Letter to Artists
By John Paul the Great Catholic University
Letter to ArtistsFeb 28, 2023
Eps. 20 - SEASON FINALE - Letter to Writers: Tara Stone
"In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable." (St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
In our SEASON 1 FINALE, join Tara Stone as she shares with us her beautifully unique story as her life as screenwriter and consecrated virgin. This niche mix landed the attention of a production company which followed her journey to her Vocation producing a documentary called "Song of Songs: the Journey of a Consecrated Virgin". You can find it available to rent/buy on Amazon - https://bit.ly/3mMnc8U
Eps. 19 - Letter to Film Artists
"Even beyond its typically religious expressions, true art has a close affinity with the world of faith, so that, even in situations where culture and the Church are far apart, art remains a kind of bridge to religious experience. In so far as it seeks the beautiful, fruit of an imagination which rises above the everyday, art is by its nature a kind of appeal to the mystery. Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption." (St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
Film... Artist? ... yes! Two of them! Mark Westin and Peter Gonzalez are men of many talents in the art of film - I couldn't squeeze their time into one topic! Mark Westin, winning Best Cinematographer in the JPCatholic Winter Film Festival and co-writing the screenplay, "No Reception" that was just chosen to be produced as JPCatholic's second feature film, talks about his successful journey as a screenwriter and cinematographer, his roots in photography and his future goals to further develop his skills as a director. Check out his work: https://www.mpjwestin.com/ Peter Gonzalez shares his knowledge in producing, screenwriting and directing, coming off of his win as Best Director in the JPCatholic Winter Film Festival. With a love for storytelling and a background in journalism, Peter took a turn toward the world of creative narratives and finds himself exploring the dark night of the soul in his works. Both men share powerful insights about the snippet from the Letter to Artists encyclical... you'll want to hear it yourself...play to listen!
Eps. 18 - Letter to Gaffers
"These forms portray not only the genius of an artist but the soul of a people. In the play of light and shadow, in forms at times massive, at times delicate, structural considerations certainly come into play, but so too do the tensions peculiar to the experience of God, the mystery both “awesome” and “alluring" (St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
Gaffing? What the heck is that? Listen to find out! These two experienced gaffers, Cian Magner and Robert Vance, share the ways that light, or lack there of has influenced their job on a film set... as well as their spiritual lives.
Eps. 17 - Letter to Songwriters
"In shaping a masterpiece, the artist not only summons his work into being, but also in some way reveals his own personality by means of it. For him art offers both a new dimension and an exceptional mode of expression for his spiritual growth. Through his works, the artist speaks to others and communicates with them. The history of art, therefore, is not only a story of works produced but also a story of men and women. Works of art speak of their authors; they enable us to know their inner life, and they reveal the original contribution which artists offer to the history of culture." (St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
In this episode, lovely ladies, Sophia Sariego and Lily Blando share all about songwriting! With two unique styles, both of these women have found a way to connect with God through this gift. Lily, sharing her artistic abilities with her earthly dad has found a parallel to her Heavenly Father's delight in her. Sophia, being drawn to the poetry of her craft has found a deeper insights into the Word of God. Listen now!
Eps. 16 - Letter to Editors
"Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and its aura of mystery." (St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
In this episode, editors change their scene - from behind the screen to behind the mic...and what a gift it is! Join me as I sit with two intelligent post-production majors from John Paul the Great Catholic University as they share deep insights on the craft of editing as well as powerful reflections on the faith. From editing short films to feature lengths, collaborating with the director and other editors, Simon Michael and the brilliant Abbie Ross share about their skill set, their most influential editors and their relationship with God through this call to post-production.
Eps. 15 - Letter to Painters
"God therefore called man into existence, committing to him the craftsman's task. Through his "artistic creativity" man appears more than ever 'in the image of God,' and he accomplishes this task above all in shaping the wondrous 'material' of his own humanity and then exercising creative dominion over the universe which surrounds him." (St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
In this episode, we chat about all things painting! Sarah Gruber, student at JPCatholic shares a beautiful insight about how God speaks to her in the littleness of her gift, feeling like a child offering her Father, the master artist, a painting replicating His work to hang on the fridge. Later in the episode, Karissa Williams explains her love of retablos from her native city in New Mexico. We also dive into painting as an articulation of the heart.
Eps. 14 - Letter to Graphic Designers
"Every genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality's surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery. The intuition itself springs from the depths of the human soul, where the desire to give meaning to one's own life is joined by the fleeting vision of beauty and of the mysterious unity of things." (St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
In this episode, we are chatting with two Graphic Designers who share about the way that their form of art draws a customer into the mystery of a company's "beauty" through the first glance, hoping to compel to go deeper into the mystery of the event/company/business/product etc...! First, Maya Hajdu, student of John Paul the Great Catholic University shares her experience is producing the preliminary (season 1) logo for THIS podcast! We could not have gotten the show up and running without her volunteering her time and artistic designs. We are so grateful for her talents. Maya shares about her experiences learning the process of graphic design to communicate a message through the simplicity of a glance. Later in the show we are talking with Angie Lopez, an alumni of JPCatholic who now works as a graphic designer for the San Diego Air and Space Museum. She shares her thoughts on "God as the first designer" who communicates a message to us about Him through his creation (of the human person, nature, etc...).
