“Good theology must have good art,” said Abner Campos. The senior theology major believes that in a culture that relies so heavily on visual communication, the church must activly use art and design as a means to share the gospel.
Campos kicks off the 2017 season of senior art projects in the McClelland Art Gallery on November 27. His exhibit won’t have a specific theme, but is an amalgamation of personal art work using graphic design on printed paper. The total project represents two years worth of work and will be on display until December 15.
Aa a theology major, Campos believes that art and design have become integral to the growth and development of the church. “I picked up graphic design along the way because I believe art is the megaphone of the universe,” said Campos, who is currently serving as a pastoral intern in Colorado. “Art communicates to everyone because it’s natural to the human experience. Anatomy and physiology only matter if students can see and understand what their textbook is communicating about the human body––internally and externally. The average person cannot understand the architecture of the cosmos, but they can understand circles and spheres and color that shape the way we see the universe. Art empowers everyone to do what they’re called to do better.”
Campos also believes art can help the church in terms of branding. As an example, he pointed to Just Jesus a student-run Sabbath school program held on campus every Saturday morning during the school year. The ministry focuses on applying Biblical lessons to everyday situations and how the Bible can still be relevant to modern life. Campos said the giving Just Jesus a brand gave it an identifiable face to pair with its mission and helped the ministry grow.
His inspiration came from his own experience attending a small Spanish church. Evey week he noticed a distorted picture of Jesus on the bulletin board—one that had been printed so that is was stretched in an unrealistic way. The distortion had always annoyed Campos, but he concluded that he couldn’t complain unless he was willing to do something about it.
The exhibit will be comprised of Campos’s portfolio of logos, posters and personal works. Campos describes his style as “modern, minimal, geometric and simple.” He mainly used Apple’s Illustration to create his projects, which he described as being “his best friend” in graphic design, along with the Adobe Kuler color wheel.
Campos came to Union because he felt called. “I couldn’t deny the conviction to study theology in a school that encourages practical ministry.” During his senior year of high school, he saw some of the artwork by Union student Zack Posthumus (now a graduate) on Instagram. Seeing the exhibit got him interested in using art for everyday life. Campos didn’t use the idea much his freshman year, instead focusing theology classes. Thw next year, he tailored his class schedule to fit design classes. While Campos is not holding his exhibit for senior credit, he hopes his art will be a preview into what the future holds for the church and how designers will be able to connect with new audiences.
The McClelland Art Gallery is located in the Ortner Center at Union College and is open to the public daily from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
By Elizabeth Bearden, student writer