Melissa: I would say a good 90% of my fan base disappeared. I expected many to do that, but not that many! It is interesting when you mention the name of Christ in your work, people who once were blown away actually turn away. At least I know that the ones that stayed love my work for what it is and respect the craft even if they don’t share my beliefs.Daniel: It’s a crazy time we live in when you tell someone you belive in Jesus, and just because of that they don’t want to follow your work anymore. If I told them I follow the tooth fairy they would still follow my work because they know its fake. However, the very people who don’t believe that Jesus is real are some of the people who stopped following my work, which by default proves by their actions the very person they don’t believe in.
M: I somehow knew all while growing up that I was like Alice eating pieces of food and growing too big for such a small house. I yearned to create art and to do it in a big way; especially in a small town in Indiana where art does not thrive. When Daniel came into my life he brought the side of me out that wanted to support others in the arts. The passion we both had for art was a natural and organic formation of what was then ‘Minds of a Modern Day Artist’ in 2006 to what is now MLoveizm.com in 2011. We were both burdened by the state of art in today’s society, and–being in such an amazing art mecca–it only made sense to fill that void. The art world is lacking in wholesome substance and we filled in that blank. Although we started out rocky back in 2006, bellied up in 2008, then rose again in God’s true purpose officially in 2011, the ride has been nothing but adventurous!D: When we joined forces and the Lord got ahold of our lives, supporting other artist was a given. For six years now we have been pouring all we have into Mloveizm with the resources we have been blessed with as artist ourselves. It’s been a real journey and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
After you had a better understanding of how you would go about it, what practical steps did you take to fulfilling His vision for you?
D: We created an open forum in which all artist can speak freely about what they believe and to share their art, build with each other, and grow. We knew this was necessary because Melissa has had several interviews from low brow art to high-end art in which she has taken the time to fill out all these interviews and she sends them back and they never respond back to her. I mean that’s just nuts! They contacted her because they enjoyed her art, but they want the art with out the person. That’s like buying a house but not wanting the key to go inside because the walls are green and you have a problem with that color.M: We began by building up our site on a foundation that could withstand the updates and traffic both physically and spiritually! With the contacts we have gained in the industry we began spreading the word and letting people know we’re open for submissions. We categorized our features so that anyone could submit no matter what they do or believe, but we truly felt there should be a place where Christian Artists can do what they do and speak freely about their inspirations and beliefs. Many may think that all magazines out there are doing this for artists, but we know differently. MLoveizm is a magazine looking to fill that void for today’s relevant artists who are creating from their experiences with substance and skill. We even showcase artists who are not necessarily living off of their art but love to doodle or create in their spare time in our ‘Reader Art’ section.
D: It’s all a blessing because what would personally take us a year can be done in a month with the right people in place. We both run our own companies that involve our art and we would like to see all artist become as fortunate as we are in the resources we have been blessed with. And we LOVE WHAT WE DO. We work like crazy and we have to tell ourselves, “Ok, we need to take a break.” We want to enjoy each other out side of what we do, and that is so important because we can get lost in our work. That’s not healthy for any relationship.M: We are now prayerfully gearing up to add more members to our crew. We are so grateful to have a team that is equally as passionate about the arts, and who have the same anguish for the spiritual health of today’s youth. In working with them, we have finally been allowed to get back to the canvas as well as focus on some big upcoming projects and online shops while thinking of ways to continue to incorporate other artists in the plans. It is always a learning experience and we are truly grateful for it because that is some of the true fruit of our labor in learning how to better serve others and spiritually mature.
Speaking of getting back to the canvas; many people think that “Christian” artwork only contains crosses, Jesus, doves, etc. The artists you feature have more edgy work, so how have your viewers reacted to this?