Eps. 13 - Letter to Dancers
"Saint Francis of Assisi twice repeats in the chartula which he composed after receiving the stigmata of Christ on the mountain of La Verna: “You are beauty... You are beauty!”.(8) Saint Bonaventure comments: “In things of beauty, he contemplated the One who is supremely beautiful, and, led by the footprints he found in creatures, he followed the Beloved everywhere."" (St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
In this episode, I chat with dancers, Timothy Johnson and Megan Geier, both of whom were influenced by their background in acting. Tim Johnson speaks about the connection between the body and the soul, his experience growing in his spiritual health alongside his physical health as he went through his training. Megan Geier shares about her journey from acting, to dancing to choreographing and how that led her to perform at festivals, minor-league baseball games, the Disneyland Parade and coming soon her choreography will be presented at NASCAR! She and I spoke a lot about her life in the competitive world of dance, the struggles as well as the joys as God shows up in expected places. In both interviews, the topic of healing was a highlight, we pray the Lord uses your gifts to heal and sharpen your heart!
Eps. 12 - Letter to Writers
"The Holy Spirit, “the Breath” (ruah), is the One referred to already in the Book of Genesis: “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters” (1:2). What affinity between the words “breath - breathing” and “inspiration”! The Spirit is the mysterious Artist of the universe. Looking to the Third Millennium, I would hope that all artists might receive in abundance the gift of that creative inspiration which is the starting-point of every true work of art." (St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
In this episode, two insightful men sit down and talk all things writing. From poetry and sci-fi novels to the general writing process to the inspiration of Flannery O'Connor to reflections on the Gospels - university alumni Josh Peck and Taylor Williams share loads of wisdom and deep ponderings on the way that Jesus has found them through writing (whether that is their own or someone elses).
Eps. 11 - Letter to Social Media Evangelizers
Eps. 11 – Letter to Social Media Evangelizers
“The particular vocation of individual artists decides the arena in which they serve and points as well to the tasks they must assume, the hard work they must endure and the responsibility they must accept. Artists who are conscious of all this know too that they must labour without allowing themselves to be driven by the search for empty glory or the craving for cheap popularity, and still less by the calculation of some possible profit for themselves. There is therefore an ethic, even a “spirituality” of artistic service, which contributes in its way to the life and renewal of a people.” (St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
Because we’ve hit 10 episodes, we are giving YOU a gift! OUR VERY FIRST HOUR LONG SPECIAL. This week Chaldean priest and social media sensation, Fr. Simon Esshaki, joins Bailey in the studio sharing incredible insights about his social media evangelization experience. From shadow banning to success (17.2 MILLION likes on Tik Tok Success), Fr. Simon comments on his battles with Tik Tok and Instagram. He also reflects beautifully on the quote above, wrestling with the vanity and pride that come with his work by clinging to the “right order” of his duties as priest, professor and social media star. This is an episode you do not want to miss! Check it out! You can follow Fr. Simon Esshaki on Social Media - Tik Tok @father.simon Instagram: @father_simon
Eps. 10 - Letter to Cinematographers
“Every genuine art form in its own way is a path to the inmost reality of man and of the world. It is therefore a wholly valid approach to the realm of faith, which gives human experience its ultimate meaning. That is why the Gospel fullness of truth was bound from the beginning to stir the interest of artists, who by their very nature are alert to every “epiphany” of the inner beauty of things.” (St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
Cinematographers have a unique path view “the inmost reality of man” by their abilities to see and show the human person and the world through the lens of a camera. This week, Charley Blum, who currently works in Hollywood shares his experiences in the professional world, from working his way up in the camera department by learning multiple roles on a camera team. Then, Angelika Sowa joins us for some powerful reflections on her artistic call to highlight beauty from her point of view and to allow people to join her in awe of God’s creation. All you film junkies tune in!
Episode 9: Letter to Leaders
“Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece. It is one thing for human beings to be the authors of their own acts, with responsibility for their moral value; it is another to be an artist, able, that is, to respond to the demands of art and faithfully to accept art's specific dictates.” (St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
In this week's episode, we are joined by Creative Entrepreneur student, Luca Hoang and Professor of Leadership, Dr. Amanda LoCoco for an unconventional conversation regarding leadership as an art form. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all called to be leaders in some way - how can this also be an artistic call? Join us to find out! We encourage you to listen to our radio show Saturday mornings on JP2 Catholic Radio Station (San Diego) - You can check out the website for more info jp2radio.com
Eps. 8 Letter to Illustrators
"None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you." (St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
Illustrators Josh Martin and Mia Schaller join me to talk about how the Lord captivates them through the "hidden power of colors and shapes" in his creation of people and nature that stir them to reflect His Beauty through their talents in illustration. Tune in for an awesome conversation about the differences between traditional and digital illustration, storyboarding, the process of sitting down to "draw" and most fascinating...what inspires these young artists to create!
