Vision & Values: IOS Studios (Ian O'Sullivan)
Question: How can I use my creative gifting to serve God? How can I use my artwork (photography, writing, etc) to build a ministry that glorifies God? How can I use art to share the gospel in a way that makes sense to the mind of a modern secular person?
My story is one of a person who discovered God through the path of creative exploration. For me the "creative process" is the most natural way to understand God and explain God to others. My photographs document my life long search to find meaning in this world. They provide a vivid illustration of my personal journey through many physical and spiritual landscapes. Yet all of my work points to the final discovery that ultimate meaning is found beyond this world, in the arms of God.
In the past years many people have asked to purchase my photographs, but I always chosen to give them as gifts. Now I feel like its time to explore the possibility to distribute my work on a larger scale, with the intention of glorifying God in the process.
My vision is to create a business/ministry that sells photographic prints directly to customers. My goal is to create highly affordable "artwork" that people can collect and personally own. My target audience is the masses of people who do not own any work of original art, either because of lack of interest, awareness, or the money to afford it.
My strategy is to de-mystify the artwork and de-glorify the artist by shifting the focus onto the viewer and stressing the importance of their personal response and experience of the artwork. My goal is not to use art not as an end, but as the means to inspire people to live more creative lives. "Inspiring people to live creatively" is the guiding motto of the IOS business/ministry. I hope to accomplish it by providing artwork that is highly affordable, personal, and accessible for everyday people.
Selling artwork provides a unique opportunity to build long-term relationships with the people who collect the artwork. Ideally I would like to create IOS as a self-sustaining business that would use the selling of art as a new method of spiritual outreach. For this reason the primary goal of the business is not motivated by financial or ego-based objectives. Selling artwork is, instead, viewed as a mechanism to gain access and credibility in the secular market and open up new channels of dialogue with a soul searching public. IOS artwork is targeted at the everyday people who are skeptical of religion but still hungry for something meaningful to believe in.
Our goal is to use artwork to inspire people to live more creative lives. Our strategy is to build new relationships with people by selling them affordable artwork that will appreciate in value. Over time we will share important pieces of our 'life philosophy' that underlies the artwork. The message of our faith will be embodied into different creative and inspirational formats such as music, video, visual poetry etc. Our style of work will resemble secular forms of art, decor, and entertainment—but it will be subtly and artfully infused with our world view and under-girded by our example of living a Christ-centered lifestyle."
—Ian O'Sullivan, 2007
When God's Redemption comes to the point of obedience in a human soul, it always creates.