One of the difficult aspects of doing Christian art is how do you deal with the depiction of sin. From having a married actor kiss another his co-star (not his wife on screen) to how sex and violence are depicted in visual media.
I thought it would be good to get the opinion of someone who is deep in the subject, so I asked Art Ayris of Kingstone Comics his thoughts.
Wayne: How did Kingstone Comics start?
Art: We really researched the comics industry as well as the CBA market – began identifying niches that weren’t being filled by Marvel-level graphic media. But it was really graphic novels that looked like the ticket. As a former public school teacher as well as a children’s pastor for years, was always scrambling to find good material for kids. Some of the comic material veered into Catholic bashing, some was not up to the Marvel-quality that kids would read. A vision began forming and we felt a God-magnet type pull into media.
2) When doing art visually, what limits are there in representing sin? So for instance how graphic can violence be and why? How sexualized can images be or why?
Art: That is always the balancing act. Comics and graphic novels in the general market already have a reputation for over-sexualization and graphic violence. Especially since our market is young adult we don’t want to entice or give people reasons to look wrongly or with evil thoughts. But at the same time God made the human body and we can’t show everyone walking around in fur coats. There are always limits in portraying or representing sin but we still have to be faithful to what the Bible says happened – or will happen as in the book of Revelation. In the account of Judges 19 and the concubine that was raped and killed we show her lying on the ground with her hand on the threshold but she is bruised but still cloth, with text describing what the Bible says happened. In David’s affair with Bathsheba as recorded in II Samuel 11 we see David lying in bed but Bathsheba is leaving the bedroom. It is evident what happened and we also state what the Bible states.
Wayne: What’s your opinion of Christian art that has a see no evil attitude towards sin? As an example can visual violence in moves like Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan, can the violence there be compared to the bloodiness in movies like the SAW franchise. Many would condemn both as unhealthy for society.
Art: Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan and Hacksaw Ridge were all fairly accurate depictions of what happened. I never saw any of the SAW franchise but from what I could tell was pretty gratuitous violence. Silence of the Lambs, Texas Chainsaw, Saw and others don’t put good thoughts and good ideas in young minds that are forming nor in mentally unstable individuals. Attached is an article from Wired magazine that quotes from psychological studies how thinking about God helps with self-control. That is where Kingstone is, trying to move people thoughts, hearts and minds in a Godward direction.