Eps. 7 - Letter to Producers
“In producing a work, artists express themselves to the point where their work becomes a unique disclosure of their own being, of what they are and of how they are what they are. And there are endless examples of this in human history. In shaping a masterpiece, the artist not only summons his work into being, but also in some way reveals his own personality by means of it.” (St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a feature film? Who gathers all the pieces? Who makes the tough decisions? In this week's episode, I am joined by Natalia Roberts - a student who shares about her experience producing student films, the skills necessary to be a good producer as well as the challenges and rewards of the job. In the second half of the show, I sit with Eleazar Palma - alumni and staff member who co-produces the Feature Film Program at JPCatholic - he shares about the process of producing a feature film and how God can be seen through the many one on one encounters that a producer must face.
Eps. 6 - Letter to Poets
“Obedient to their inspiration in creating works both worthwhile and beautiful, they [artists] not only enrich the cultural heritage of each nation and of all humanity, but they also render an exceptional social service in favour of the common good.” (St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists, 1999).
Obedient to their call from God, Stephen and Elisabeth Kramp have embraced their vocations to marriage, education and writing. From stories of their conversions, parenthood, and the way their work in writing (poetry, essays and more) have led them closer to the Creator, tune in to some insightful discussion on the grace to discern when to share and surrender of our artistic talents
Eps. 5 Letter to Filmmakers
"The divine Artist passes on to the human artist a spark of his own surpassing wisdom, calling him to share in his creative power." (St. John Paul II, "Letter to Artists" 1999.
Do you desire a life on set? Is God calling you to share His message through the film industry? Join filmmakers Katie Gerlach and Andrew Koltuniuk as they discuss the various hats they've worn on film sets - producer, director, cinematographer, actor, screenwriter, etc... Hear how this call to "share in the creative power" through multiple facets of film has brought them closer to the ultimate Creator and deepened their conviction to create media that is rooted in Truth, Beauty and Goodness.
Eps. 4 Letter to Musicians
“The Church also needs musicians. How many sacred works have been composed through the centuries by people deeply imbued with the sense of the mystery! The faith of countless believers has been nourished by melodies flowing from the hearts of other believers, either introduced into the liturgy or used as an aid to dignified worship. In song, faith is experienced as vibrant joy, love, and confident expectation of the saving intervention of God.” (St. John Paul II, "Letter to Artists" 1999.)
From the history of sacred music to the beauty of more contemporary praise and worship styles to scoring short films, this fun and fruitful episode features film composer Amaris Abraham and sacred music enthusiast Alec Williams who share about the role of music both inside and outside the Church.
Eps. 3 Letter to Screenwriters
“Works of art speak of their authors; they enable us to know their inner life, and they reveal the original contribution which artists offer to the history of culture.” (St. John Paul II, "Letter to Artists" 1999).
Join screenwriter Bella Lake as she discusses her journey to writing her first feature film script, O, Brawling Love! that was produced this year. She will share the challenges, excitement and how the Lord has been present in this creative calling. Then, hear from Jacob Woodward as he takes us through his experience writing, then directing his own short films - allowing the Lord to "reveal his inner life" to share impactful stories.
Eps. 2 Letter to Film Directors
In JPII's Letter to Artist's he states, "the divine Artist passes on to the human artist a spark of his own surpassing wisdom, calling him to share in his creative power."
This week, we are hearing from two JPCatholic student filmmakers, Alan Hewitt and Faustina Ortiz, who are choosing to follow the “spark of wisdom” that the Lord has placed in their hearts, hoping to transcend the culture by embracing this artistic call through film directing. Tune in for talk of how purposeful storytelling and intentional creativity can bring glory to God even without saying His name!
Eps. 1 Letter to Actors
"Human beings, in a certain sense, are unknown to themselves. Jesus Christ not only reveals God, but “fully reveals man to man”.(23) In Christ, God has reconciled the world to himself. The creation awaits the revelation of the children of God also through art and in art. This is your task. Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny." (JPII, Letter to Artists)
Actors Maria and Nick share about the art of acting, some differences between stage and screen, as well as how this form of art can act as a mirror for humanity, first revealing their own hearts, aiding them in their relationship with God.
Introduction to Letter to Artist
Host Bailey Garland introduces Letter to Artists. Produced by John Paul the Great Catholic University and in collaboration with JP2 Catholic Radio, Letter to Artists will air weekly on jp2radio.com Saturdays, 9-10 PST - just click "Listen Now." Catch the replay and re-listen to your favorite episodes here!