Michael Belk: God’s Project

Michael Belk picDuring the past 30 years, Michael Belk’s photography has appeared in fashion publications including Vogue, Elle, GQ and Vanity Fair for clients that included Nautica, J.Crew and others.

Combining his gift for photography with a natural sense for sales and marketing savvy, Michael created a boutique fashion-advertising agency, Michael Belk & Company. He says his work has primarily been about doing something he loved while traveling the world, working with many great models and crews in the industry. Michael later owned a fine art photography gallery in Florida. MBelk 2246

In 2008, Michael began a project to produce a collection of fine art photographs that would depict messages of Jesus and show His relevance in our modern world. Published in late 2009, Journeys with the Messiah, consists of 45 images and the “parable-like” messages they depict.

“I felt a desire and prompting to create this series of photographs depicting the messages of Christ. In the end, it isn’t about the images—it’s about my relationship with God. He is the Creator. When I get carried away about the project from a business standpoint or from a creative standpoint, I stand back and take a breath. Then say to myself, ‘Not my project, His project. He’s just letting me work on it.’” ~Michael Belk

Listen to Michael’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

MBelk 2263He says, “I sensed that religion has given Jesus Christ a bad rap. Jesus didn’t come to start a religion. He came to testify to the unusual truth of his Father and how that frees us up to live these incredible lives while we’re here on earth. I wanted to show that Jesus’ message is relevant today—for people to realize that they can embrace Jesus for who he is rather than fear him.”

The images have been interpreted beyond the limited-edition, signed & numbered fine art original to include a coffee table book, behind the scenes DVD, posters and more. Michael travels to churches and other venues to present the images in an exciting audio/visual presentation. An exhibit and more images are planned.

With nearly 100 people on the team assembled to create the images for Journey with the Messiah, Michael believes in the power of collaboration. He says, “I learned in the fashion industry that Michael Belk taking a picture does not make the picture. It’s the collaborative effort of good hair and makeup people. Good costuming people. Good lighting people. Great assistance. Great producers. All of those things come together. God tells me what the idea is, but I’m always looking for ideas from people working with me as we’re putting the details of an image together. A collaborative effort is the most fun by far.” MBelk 2273

Visit www.thejourneysproject.com to view the gallery of fine art photographs created for Journeys with the Messiah. Watch the four-minute video that beautifully shares the story of creating these photos as they were shot in the Italian city of Matera.

See more of Michael’s work, including his fashion photography, at www.michaelbelk.com.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Seth Casteel: Dogs Inspire Me

Seth with Buster, the first underwater dog.

Seth with Buster, the first underwater dog, and a tattoo portrait of Buster.

Seth Casteel is an award-winning photographer and New York Times Best Selling Author. His series of Underwater Dogs photographs have been seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world and have become one of the most famous series of images in the past decade.

In 2007, Seth began volunteering to photograph homeless pets to help them find loving families. These improved photos showcased unique personalities, resulting in countless adoptions. Since then, Seth has developed a career as a Lifestyle Pet Photographer, accepting commissions and commercial assignments, collaborating with dozens of publishers and exhibiting his artwork in galleries around the world. SCasteel2

 “I like the fact that life is unpredictable. A dog jumping into a pool during a photo shoot inspired my career with underwater dogs. Dogs inspire me. They teach us so many things about how to be better as human beings.” ~Seth Casteel  SCasteel Underwater Dogs book

Listen to Seth’s interview on Empower Radio.

Seth’s work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times and in hundreds of other magazines, newspapers and calendars. You may have also seen him on Good Morning America, EXTRA, Jeopardy!, The Insider, and Inside Edition. He has traveled the world in pursuit of his passion, working with animals on five continents.  Watch this fun video segment from Good Morning America. SCasteel1

He says, “If you have something you want to do—if you have a story to tell or something to say—then find a way to do it. There’s always going to be obstacles and some reason that you can’t. But that’s the fun of it—the challenge of it. If you believe in something enough, you can make it happen.”

Seth lives and works in Chicago and Los Angeles. He loves 80’s music and is a fan of the DeLorean automobile.

SCasteel Second ChanceVisit www.littlefriendsphoto.com to find out more about Seth and view a gallery of his photos—underwater and on land. Find out more about Seth’s mission to help animals at www.secondchancephotos.org. “Like” his Facebook page for the most recent postings of underwater dogs and updates on events and appearances.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

Kevis Antonio: I’m Constantly Praying

Kevis Antonio, writer/producer/director of Five Blocks Away, passionately promotes the independent film project at the Eucharistic Congress held June 9, 2012 in Atlanta, GA.
Photo by: Debbie Fitzgerald

Writer, director and producer Kevis Antonio has worked on numerous films and is founder of Rising Faith Productions. His documentary, Bread of Life, received rave reviews, was officially selected into the John Paul II International Film Festival and was syndicated on an international TV network. Kevis’ current movie project, Five Blocks Away, is his first feature film.