M: For the most part we have had great feedback internally with the incoming emails. People that were once hopeless have been brought back to that hope and inspiration to create. Our Spotlight Artists only paint, speak, sing, tattoo, etc. what is real to them, and in doing so others can relate. Growing up, the church didn’t really nourish this ‘member’ of the body and we are looking to fill that void. Art is where all great revolutions, movements and change starts. I paint situations I have personally gone through and combine that with the Bible. You can’t ignore the dark and ugly parts. Jesus met many of His followers in these dark moments…that is where we are called to meet them as well.D: There is a place for every type of art, but we don’t feel we are called to create that kind. Every one has their own interpretation of things and we are here to nurture the freedom in creating what you think, even if it’s dark and crazy. We often get put in the middle as some of our Christian viewers are like, “That’s too dark” and the world is saying, “That’s too Jesus”. Well, one of the reasons for MLoveizm is so we can discuss the middle, the left, right, up and down. When you go to school you don’t just learn one subject because you agree with it and ignore the others…so why do that with art?
I agree that everyone has a voice and should be able to express it. What is most rewarding about this calling God has given you?
D: Being able to work, build, and live with my wife Melissa through Christ in order to reach these artist, and also meeting new artist and building beautiful relationships.
M: Seeing lives touched is the most rewarding. Even when response is negative, we know that the art is striking cords and asking the audience to think outside the norm. It is such a blessing to be able to do for others what we know will help to prosper them. We can’t thank God enough for giving us this vision and the help we need to get the job done. We are in our element with the arts and we know how off beat and sensitive this group can be, not excluding ourselves. Although much has been given, much is required and so we are always thankful for the prayer. There is no way we could have done it without the rest of the body of Christ.
This journey has had a lot of uphill battles for you two. Let us in on some of the struggles you have faced throughout these past several years.
M: What we thought would be difficult turned out not to be difficult at all. We were seriously asking God to provide artists in the ‘low brow’ or underground scene for this Spotlight section He had envisioned us with. After we did everything we could in the natural and through prayer to fulfill this call, God began showing us His end of the deal. That next week He brought us together with our first puzzle piece–and now life long friends. We were praying for a Christian editor and an animator to get ready for MLoveizm TV. As I was shooting a model (Kytia L’amour), I came to find out she was an editor and her husband (Jerrell Conner) was an animator!!! You can’t tell me God isn’t amazing!This–among many other ‘miracles’–has shown us that we are on track and has encouraged us throughout a path that sometimes seems invisible. Nothing in school could have prepared us for just going in head first. We have had a handful of potential investors wanting to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at our companies, but–after prayer–we never had peace with those people or what they stood for. God has been providing just like He said He would. In this process, our faith has grown stronger and we know none of this would be possible without Him.
D: It’s been such a ride and we grow closer to God because we rely on him and BAM! he does it every time bigger and better than we would have thought. It’s like walking and then there is a huge wall and you can’t keep moving forward. You either make it more difficult by dwelling on how high it is or just start climbing it to get to the other side.
D: Please SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT MLOVEIZM.COM. On the business side of things, we are experiencing growing pains and need more man power and resources to do that.
M: We also ask– for those who feel led– to pray for the hearts of our team members. Secondly we ask that you pray for the art industry in general. Third we would love for people to start spreading the word about the MLoveizm.com Facebook page and share our posts about Artists and MLoveizm TV where we interview artists one on one. And finally, we are currently getting our donate button up, so those who feel led to donate please do! We are raising funds to expand our team, fund projects, and go global as far as shows and marketing.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping to get you this far?
M: Thank you God for your Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who guides us. Without your hand over our lives we may have not made it out of the wilderness alive, and now you have blessed us beyond our dreams! Thank you to my parents who have supported what I do even though sometimes they don’t understand. A huge thank you to my husband who has taught me so much about so much, supporting me, correcting me and uplifting me. Thank you to my true friends who have become closer than family, I am surrounded by great men and women of God, you all are inspirations in my life!D: Jesus, Wife, Family, Friends, and Kytia for such a great interview.