Duncan Stewart – a man after creativity
“My life and artwork are more than a message.” Duncan Stewart
“My life and artwork are more than a message; I hope that when people view my work, they recognise within themselves an unlimited potential to be creative to take more risks and for my work to evoke courage and a sense of hope in individuals. I would like for people who see my work, to want to get home as soon as possible to begin something they have always wanted to and now have had the initial kick start through seeing my work,” enthused Duncan.
A collaboration in creativity
When I first broached sharing a singular piece of artwork for my book, Duncan’s response was immediately positive. We both prayed about it to see if it could work. I was thrilled when we peace settled in our hearts, and we began the discussions about fear, healing and creativity.
My dream for Courage in the Fire is that people are inspired to grow and heal from fears that hold them back in life. Because creativity is a high value for our family, I thought that hope and healing can come not only through my words but through the images scattered throughout the book. Duncan’s work is both profound and deeply spiritual. His artworks can act as a catalyst to the reader’s heart and mind.
When I asked Duncan about creativity, he had this to say: “I am passionate about creativity because I believe there is a very real, and largely overlooked correlation between creativity and living well or well being. I believe the relationship between creativity and imagination mirrors faith. As every person has a measure of faith in something or someone, to greater and lesser degrees, so this is true for every person having a measure of creativity. But just as faith with works is dead or empty…so too imagination without any application is completely fruitless. You can be the most imaginative person, but if nothing comes from your imaginings, what’s the point? However, when we apply our imagination – these original ideas, in a way that adds value – we are being creative. Creativity is applied imagination. Faith without works is therefore like imagination while faith with works-application is creativity. To put it the other way around, creativity is faith with works.”
Have a look at some of the images below. You will find these in Courage in the Fire as they reflect the intention of the chapters they precede.
Duncan says that the miracle of salvation inspires him. “It is the ultimate impetus for all my work. Sometimes overtly using a literal language but more often than not, I prefer to employ common, everyday imagery and subject matter in an attempt to express the gospel, using visual parables. Beauty, as found in God’s creation is another source of inspiration for me – in particular where the energies of nature intersect with the existence and ingenuity of humankind – where man and nature co-labour for the greater good. AN example is sailing – wind and water harnessed in an explosive relationship of speed and adrenalin through human technology.”
When I spoke to Duncan about the title, and he read the manuscript, he immediately identified with it and expressed a heartfelt desire to see people freed from fear. He and I both experienced the power of fear and anxiety and could walk into freedom from it over time. Courage to conquer fear!
Here is some of Duncan’s story of how he experienced courage in one of life’s fires:
I proposed to the wrong girl. Or rather, I asked a girl to marry me whom God had set apart for someone else, and the minute I did the peace of God left me. This was not something I had entered into lightly either, but rather had faithfully fasted and prayed about this huge decision. For eight months, I wrestled with God, myself, thoughts, outside opinions, friends and family….a real cauldron of anxiety. Ultimately, God’s pressing conviction on my heart gave me the courage to call off the engagement, facing the family fallout and unbearable pain that my actions would, and did, cause.
But God gave me this supernatural wisdom and courage to navigate that fire in a way that I can only testify was by his grace and power. It wasn’t a year after that that I met and married my soul mate and one of God’s very best daughters.
Just the other day, I shared how, inside of each one of us, we carry the seed of potential and dreams embedded in our hearts. We only need to water those seeds, nourish the dreams and have the courage to risk trying it out.
Duncan expressed that somewhere deep inside of him resides a belief, a boyish sense of adventure that sees a man, an artist becoming a vessel used by God to reconcile the lost to the Father. “My dream is to bring God maximum glory through my heart and art and life. And that starts with maximum obedience, which ofttimes comes through suffering…or the fire. I can say more definitely than ever before in my life, that nothing compares to the all-surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus.”
To follow Duncan’s story and life, go to his website and social media pages. Better yet, buy some of his art!
Based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the incredible diversity and scope of Duncan Stewart’s art is a good indicator of what inspires this artist. Duncan works across various media but predominantly in painting, drawing and sculpture. He developed his visual language early on by studying design. He has a National Diploma in Graphic Design. After that, Duncan moved to Italy to train further with the equivalent of a B.F.A. from the Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute in Florence.
He describes his art as a holy discontent that ceaselessly fuels his creative exploration into the life lived by faith in Christ. Duncan has shared his growing understanding of the relationships between imagination and faith not only through his art but also through engaging individuals and organisations on various platforms.
For more about Duncan, visit his website at https://duncanstewart.co.za/