Claire Paul: I Start with Impulses

Claire Paul is an instructor of art at Georgia Perimeter College. A graduate of Georgia State University, Claire completed her MFA in Drawing and Painting. While her art intends for the viewer to explore the unseen, her interests in music and sound performance also shape the content of her visual art.

“ I start with impulses, then I narrow from there — sketching, gathering thoughts, writing down ideas. Creativity is a lot of play.” ~Claire Paul

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

She goes on to say, “The beauty in making art is the mystery. I search for this quiet area where things recur, patterns happen and then I expand on that idea.”

Through her spirituality, she taps into the “cloud area of unconscious workings.” She says, “Whatever quiet wanderings or whisperings are happening in my life, I stop and record them. Whether or not that becomes artwork is on the side. I have a lot of work that never gets shown because it’s more about the process of making art and listening to that voice.”

In addition to her visual art, Claire holds a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in music and continues to perform music.

Find out more about Claire and her work at www.clairepaul.com.

electric_pythiaListen 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!

Trevor Wolford: I Play Every Note Like It Matters

Guitarist and composer, Trevor Wolford, began his career at an early age sitting in with many jazz musicians in Atlanta. While attending Brevard College, he was able to extend his musical knowledge under the wisdom of instructors including Lou Mowad, Roger Cope and Stephen K. Wilson. Studying classical and jazz music attributed to his wide palette of colors that are found in many of Trevor’s compositions.

 I’m always in the frame of mind that whatever happens today, I’ve got to give God the glory. When I play music, it’s my expression of that and I play every note like it matters.” ~Trevor Wolford

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

While attending college, Trevor played in numerous jazz groups around Asheville, North Carolina and recorded with artists including the renowned jazz-vibraphonist Jason DeCristofaro. He currently resides in Atlanta and performs as a sideman to many groups around town. Trevor says, “Playing music with other people is a lot more fun than playing solo. The improvisation of jazz is like a conversation. I like that family aspect of playing in a group — relying on other people I trust.”

In addition to playing music, Trevor also loves to compose. About a current composition he says, “Many people talk about how they experience God in nature and I complement that with Scripture saying ‘the mountains declare His glory.’ I take that concept and apply it to music. I’m working on a composition right now that’s based on the sounds I woke up to one morning of the birds outside my window. It’s a work in progress, but I think the Lord inspires me in little things like that.” Trevor’s own group is expected to release a new album by December 2012.

Find out more about Trevor and listen to samples of his music at www.trevorwolford.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!

Stanton Lanier: Life is an Adventure to Live

Pianist-composer Stanton Lanier offers a unique concert experience, combining signature melodies, inspiring life stories and audience interaction. Before pursuing music full-time, he was a chemist and financial planner.

“For a long time I took life too seriously. I thought life was more of a problem to solve. Now I know that life is an adventure to live. God has inspired all this music through me and He keeps showing me that he’s bigger than I think. ~Stanton Lanier

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

Four of Stanton’s seven albums were produced by William Ackerman, Grammy winning Founder of Windham Hill Records, including Christianity Today’s 2011 Notable Sacred Music (A Thousand Years) and ZMR Awards 2009 Best Holiday Album (December Peace). His music can be heard on The Weather Channel, Sirius-XM Spa, Music Choice Soundscapes and many other outlets.

Stanton is also the Founder of Music to Light the World, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a vision to offer God’s “peace and rest in a hurried world.” Their Get Music Give Hope has led to 20,000 CDs being donated to cancer centers and hospitals offering hope and healing to patients.

He says, “There’s a Bible verse about how God’s ways are higher than our ways. He is unconventional. He can bypass the whole system if he wants to and do it His way. It will blow your mind. There’s an inner affirmation of following our heart and then there’s outer affirmation as people respond. It can be good to not know how everything is supposed to work.” 

Find out more about Stanton and his music at www.stantonlanier.com. Send your family and friends a free music sample with an e-card.

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!

Carrie Newcomer: There’s a Spiritual Current in My Work

Carrie Newcomer is a rare breed of singer/songwriter: the kind who illuminates life with startling depth, humor and clarity. Her ability for sharp observation of the world lead the Dallas Morning News to rave, “She’s the kind of artist whose music makes you stop, think and then say, ‘that is so true’.” She has been described as “a soaring songstress” by Billboard, a “prairie mystic” by the Boston Globe, and Rolling Stone has said that she “asks all the right questions.”

“There’s a spiritual current in my work because there’s a spiritual current in my life. ~Carrie Newcomer

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

She says, “When someone creates a work of art or when we hear a song and a person has put their finger right on the open palm of something true, it shakes the world just a little bit.”   

In the fall of 2011 Carrie released her fifteenth album, Everything is Everywhere, as a special benefit project for the Interfaith Hunger Initiative on Available Light Records. The Interfaith Hunger Initiative is an organization including faith leaders and laity Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh congregations, dedicated to the common cause of providing for those most vulnerable in our communities. Carrie says, “In a time when we are encouraged to fear difference or diversity, Everything is Everywhere was created as an alternative to fear and an affirmation of creative and compassionate engagement. I am one of a growing number of people who are choosing to not put the Sacred in such a small container.” 

She says, “We live in a world of distractions and it’s easy to not be present in our own lives. But when I’m here, when I am present in attention, I start to see miracles and I sense the sacred everywhere. At the center of what I am doing is an artistic practice but it’s also a spiritual practice. It’s to be here and to be open — to what’s right here, right now in front of me — and then write about it.”

Carrie internationally facilitates workshops and presents keynotes on the topics of songwriting, spirituality and vocation at colleges, universities, and spiritual communities, retreat centers. Newcomer, a Quaker, cuts across secular and spiritual boundaries. In recent years, she has emerged as a respected and recognized artistic voice for the progressive spiritual community.

Find out more about Carrie and listen to free samples of her songs at www.carrienewcomer.com. Click on the link titled Messages from Carrie to read her poems and articles. I wonder if Carrie’s poem titled “The Dare” will offer as much encouragement to you as much as it has to me?

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

Chuck Cogliandro: Drumming Brings So Much Joy

Chuck Cogliandro is a drummer, teacher, healing practitioner and Director of Kumandi Drums & Healing. Since 1992, Chuck’s path has included bringing people together in the shared joy of West African drumming.  He is a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and is completing his second year of studies in Family Constellations work with Peter and Jamy Faust.

“Drumming brings so much joy. It gets people out of their minds and out of their anxieties – out of the mental level of worrying. It raises their energetic level of vibration into the spiritual level. That’s where healing comes through the music and the drums. ~Chuck Cogliandro

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

Chuck annually hosts and organizes the Kumandi African Drum & Dance Camp near Asheville.  He has directed performing community and professional drumming groups, helped organize and performed with the 100-member drum tribe in the Opening Ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympic Games, and has made CD, commercial and soundtrack recordings.

Chuck’s company name, Kumandi, is from the Malinke language spoken in West Africa. He says, “Kumandi means to call or to invite or to sound. So that’s the purpose of the drums – to call people together and to invite them to make sound.” Chuck adds, “Drumming is powerful. It creates vibration that affects you on all levels. On the physical level, your body feels the music and the vibration coming from the drum. Your spirit is touched from the people creating this vibration collectively. Especially with African drumming, drumming is used to bring the community together to celebrate.” 

His longing is to co-create communities for transformation, using expressive elements of drumming, music, voice and movement. Chuck is also an enrichment instructor at Atlanta’s Orion School, drumming with children diagnosed with autism and ADHD.

Find out more about Chuck at www.Kumandi.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!