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From hobby to calling: An artist discovers the purpose for his talent

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“Whatever art you produce, it’s for My glory.”

For most adults, a year and a half of unemployment could be recorded as a low point in life–a time of wandering, disappointment, perhaps even depression. But God is with us in the valleys, as Colombian artist Luis Sanin can attest, and sometimes that time of waiting is when God sculpts us more into his likeness.

A civil engineer for 22 years, after Luis was laid off, he returned to his long-held hobby of art.

“Reposo Salmo 23” (“Rest, Psalm 23”), oil on canvas, 2010.

“I started painting again,” he says, “and it was like if I would have caught a virus.”

Luis felt the Lord tell him very clearly, while in church one day, that this gift was to be used for the glory of God–an instruction he took seriously.

While developing his skill in the studio, Luis wrestled with just how to marry his talent with his faith in a way that would impact the world. He needed his abstract pieces to tell a story, to share an important message.

After much research, Luis became inspired by Makoto Fujimara, a Christian artist who shares his biblical worldview through his work. Luis then began to connect with other Christian artists in his home of Medellin, Colombia, and found the connection between the arts and worldview while serving as a language interpreter for Darrow Miller.

“I thank God for allowing people to intersect my life and end that drought I went through,” says Luis, whose “flood of ideas” has led to local art shows and the sale of various paintings.

“Lluvia Acida” (“Acid Rain”), acrylic on canvas, 2009. Some of Luis’ pieces speak to the biblical command of environmental stewardship.

For him, however, it’s not about the sales and the critics. “I can have communion with God when I paint,” says Luis. “It’s a way of worship. I can have communion with the Trinity reflecting on how they brought about creation, inspiring and calling us to be culture makers in their image and likeness and advancing it through the span of our lives.”

Luis says Darrow Miller’s book LifeWork has been foundational in giving purpose to his passion. “Whenever I paint something,” he says, “I ask the question, ‘What am I trying to paint here? Can fellow Christians and non-Christians relate to this, and will it resonate with their lives?’”

He echoes chapter eight in LifeWork, saying Christians are called to create Kingdom culture in the world, as culture is simply a reflection of what a society worships, and his art is a tool to help the Church assume that calling.

“Una Mano” (“A Hand”), mixed media on cardboard, 2010. Luis created this piece after being laid off; he says he felt God taking care of him and picking him up.

After a year and a half, Luis found a new job, but the journey to get there set his life in a whole new direction.

Luis lives with his wife and two daughters in Medellin, Colombia. Peruse his blog at luissanin.blogspot.com, or contact him by e-mailing saninforero@gmail.com.

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[…] you liked this story, you may also enjoy From hobby to calling: An artist discovers the purpose for his talent. Also, check out DNA’s book on this subject: LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do […]

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