Wes Molebash: Your Values Are Expressed in Your Art

Wes Molebash picArtist Wes Molebash is an illustrator and creator of cartoons.

Can you tell me more about yourself and your art?

I’m Wes Molebash and I draw cartoons. I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been actively chasing this dream for over ten years, now. I live in southern Ohio with my wife, Kari, and our son, Parker.

My work is a blend of traditional and digital elements. I draw and ink most everything by hand, and then I scan the black-and-white art into Photoshop to apply color. I use a Wacom Cintiq 12WX when working digitally.

At what point in your life did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?

WMolebash art2When I was in 6th grade, some artists came to our school to discuss creativity and art with our class. I remember someone asked, “How do you know when you’re an artist?” and one of the presenters responded with, “You’re an artist when you say you’re an artist.”

I looked at my friend sitting next to me and said, “I’m an artist.” The artists must’ve overheard me, because one of them looked at me and said, “YEAH!”

So that was the moment.

How would you describe your spirituality?

I’m a Christian and my faith is very important to me. I hesitate to say I’m “devout” because I think that makes me sound more pious than I really am. But my faith is a huge influence in all areas of my life. WMolebash art5

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

My faith has been expressed in different ways in my art. For the past ten years I’ve been drawing comic strips, and—for the most part—the cartoons were your typical slice-of-life fare; nothing overtly Christian about them. However, I just ended a comic strip that was commentary on the Christian subculture, so my faith wasn’t as subversive as it was in my previous work. I’m tilting back the other way with my current projects, though.

I believe that whatever your values are, they will be expressed in your work whether you want them to or not. Whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim or Hindu or atheist, that stuff is gonna come out in your work. Don’t force it. It’ll be better that way.

In all my work, I’ve never tried to evangelize. That’s never been a priority. Honesty is a priority. I wish it was more of a priority for other “Christian” artists. Maybe we wouldn’t have as much schlocky “Christian” art clogging up the marketplace.WMosebash art1

Can you share a story of how creating your art expanded your awareness of God?

I don’t have a specific story, but I think that being an artist affects my faith in God. I’m a pretty abstract thinker and I have a wild imagination (as most creatives do), and I think that these traits make it easier for me to believe in God. I don’t think I have an unintelligent faith, but I do believe that my vivid imagination has caused me not to struggle with certain aspects of God that others might find unbelievable or even reprehensible.

How do you connect with divine flow when you are creating?

I don’t really experience a divine connection while I’m creating. I think a lot while I’m drawing. Sometimes I think about God. Sometimes I think about what we’re gonna have for dinner. Most of the time I’m thinking about the work.

How do you connect differently to your creative source when you work solo versus when you are collaborating with others?

WMolebash art4It’s definitely more fun and rewarding to work alone. Working alone means I’m working on one of my ideas, and I like my ideas the best.

How do ideas come to you?

Ideas come whenever they feel like it. The trick is learning how to harness them. Sometimes ideas come when you need to be focusing on other things, so you gotta learn how to hold on to an idea and mentally stick it in your back pocket until the appropriate times comes to work on it. I’m getting better at this, but I’m not great.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

I just “know.” I’ll be driving down the road and a fun idea will enter my brain and I can’t get rid of it. It starts rolling around in my head and becomes a huge distraction. I’ll write it down and—if I’m still excited about it a day or two later—then I know it’s got legs.

If you were going to teach your creative process to someone else, what would be one or two of the key things you would share?

NUMBER ONE: Listen to lots of great music; all different genres. So many stories can be developed by simply listening to a song. Music plays such a vital role in my ideation process. You gotta have good jams. It’s imperative.

NUMBER TWO: Do the work! Quit second-guessing yourself! Set a schedule and a timeline and get the work done! There will always be someone better than you! There will always be someone with more success than you! Don’t let that stop you!WMolebash art3

How can our readers find our more about you and your work?

I blog at WesMolebash.com
I tweet at @THEWesMolebash
I’m on Facebook at facebook.com/THEWesMolebash

Thanks Wes!

With the Art as Worship radio show on hiatus, we’ll continue to feature artists using their written words to describe the connection between their art and their spirituality. Access the Art as Worship radio interviews on Empower Radio. Listen to an encore presentation of an artist’s interviews each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio. Like us on Facebook at Art as Worship, then share your art and comments. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship. Namaste!

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J Clement Wall: Art Is a Celebration of Life and Love

JClementWall Pic2Writer, Doodler, and Love Warrior—that’s how J. Clement Wall describes herself. Her mission statement is to make art, do work, and engage in shenanigans that inspire fearless love, soulful evolution, and wild creativity as a way of life.

I’m thrilled to have connected with J and I’m excited to share her with you!

