Dee VanDyke blurb

I recently purchased a book titled “The Next Generation: Contemporary expressions of faith.” After a lengthy introductory essay which I’ll eventually read, there are a number of photos of artwork. Each work is accompanied by a short blurb by the artist. Earlier this week I read the paragraphs opposite Dee VanDyke’s Anointed (2002). Some of what he said stuck with me:

    Sometimes I think that I know what my art is about during the actual creative process, but after making drawings, paintings and sculpture for thirty years, I have concluded that I rarely do. Like faith, action precedes understanding, and making art confirms that the ways of the Lord are both mysterious and paradoxical. I believe my role is to pay attention and let the art come through me instead of from me.

I’ve had very similar thoughts about my own process and work. The act of creation is often a learning experience for me. Many times I don’t know what a work will be about until it’s finished. I’ve struggled with this sense too, thinking I should have everything figured out on the front end: This is the subject matter, this is the media, this is what it means, this is how I hope the viewer interprets the work.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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