Years ago at his grandparents’ house in Chicago, a 4-year-old boy made the most important decision of his life while Billy Graham flickered across an old television. Gary Wilson, a child fathered by a WW2 veteran in an overtly Christian home, chose to dedicate himself to God. And although he has admittedly strayed a few times, God has faithfully walked by Gary’s side his entire life.
This intimate relationship with his Father is the source of creativity behind Gary’s 50+ years as a professional artist. He received his first and only teaching job at Monroe Community College where He taught various art courses for 45 years. Determined to keep producing art while teaching, Gary was also found at street fairs every summer all over the midwest, averaging 7-9 shows a year. He took his biblically-themed clay wall reliefs to the secular marketplace.
Gary believes that because he is filled with God, everything he produces will have the aroma of God on it, even if the subject matter isn’t particularly “Christian-themed.” And this proves to be true as he continues to create on a daily basis. His work is personal, and it tells the story of his own pursuit of God. The purpose behind putting such intimate things on display, particularly in a secular environment, is to appeal to the spirit of those who may see his work. Gary believes his artistic efforts are best addressed toward spiritual awakening because “things of the spirit are discerned by the spirit.”
The ultimate goal is not to change culture through art but, rather, to “cast seeds that engage non-believers” and believers alike. Gary’s revelation is that, although art may influence someone, it’s the Spirit of God that uses art to open the hearts of people so that He can truly change them. Jesus is after the individual, and anything we do or produce as followers of Christ can be used to advance His Kingdom.
For Gary, there is nothing more important than friendship with God and inviting others to join that journey toward Him. Viewers can see this resounding theme throughout Gary’s God-inspired artwork. By allowing the Father to be the most prominent influence on art of any kind, it can transcend current trends and minister to the hearts of those He loves so fiercely.
Gary encourages aspiring artists to get to know themselves. He spent 25 years discovering his own inner values and finding the courage to let them show through his artwork. He believes that every serious artist must face the same difficulties of discovering who they really are and ultimately showing that person to the world. In Gary’s words, “True style in art happens when the product that is produced is an accurate reflection of inner values.” And if what an artist finds deep within matches the heart of God, then life-altering masterpieces are destined to be created.
To find out more about Gary Wilson and his engaging art, visit Gary’s home page here.
Featured Image by Tim Marshall
Design by Dawn King