At what point in your life did you start thinking of yourself as an artist?JClementWall MonsterLove1-share

Honestly, I still struggle a little with that term, and before that I struggled with when I could call myself “a writer.” (Was it after I got my degree, after I’d been published, after I’d landed my first writing gig?) Somewhere along the way, I started thinking of myself as a creative, and that feels right to me, less a title to be earned and more a state of being. I create incessantly. It isn’t something I have to fit in or make time for; it’s like eating and sleeping. If I go too long without making something I start to wither.

JClementWall ImprobableBeautifulEHow would you describe your spirituality?

Soulful. Grounded. Evolving. I believe that whatever divinity exists, it exists inside each of us, which is an exhilarating and sometimes scary sort of faith. In the midst of all the violence and cruelty in this world, believing in the basic goodness of humanity takes a certain doggedness… and practice… like all religions do.

How does your spirituality find expression in your art?

I think for me it might be the other way around; my art is an expression of my spirituality, a celebration of life and love.

How do you connect with divine flow when you are creating? Is it an intentional process that you can duplicate?

I think I (and all artists) connect to the divine flow every time we sit down and do the work, because really, what is more divine than the act of creation? 

How do ideas come to you?JClementWall BlossomE

Ideas come from everywhere—news items, tweets, Facebook updates, Pinterest, nature, the work of other artists and writers, the words of a song, overheard conversations, my dog.

I am easily inspired.

How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

I pursue the ideas that won’t let go of me. I’ve found the tenaciousness of an idea doesn’t always guarantee its success, but it does guarantee I’ll stay enthused through completion.

JClementWall YogaHippieWarrior2How has your art affected your spiritual evolution or spiritual evolution affected your art?

I think they go hand in hand. In my art and in my spiritual practice, I spend most of my time not knowing the answers. I’m learning more and more to trust the process, to lean into my  uncertainty and be open to surprise because that’s where all the growth happens.

Find out more about J and her work at www.judyclementwall.com. Visit her Etsy shop for note cards, prints, and more featuring her inspirational doodles. She says, “I spent all of 2011 publicly committed to fearless love. For one year, I loved wildly out of my comfort zone. It was exhilarating, surprising, and scary. It was everything I never imagined, and it changed my life. I wrote about it in a collection of essays you can download here.”

Thanks J!

With the Art as Worship radio show on hiatus, we’ll continue to feature artists using their written words to describe the connection between their art and their spirituality. Access the Art as Worship radio interviews on Empower Radio. Listen to an encore presentation of an artist’s interviews each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio. Like us on Facebook at Art as Worship, then share your art and comments. Contact Vanessa Lowry at vlowry (@) gmail.com if you would like to be a featured artist on Art as Worship. Namaste!

Jennifer Bull: Music Pushes Me

Jennifer Bull is a violinist, teacher and author. She was born in Mt. Vernon, Ohio and grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia. Raised by parents who believed in encouraging their children to follow their dreams, Jennifer received a bachelor of violin performance from Furman University and also worked as a sous chef in a French restaurant.

“Music is the gift from God that pushes me the most. You can’t be perfect on the violin —that’s probably why God gave me this gift. There are so many sounds and so many things that can go wrong. Through the violin, I’m learning to have faith and let things go that are out of my power.” ~Jennifer Bull

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

Publishing under the name J.W. Bull, Jennifer is the author of Pickin’ Tomatoes and the fiction winner of The Shirley You Jest! Book Awards / Shirley LOL.

She says, “In writing, I’m at my best when I just wing it. If I write an outline, it’s horrible. If I stay in the moment as I write, I get into the scene that I see in my head.”

Jennifer lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two sons. When she’s not teaching violin, playing in The Georgia Symphony, or cooking she is working on her next book, Musical Chairs. Find out more about Jennifer and her writing at www.PickinTomatoes.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!

Karen Vuranch: God’s Energy Comes Through Me

Karen Vuranch weaves together a love of history, a passion for stories and a sense of community. She has toured throughout the United States with her traditional storytelling and living history performances, as well as made five performance tours of Wales and England performing her play, Coal Camp Memories. In 2002, Karen participated in storytelling exchange in China.

“The ancient Celtics had the sense that God is in everything and everything you do is spiritual. That’s how I look at my life — spirituality is part of everything that I do. When I’m creating, I draw upon God’s energy, but I also just let it come out through me.” ~Karen Vuranch

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

Karen brings history to life with historical interpretations of women from America’s past. She recreates author Pearl Buck; labor organizer Mother Jones; Indian captive Mary Draper Ingles, Civil War soldier and spy Emma Edmonds, humanitarian Clara Barton, Renaissance pirate Grace O’Malley, Wild West Outlaw Belle Starr and, the first lady of food, Julia Child, Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons. Her newest character is beloved children’s writer, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Additionally, she performs a WWII play, Homefront.

