When I Draw, I Feel Close to God: Video Interview with Eric Nykamp

[D]o you feel close to God when you’re doing something creative? When you draw, dance, write, paint, film, sculpt, act, shoot, play music or create in any way, do you experience deep pleasure and worship of God (at least some of the time)? Today, I hope you enjoy this video conversation with visual artist, Eric Nykamp, who has experienced what it’s like to feel close to God as he creates. If you’re like many of the creative people I’ve spoken with over the past ten years, chances are you may know exactly what Eric is talking about. You see, when creative people align their gifts and talents with their life purpose and who they believe themselves to be, it’s no surprise they feel close to God. Read on…

I would lay money down on Red 22 in Vegas by saying, “We are never more like God (Imago Dei…made in God’s image) than when we are being and acting exactly the way He made us to be and do.” Like many of you, as a young child and into adulthood, Eric learned that when he draws, he feels close to God. This is the first in a series of Skype video conversations that I hope you’ll find insightful and encouraging in your creative and artistic pursuits.

Eric is an accomplished visual artist, musician, the author of Art as Prayer and an experienced art leader from Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this interview, Eric and I talked about artistic community and the importance of having community to balance long periods of artistic isolation. We also discussed many of the challenges of pursuing a creative life and positive solutions to keep our hearts alive and our work fresh in the process. In this interview, I asked Eric several questions about the creative life…

  • What was your artistic upbringing like as a child?
  • How did your visual art became a form of prayer?
  • How did you begin leading an artist bible study for eight years?
  • What are some of the challenges and rewards of leading artists in community?
  • Why is it important for artists to be in community?
  • How does an artist not become embittered when someone doesn’t understand their work or creative calling?
  • Why do we need to have realistic expectations when it comes to pastors, the Church and people accepting our work?
  • How can developing healthy dialogue between pastors and artists increase the acceptance of art in the church?

To view Eric’s visual art, visit his website at http://www.ericnykamp.com

You can also purchase and read Eric’s book, Art as Prayer, available here on Amazon. Your purchase helps support artist scholarships through The Grove Center for the Arts & Media.

Questions: How do you feel close to God when you create? As an artist, did you relate to any of Eric’s thoughts or comments? In what way?

I’d love your comments and questions.



Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, snarky or off-topic.