  • Rack up those double tapsmoses

As crazy as this sounds, people do get tired of seeing your face, your brunch, and your Starbucks order; but it has been proven true that very few people get tired of the cute new addition to your life, or your oldest buddy.  So grab your pup and your phone, and get to work.  Dress them in outfits, take them on bike rides, or show them sleeping- it’s a guaranteed success.


Curt Hensely, 20 year-old Instagrammer and dog owner says, “Baron’s just plain photogenic, the chick’s dig it.”  about his new snow white husky.  Fella’s, if you’re looking for a new way to win a girls heart, it might just be one photo click away.

Whatever the motive behind your operation, the puppy-grams are what’s hot on the social media scene.  Get in while you can!