On a lighter side, Karen writes and produces audience participation murder mysteries. She often works with community groups, creating a production in just two or three days using members of the community.  She also has a troupe of actors that travel to present the mysteries. The In Cahoots Players are a troupe of incredibly talented actors from Southern West Virginia. Collectively, they have performed in plays, musicals and murder mysteries throughout the region. Their stage presence, lively and spontaneous banter and quick replies make for a hilarious evening of entertainment.

Karen says, “The art of storytelling and live performance becomes intrinsically involved with the audience  — the audience is as much a part of it as I am. I have a little mantra that I always do before I go onstage. When I offer my work to God, the connection with the audience is magical.”

Karen has been honored by many organizations including the Corridor Tourism L Commission, receiving the Robert C. Byrd Community Service Award in April of 2005. Other honors include the McWhorter Achievment Award from the West Virginia Storytelling Guild; Performing Artist of the Year for Tamarack, the West Virginia state arts center; the Spirit of West Virginia Award from the state tourism office and the Celebrate Women Award from the Women’s Commission of the West Virginia Legislature.  In 1994, Karen and her husband, Gene Worthington, performed together at the Ellipse Theatre at the White House.  On her audio tape, My Grandmother’s Necklace, Karen performs stories she has written and collected.  She is currently in production with a new CD of the stories and song show Potluck: Stories and Songs about Women, Wisdom and Food, which she performs with Julie Adams and Colleen Anderson. Karen also has completed a DVD of Coal Camp Memories.

Karen graduated from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio with double majors in Sociology/Social Work and Theatre.  She earned a M.A. from the Marshall University Graduate College in Humanities, focusing on American Studies with a minor in Celtic Studies. In addition to her work as a storyteller and actress, Karen is an adjunct faculty for Concord University, teaching Theatre, Speech and Appalachian Studies. She is a freelance consultant for the Coal Heritage Highway Authority. For this organization, she wrote and developed their Interpretation Plan, organized an event celebrating coalfield baseball and is currently directing an oral history project.

Karen says, “My spiritual beliefs and artistic growth are totally intertwined with each other. As I create, I draw upon spiritual energy. As I become more of a spiritual person, I become a better artist.”

Find out more about Karen and her upcoming shows at www.wventerprises.com. Here is a recent article about Karen from the Register Herald newspaper in Beckley, WV.

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!

Diane English: Your Art Picks Up Your Vibe

Diane English is a self-taught artist and founder of The Great Cosmic Happy Ass Card Company, combining her art and career with her spiritual path. She sells her original designs internationally in bookstores, galleries and on her website as greeting cards, prints and magnets.

“My definition of art is that it’s meant to delight, inform and inspire. You’re inspired to create art and then you pass inspiration on. That piece of art that you’re creating will pick up your vibe and it will be passed on. So do it. Don’t deny the world your talent.” ~Diane English

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

Diane has survived countless spiritual crises; has managed to see the occasional “light”; and discovered the secret of Higher Consciousness along the way. She says that after years of deep meditation, medication, fasting, prayer and a few bottles of Merlot, she now knows the secret to enlightenment is being in the “Now” with a piece of rich, dark chocolate.

She says, “I think God has a fabulous sense of humor. The spiritual evolution of my art was learning to play instead of taking it seriously. More often than not, artwork for me is play.”  

Contact Diane at her website www.GreatCosmicHappyAss.com and “like” her Facebook page.

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!

Shelly Ryan: Laughter is the Universal Language

Michele (Shelly) Wendling Ryan is a comedian and an author. She was born funny with a vivid imagination. Being an only child this trait was useful, although her parents never determined how many imaginary siblings Shelly had. By high school, she realized a sense of humor was more than entertaining; it was therapeutic.

“Laughter connects people. Look at how contagious it is. Someone can be laughing and even if you don’t know what they are laughing about, it makes you want to start laughing.” ~Shelly Ryan

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

Shelly’s spirituality is based in gratitude and she believes her unique blend of humor is a gift from God. Her mission is to make the world a happier, healthier place. Fans comment how laughing with Shelly helps them cope with both emotional and physical pain.

The conglomerate of Shelly’s work, known as Comedylove, includes:

  • Sketch comedy scripts, several  of which have been performed in Atlanta
  • Stand-up comedian (her closest brush with fame was  Nickelodeon at Nite’s  “Funniest Mom Contest”) and emceeing a variety of charitable events in the Southeast
  • Creating ripples of laughter world-wide on the airwaves plus numerous guest appearances; her own comedy cabaret, variety talk show and ovarian cancer awareness podcast Feel Teal Talk
  • Prolific blogger, humor columnist and regular contributor to Feel Teal Magazine
  • Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy her book Floor It! Road Trips Down the Humor Highway
  • She shares her own fairy tale in her CD Shelly’s Nursery Rhymes: The REST of the Story…

Contact Shelly at her website www.ShellysComedyLove.com and “like” her Facebook page Shelly Ryan Comedy. Join a group of other lovers of laughter at The Seriously Weird World of Shelly Ryan.

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!