“I am the pen that God likes to use.”
If you’re looking for visual art with a Jamaican flair that is based completely on worshipful passages of Scripture, then look no further than Thru His Vessel JB. This, of course, is the pseudonym for Jen Ben, a Jamaican American artist who feels that every part of her visual art – including the artist’s signature – is an opportunity for ministry.
“I use the name Thru His Vessel JB because my initials are “JB” and because I am God’s tool when it comes to making art,” JB explains. “When I sign my work, I want people to see that it is not me, but God coming through me as a willing vessel to make art. It’s like you buying a pen and loving the way it writes, but knowing that your hand is controlling it. I am the pen that God likes to use.”
JB has loved art ever since she was a little girl, but was inspired to paint during an especially meaningful time of worship. “From that moment on, God showed me that the visual arts can be used for worship, just like singing and dancing,” the artist explains. “I got excited about this vision from God and painted my first worship piece on July 20, 2009. My piece was entitled The Lamp, which was based on Psalm 119:105. In the five years since then, I have created over 110 pieces of art.”
JB – July 20, 2009
“Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
JB admires the work of Monet, and the way he was able to take such a small color palette and transform it into gorgeous Impressionist paintings full of rich textures. She also follows artists of Caribbean and African American descent. “I am a Jamerican (Jamaican and American),” she explains, “and I like to use the colors I see as part of my roots and upbringing in New York City.”
When preparing to work on a new artistic piece, JB listens for the Holy Spirit to provide inspiration regarding what to paint and what types of materials to use. “The last three projects I created were based on conversations with God through Scripture and my status as a single Christian at that moment,” JB shares. “My future projects will be based on everyday things we face as believers today and people as a whole. With each project, I never get bored.”
While it is obvious that this artist’s faith plays a major role in her creative process, I had to ask what role she feels her faith plays in her life as an artist. “My faith is everything!” she exclaims. “I’m not saying that I would not make art for the sake of art. That brings creativity, but even with that it is best to show the glory of God. God is Himself an Artist. For example, just look at the wonder of this world – nature, the colors of the sky. Every day is different – no day is the same. The colors in the sky are of different patterns, even if you compare different days at the same time.”
Without the relationship she shares with Christ, JB finds it difficult to imagine being an artist. “I express my frustrations to Christ in my art,” she says. “Whenever I am feeling down, inspired, or simply grateful – it is somehow implemented in my art.”
Like most artists, JB is convinced that art has the power to change people’s lives. “Art is not only powerful, but a ministry,” she explains. “I know quite a few people have benefited from seeing my work, because they know God is in it. It makes me proud to make art to magnify His name.”
For her fellow Christian artists, JB offers this bit of advice: “Don’t compare yourself with other artists. Do well with what you’ve got and I can assure you that you will prosper, especially with God in it! You’ve just got to be consistent. Don’t’ make one piece and expect people to discover it. Keep making art and sharpening your skills. People will see how beautiful and impactful it is because you made it. No one else can make it like you do.”
If you’d like to purchase one of JB’s worship-based paintings, there will be an online auction from January 19 – January 25, 2015 at this address: http://32auctions.com/jbwrshppaintings
Other portraits are available for purchase at http://fawmadeportraits.com .
For regular updates on JB’s artistic ventures, feel free to check out her blog at http://thruhisvesseljb.com .
“God is Himself an Artist. For example, just look at the wonder of this world – nature, the colors of the sky. Every day is different – no day is the same. It is best to show the glory of God.”