Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Photomanip: The Rescue/Messages

This was originally going to be a contest entry, but I didn't finish it in time.  The image and idea stayed with me, though, and I liked it so much that I made some free web graphics to go with it.  Take and use the banners for whatever you like. (Links back are appreciated.)  The original photomanipulation is just for viewing, please don't reupload and use that.

This is a design blog, and I want to keep it that way.  The Rescue isn't an overtly religious or spiritual piece, but it has spiritual significance to me.

(Clickable Thumbnails expand to banners 800x300 px and 150x120 px.)
I was rescued in the biggest storm of my life.  I am a survivor of domestic assault, and I was homeless for six months after I left my ex-husband.  I was raised in a predominantly Catholic family (with varying degrees of practicing and non-practicing adults) but I've studied an explored a lot of religions, and I didn't identify as a Christian until after my experience of being homeless.

That was about fifteen years ago.  Since then, I've found that if I say "I'm divorced," I'm often put in a category of second class citizens by other Christians.  No one stops to ask why I'm divorced.  The rest of my story--which is all about the way God reached in and transformed my life--just isn't heard.  Conversely, if I say "I'm a Christian" or display Christian themed graphics, I'm often lumped in to a category of narrow-minded people who can't "think for ourselves" and need the "emotional crutch" of religion, so everything else I have to say goes in one ear and out the other.

My spiritual beliefs and practices come from a mix of Catholic and Protestant traditions.  I find that with most  Christians, I'm looked at strangely or expected to "take sides."  People from other faith backgrounds or who consider themselves to be spiritual without being religious often look down their noses in the same way.  Some of them probably just assume that because I have a strong faith in Christ, I'm going to evangelize them to death.  Others seem to genuinely think that because my faith is based on an "organized religion," it's not really part of my inner life and not entitled to the same respect and tolerance they expect from others.

My political and social views are moderate.  I value free speech and equality for all people, regardless of whichever categories society has put them into.  Yet I find extremists on both sides of any political or social issue that I care about, and those extremists are often the only advocates whose voices are heard.   They yell the loudest.  (Barabas, anyone?)

Generally, the people I've encountered in these situations have good intentions. Maybe they're just a little too caught up in the things they care about to realize what kind of messages they're sending.  So, the theme I had in mind for The Rescue was "messages."  I asked myself what message I wanted people to see when they looked at it, what I wanted them to know about me, my life, and my art.  When people see it, I want it to stir their hopes and their imaginations for a better future.  My hope is that when people look at me, they see someone who treats them the way that Jesus treats me: someone who is always willing to come and help, to stay with them through whatever is wrong, regardless of my own opinions or feelings about what brought them where they are.  Because ultimately, my opinions don't mean anything.  I'm only accountable for my actions.

When I did the web graphics, I was thinking specifically about Encompass Rose Design and what I want people to see when they come here. How do I want my guests and website supporters to feel when they visit and view my art.  What messages do I want to be sending? The answer is varied, depending on the piece, but I know that I always want people to feel welcome and valued here.  So that was the theme that I used for the text.  If you like them and feel similarly, feel free to use them.

This version of The Rescue has been resized for loading time convenience.  Full sizied (2400x1800 px) is available in my DA gallery here.

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