The 52 Project – An 1890 Bible

This section is about a visual art journal project I participated in during 2017 – 2018, called the 52 Project. It was part of a year long program at a local museum, The Riverside Art Museum in Riverside, California. The goals of the program were to gather a group of creative people together in order to find inspiration and motivation from one another during the self-directed journaling project. It also sought to move participants deeper into all that art and culture have to offer through their journaling and encounters with each other. The participants sought to develop the habit of capturing ideas and being more artful on a regular basis.

I chose to use for my journal an 1890 large format Bible. I bought the Bible on eBay for $50. It has a heavy, embossed leather cover with metal clasps. It measures 10” x 12” x 4.” It also came with a commentary and some black & white illustrations. It was in fairly good condition, considering its age. My plan for journaling in it was to use different media to interpret 30 to 40 biblical passages by working directly on the pages of the Bible. I used pencil, pen & ink, collage techniques, origami, mixed media, gold ink and colored pencil. I did the visuals on one page and on the facing page I wrote about the passage and my artistic process.

I see God as the ultimate Artist and us, still bearing God’s image even in our fall, as artists writ small. The Bible is a book written by the creator God, spoken through God’s creative if sometimes broken people. It is designed to recalibrate our worldview and reconnect us with God. Only then can God’s power work through us as we fill – creatively and lovingly – the roles that contribute to God’s work toward new creation, which is a part of the purpose for which we were made and by which we thrive. . . . . I have noticed, as an artist prone to looking on from the margins, that churches often present the middle two elements (fall and redemption) but rarely connect the whole story of the Bible – that begins in creation and ends in new creation – with the stories of our present lives and communities. We often misuse this great book, reducing it to a book of rules, a checklist for earning our way into heaven, or a guidebook for material prosperity or personal well-being, Many churches replace God as Artist with God as CEO of the universe and turn to business metrics to measure their “success” at meeting his “bottom lines.” 

[Makoto Fujimura, Culture Care, 95]