“I am constantly praying. I get to use my talents and my skills with my faith. I love the opportunity to strengthen my faith and to really trust God.” ~Kevis Antonio

Listen to Kevis’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

A member of St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kevis serves on the leadership team of Siena Pictures. Kevis’ twin passions are film and faith, and through his work in the film industry, he is able to combine the two for the benefit of those who wish to learn more about the word and will of God.

Kevis comments about balancing a full-time job, newborn twins and the activities necessary for this feature film project, “The grace of God gets me through each day. It’s definitely very demanding with everything that I have to do. I put it into perspective and prioritize — first God, then my family and then work.”

He continues, “It’s a big challenge, but everything is in God’s hands. He works His magic and miracles and we keep going forward.”

Kevis and his wife Stacy reside in Acworth with their newly born twin boys.

Find out more about Kevis and the feature film project Five Blocks Away at  www.fiveblocksawaymovie.com. Like the film page on Facebook for updates on the project. Check out the article about this project in the Marietta Daily Journal.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!

David Greer: What Will You Do for the First Time This Year?

David Greer, entrepreneur, songwriter and filmmaker, looks back at the end of a year and says “What did I do last year for the first time ever?” In this interview David shares examples of pursuing new venues of creative expression by giving himself permission to NOT be perfect.

“I think everyone has a creative vein in them and anybody can be creative. How many times do you stop and think that’s probably not any good or I’m not an artist? I just encourage people to take one step at a time and not be so consumed with the outcome.” ~David Greer

David talks about how a practice of daily stillness fuels his creativity. He says, “I’m open to things coming into your brain from sources unknown.”

Listen to David’s Art as Worship interview on Empower Radio.

More about David:

In the world of business, from marketing to publishing, and now in music and film, David Greer believes it all starts with a story.

For more than 30 years, David has harnessed the creative tools of the day to tell the stories of clients and causes – in print, online, through images, video, film and song.

His use of creative messages to achieve concrete business goals has garnered him a stellar reputation in marketing and media, while newer endeavors in the music and film industries have brought those mediums to the art and craft of his storytelling.

Extending his work into new mediums, David recently ventured into the world of filmmaking. David’s first screenplay was a quarterfinalist in the 2007 Slamdance Screenplay Competition, chosen from more than 2,200 screenplays. David’s first short film, produced and shot on location, was accepted into the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood, California.

He’s written songs like We Light A Candle and All Are Our Heroes, to benefit all those touched by cancer. The song and social media campaign became a touchpoint and a sustainable campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Cancer related charities.  Recently the Heroes Project has morphed in to a new endeavor called Faith On. Greer says seeing cancer survivors incredible faith inspired him to explore the role faith plays in every day life. Anybody can face a hardship… be it unemployment, rebuilding after a hurricane, heartbreak, illness and many other hardships. Greer seeks to use storytelling and real world examples to inspire folks to press on in faith. So far the campaign has reached 20 countries and throughout the US and a new song is in the production stages along with a Faith On Magazine and social media sites. A benefit concert is planned for 2012.

Find out more about the project at www.FaithOn.com or “like” the FaithOn Facebook page for daily encouragement.

An entrepreneur at heart, David launched his own marketing and media company in 1996, Tillman Allen Greer, enabling him to combine his technical knowledge with problem solving and creative applications in the marketing arena. A believer in vision with a keen focus on a quality outcome, David is known for balancing practical business sense with creative endeavors.

Tillman Allen Greer has provided strategic marketing services, including economic development, business development, public relations, advertising and creative design, video production, Web site development and collateral production to key organizations in the metro Atlanta area and throughout the state for more than a decade. The firm has produced award-winning work for Gwinnett Technical College, Gwinnett County Public Schools, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Discover Point Child Development Centers, the Gwinnett Center and the The Brand Banking Company. David is the creator of the now famous Gwinnett County development campaign Success Lives Here.

In the media realm, David has launched several award-winning publications. He is the founder and publisher of both Gwinnett Magazine, the area’s definitive lifestyle and business publication, and the Gwinnett Business Journal.

Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Recommend an artist for us to interview or share your comments below or on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!