LeAnne Martin
Christians in the Arts

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ned Bustard, Part 2: Must Reads

Sorry, folks. I’m a little late posting today due to technical difficulties. Here’s the conclusion of my interview with Ned Bustard.

Ned Bustard is the owner of an illustration and graphic design firm called World’s End Images (www.worldsendimages.com). He received his B.A. in art from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He has done work for various clients ranging from the Publication Society of the Reformed Episcopal Church, White Horse Inn, and Young Life, to ICI Americas, Macy’s West and Armstrong World Industries. He was the art director for the late, great, alternative Christian music publication, Notebored Magazine. Much of his current work is for Veritas Press, for whom he has also written a number of books including Legends & Leagues or Mr Tardy Goes From Here to There, The Sailing Saint, Ella Sings Jazz, and a historic novel Squalls Before War: His Majesty’s Schooner Sultana. In his spare time, he is the creative director for Square Halo Books (http://www.squarehalobooks.com/). He currently is living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with his wife, Leslie, and three daughters, Carey, Maggie and Ellie.

LM: Let’s talk about the arts books you've published. Would you recommend starting with a certain one or just picking one and plunging in?

I'd suggest people begin by reading Art for God's Sake by P. Ryken or Schaeffer's Art and the Bible. All our books assume you have read something like one of those. After that, read It was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God and then Objects of Grace: Conversations on Faith and Creativity by James Romaine. First you read about what artists think about art and faith, and then you read about how artists have worked out their art and faith in specific bodies of work. And there is overlap between books in regards to the artists represented which is very enjoyable. Then I'd read Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith and Mystery, followed by Light at Ground Zero. Then it would be Faith and Vision: Twenty-Five Years of Christians in the Visual Arts, MMAP and The Art of Sandra Bowden.

LM: What's next for Square Halo? Will there be a new book coming out soon?

Books take a long time to make especially when you have a "day job." We have a book on baptism in development and a few in the conception stage. Then there is the running list of titles I'd like to have us do, along with a bunch of artists that I'd like to give the The Art of Sandra Bowden treatment. But that all takes time and money. In a perfect world we'd come out with one or two theological works before we did any more art books, since we started as a theological press.

LM: Speaking of, let’s talk about your day job. You also run a graphic design firm. What do you enjoy most about graphic design?

My "tagline" for my graphic design company is "Committed to Making the World a More Beautiful Place—One Project at a Time." I think that is one of the big reasons I like graphic design. There is so much ugly in the world. I like to make people's lives more beautiful. I also love type. And logos thrill me. And... well, I feel like you're asking me what I like most about chocolate. "Because it is so ... umm ... chocolaty." Maybe I am too close to it so I can't give you a decent answer to this question. There is a delightful new book that deals with this topic well: Graphic Design and Religion: A Call for Renewal by Daniel Kantor. A must read. (After, of course, Art for God's Sake by Phillip Ryken and It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God.) But I guess if people are reading this blog they must have already read those two books! I am tutoring a high school senior right now in graphic design and I made her read all three of those titles. And Objects of Grace: Conversations of Creativity and Faith by the brilliant James Romaine. If we had more time I would assign her other books to read like Jeremy Begbie's Voicing Creation's Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts, Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water, Flannery O'Connor's Mystery and Manners, Nicholas Wolterstorff's Art in Action, Ted Prescott's A Broken Beauty, Calvin Seerveld's Rainbows for the Fallen World, and The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers--just to name a few. But it's just art. We can't have Beauty getting in the way of Math or Science or other really important things!

Perhaps through graphic design I get to make Beauty an important thing. Or I at least make it pragmatic. Useful Beauty? It sounds crass when I say it that way. But with graphic design I am able to love my neighbor by making their world more beautiful. And I can love the Church, making her more beautiful in ways that they can accept, and with much less education than is required for them to appreciate most fine art. Graphic design also allows you to "Save As" and "Undo"—two things, the lack of which, keep me from enjoying fine art more.

Dick Staub, author of The Culturally-Savvy Christian and one of my interviews for this blog, endorsed It was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God at www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/november/29.81.html.

Coming soon: a new look and more great interviews. Thanks for your support!

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