Scars of Glory, 2023
Charcoal, graphite, and gold leaf on paper
Visual Arts, First Place
Artist Statement: Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese method of repairing broken pottery with gold, is a deeply symbolic practice. Whatever the vessel had been worth before it was broken, whatever its use, whatever value had been attributed to it cannot be compared to its value once repaired. But beyond the simple economic value attached to the veins of gold flowing through the clay, there is a more profound meaning. The Master Potter saw the value in the vessel when it was broken. He thought that it had value in being repaired, and He believed it was worth His time, care, and effort to put the shattered fragments into order. He not only pieced the pot back together, but He did not look to hide the scars. The scars were the very thing the gold followed in order to bring the utmost beauty. This piece is part of a larger story/art project called “The Strawberry Girls,” telling the traumatic, yet hopeful story of the girls recruited from Morocco to the strawberry fields of Spain to the brothels of darkness and shame. Some are miraculously and heroically rescued by the “Jesus people” and find freedom, restoration, and healing in Christ alone!
Learn more about The Strawberry Girls here.
Julissa Matias Flores
Visual Arts, Second Place
Artist Statement: The illustration comes from a personal experience of my constant struggle to please and seek God day to day. I am a fragile woman who often wants to fly and try to do things her way. How many times have I been wrong, and how many times has God restored me to fly again?
Visual Arts, Third Place
Artist Statement: “Ascending” demonstrates our spiritual journey and the beauty of simplicity.
Spring #569, 2023
Acrylic on canvas using palette knife and brush
Artist Statement: Inspired by improv I created on the piano during a rainstorm, I was thinking about God’s design for the seemingly invisible transformation that takes place during spring rains when the trees and flower bulbs are lying dormant, just waiting to spring to life. I used bold brush strokes and contrasting values with heavy application of paint to capture the energy of those miraculous moments.
Sing to the Lord a New Song, 2023
Ink and Chinese watercolor on xuan paper
Artist Statement: This is a yellow warbler singing on a magnolia tree in Chinese painting style. The Chinese calligraphy in the painting is Psalm 96:1–2. I wanted to express my worship to God in a traditional Chinese art form because all the nations and all the peoples will turn to the Lord, praising and worshiping Him!
Acrylic painting on canvas
Artist Statement: “Restoration” is a “prayer painting” that I painted for an unbelieving friend suffering greatly with chronic pain and illness. I explained to her that this image was often in my head when I prayed for the restoration of her body and soul. I wrote several Scriptures on the back of the painting, which now hangs in her home, a daily reminder of God’s love for her even though she has yet to put her trust in Him.
Jesus Only, 2023
Canvas with mixed media applications (styrofoam, PVA glue, bedsheet, and acrylic paint).
Artist Statement: I have always been inspired by A. B. Simpson’s hymn “Jesus Only.” I created the piece with a three-dimensional cross affixed to a canvas at its center; probably the most iconic symbol of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and the most meaningful in my opinion—Christ as our Savior. I then soaked a white bedsheet in glue, and while it was still wet, I arranged it over the sculpted cross to create texture and movement. The white representing the cleansing properties of His shed blood—both as our Healer from sickness and death and our Sanctifier. When it dried, the material was stiff, so when hung vertically, the wrinkles and texture remained permanent. I then took gold metallic paint, symbolizing Jesus’s reign as our Coming King, and highlighted the rigid texture of the bedsheet. This created contrast between the white and the gold, and brought the cross into stark relief. I then wrapped the canvas in a simple wooden frame to create a clean edge and boundary. The focus and meditation on Jesus, the Fourfold Gospel, and the recognition that the expression of creativity is in itself a gift from a creative God has been incredibly worshipful for me as the artist. I am praying that the decisions made in building this piece also bring the viewer into a similarly worshipful posture.
Bonsai Invocate, 2021
Oil painting on canvas
Artist Statement: Worship brings an upward focus to God. In “Bonsai Invocate,” the woman sits alone, looking up, treasuring Him above all things. She is not alone, clearly seeing that God surrounds her; He is her rock. God doesn’t need our praise, but He certainly desires it and knows it will help us through our storms. God desires our worship. He is the only one worthy of it.
Abraham’s Test, 2022
Acrylic, latex house paint, oil pigment stick, and oil pastel on wood panel
Artist Statement: The work symbolizes vehement emotions derived from moments of testing, suffering, loss, and grief. The imagery depicted is from Genesis.
I produced the painting right before a period of crisis, loss, and the painful grief of infidelity I experienced in my previous marriage and the divorce that took place thereafter. The work has proven to be a prophetic picture of what was to come. The piece now serves as a symbol and testimony of surrender and strength through testing and supernatural resiliency given to me from the Holy Spirit to endure these unexcepted and painful circumstances. Loose and playful brushstrokes and mark making contrasted with monochromatic color schemes and figures visually weave severity, anguish, faithfulness, and hope.
We all have the propensity as humans to seek and secure comfort, but crisis solidifies the truth that we are powerless. The painting depicts Abraham sacrificing Isaac.
Noka the Bengali Moon Boat, 2022
Alliance Creative Access Worker
Acrylic on canvas
Artist Statement: We moved to South Asia in 2019, and there have been many challenges. It can be easy to forget the beauty this culture has to offer, like in their uniquely shaped fishing boats and gorgeous ocean sunsets.
Begonia Angle Wing, 2023
Oil on stretched canvas
Artist Statement: Painting is challenging yet very relaxing. Maybe that’s one reason I enjoy doing it so much. I can almost imagine—maybe sense—to a very small degree, how God felt when He created the heavens and the earth and all. I’m not sure how challenging it was or even if it was a challenge for Him. Probably not—He spoke His creation into existence and it was all good. Me, I have to labor over mine. I guess that’s part of the fall. “Begonia Angle Wing” seems to be bowing in reverence and worshiping its Creator God. “All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name” (Psalm 66:4, ESV).