This is the first post in a series that will explore the people that have inspired me as an artist. These are the people that have shaped me, and continue to shape me, into what I am. They have inspired me: I hope they inspire you too.
I have grown up with Ron DiCianni in the home. His painting In the Garden has sat above the mantle for years, Never Alone has been hung in my bedroom and multiple books of his sat on the shelf. His work as a painter has long inspired me. For the last few years what has inspired me even more is his view of art, the Christian life, and that beautiful place where they meet.
"I am a Christian, cleverly disguised as an artist. " - Ron DiCianni
Ron DiCianni was almost not born. His mother was in the operating room to have him aborted when she heard an audible voice telling her to stop. She pushed away the needle and left the clinic. Ron's mother was not at that time a Christian. His grandmother, however, was one, and she had been praying for the baby.
As Ron grew, his gift in art, as well as his passion for Christ, became apparent. Though he had the dream early on to combine these passion it did not seem likely that such an aspiration would get off the ground. When he opened up about that dream to a Christian instructor while studying at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, he was told to drop it. The instructor believed Ron could never survive doing only "Christian" art. Best to direct his talent to the secular market, he said.
In the next years, Ron's work was highly successful. He earned national recognition through corporations such as ABC, NBC, The Smithsonian, McDonald's, and others.
When he was asked to be the official artist for the United States Olympic Committee for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games he thought he had it made. However, when President Jimmy Carter canceled the U. S. involvement in the games, those dreams came crashing down around him.
What Ron did not know at the time, was that it was all a part of God's plan to put him on the path that has lead to where he is today.
After the fall-through of the Olympics, Ron continued on. However, his old dream was now more present than ever. He felt that God was calling him to be part of a "Renaissance" of Christian art. After two decades of secular success, he was finally ready to surrender his carer and answer the call.
Ron shifted his work to painting for the Church. He painted scenes from Christian life as well as from the bible, a subject he says no artist could exhaust. He also began working with other Christian creators as well as mentoring, teaching, and inspiring artists from all walks of life.
This is his work to the present day. He continues to both produce works for the King and to help lead movements calling others to do the same with the talents God has given them.
"I realize that any painting can make you look. I'm hoping that mine will help you see." - Ron DiCianni
There is a popular phrase among some Christian creative circles that goes "I am a musician/painter/artist/etc. who happens to be a Christian."
The life of Ron DiCianni has inspired me and continues to inspire me, to go beyond this. I am not a photographer who happens to be a Christian. I am a Christian that, by the grace of God, gets to be a photographer.
J. C. Strange
Soli Deo Gloria
This article would not have been possible without the kind people at Tapestry Productions.