On Baptised by Blood (Part 1)

I did what I set out to do, and I did it really well. So why do I feel so lost?

Finishing a project of this magnitude feels like a break up. It’s exciting and consuming, and then all of a sudden it’s over. All of a sudden there is nothing. There is nothing left to occupy my thoughts and my heart. After a breakup, one is left piecing a broken heart back together, rubbing fingers along the sharp edges to feel the intensity of the pain which seems to lend value of the now broken relationship.

With art the pain is similar, but there is completion. Something whole and real has been extracted from my soul for all to see. In my minds eye it looks like a giant, sharp piece of obsidian that’s been painfully pulled from my center leaving me empty and breathless. I look at the photos and reread my thesis in the same way one traces the raw edges of a broken heart. I want to feel the weight of it in my chest again, the emptiness hasn’t brought the relief I expected.

I was asked to write a reflection on Baptised by Blood, but I just can’t do it. Not yet. It’s too close. I am still too stunned.

What I can say is that I set out on an academic pursuit to find a space between art and religious practice. I think I found it. I set out to make work that is intelligent but accessible. I did that. I set out to raise the money to make a huge installation happen. We did that. I set out to make work that is personal and honest and painful and sacrificial. I gave it everything.

My hope now is that it was worth it. That it brought joy and honor to the Father. That it started conversation and interest and thought. And that somehow, someway that project will pave the way for future projects.

(Photos from the installation will be live on CaseyMacKenzie.co.uk this week.)

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The Vision 2.0

Back in March while I was in the 24-7 Prayer room I wrote my own version of The Vision.

Today I am feeling exceptionally low. I am tired and I have nothing left to give- and a lot left to do. I’m in a place where I’m not convinced dream chasing is all it’s cracked up to be. Swan diving into the unknown is easy (for me). Landing and climbing the next mountain is so hard. And it’s even harder when you live 5000 miles from your mom.

Anyway, I reread my vision tonight. I suppose I still stand by it, but I am becoming seriously concerned about the cost. Can’t I be both extraordinary and ordinary? Can I be an expert and an innovator in my field, can I have a big airy studio in a cottage with a mortgage and a partner and a family? If I can’t have it all I’m not convinced I want any of it.

I understand now why not so many people chase their dreams. Dream chasing is really freaking hard. It’s exhausting and it’s lonely, and it’s scary.


What is the Vision?

The Vision is Spirit. It’s art.

The Vision is art that moves. Art that brings glory to His name. Art that breaks down barriers. Breaks down the walls between art & God & fashion & culture. Art that inspires and defines. Art that is intelligent.

(The spirit in me. Moving me. Making me. Driving my ideas.)

The vision is a spacious white studio with lots of windows & a big table & large format Epson printer. The Vision is not held back by earthly things. By bureaucracy or by lack of funding & resources.

The Vision is multimedia art installations driven by photography & washed in the Spirit. The Vision is exhibitions that give life & change life.

The Vision does not follow the rules. It is loved & reviled across media & spheres of culture. Hated by churches, loved by critics. Loved by Christians, hated by bloggers. Moving between spheres of influence as easily & seamlessly as changing clothes.

The Vision is success & visibility but in love & humility. The Vision can handle attention & bad press. The Vision gives all the work & the glory & the pain to God.

The Vision works hard. Loves hard. Gives everything.

The Vision is fulfilling.

The Vision is not alone.

(The Vision is probably really messy.)

“You make beautiful things out of the dust.” Gungor

I’ve been in London for just over four months. I am completely, utterly, fantastically, miraculously happy and in love with this city. Every morning feels a bit like Christmas and I regularly find myself looking out the bus window/coming out of the underground/walking out my front door and just marveling at this life I lead.

Albert Bridge LondonI expected to love it here (why would I move 5,000 miles otherwise!?), what I didn’t expect is for it to be so good. I didn’t expect to find the most amazing church and meet the MOST wonderful people so fast. What I didn’t expect was to see the hard things of the last several years (YWAM, my road trip, Haiti) to suddenly fall into place and make sense. What I didn’t expect is for God to “repay [me] for the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25). I didn’t expect restoration and such complete joy.

(I am, however, expecting winter to kick my ass.)

Today I started my graduate program at London College of Fashion. Today I was encouraged to blog and explore and collaborate, and ask questions, and to embrace life in London by the best dressed faculty in the world (probably). This week is induction week, so I won’t get to the brass tacks of my program for a couple weeks yet, but I am so excited to be here and to be embarking on this journey here and now. I plan to embrace it with every fiber of my being.

I can’t believe this is my real life.

London

London, London. Where do I even begin? London is exactly where I belong. It’s a dream come true, a job well done. London is an exciting new place: new friends, new experiences, and old fires restored. London is my future. London is home.

GreenwichHonestly, it’s hard to even explain the wealth of experience and blessing happening in my life right now. It doesn’t seem fair. I live in a beautiful home with a wonderful housemate. I have several really wonderful friends- some old, some new. I found my church home and have already started connecting. And, most importantly, when I wander the streets of London I am falling irrevocably in love. The bustle, the busses, the quiet mews and the ancient trees, the bricks and the vines and the cobblestones… It’s all so rich and so right.

I am sure that eventually I will be homesick and will get sick of eating beans on toast (ok, probably not)… but for now, though I love my friends and family at home deeply, there is no where on God’s green earth I would rather be. I am quite literally living my dreams, and it is better than I could have imagined. 

Relocation: A celebration! Then the hard part.

Hooray! I had my grad check today with the head of my department… and good news! I only have one quarter left! It’s going to be a really heavy load, but I know I can do it. It is going to feel so good to finally be done!

Making my graduation date official was phase one of the big move. Phase two: figure out how to move to the UK legally- not an easy task. After a couple hours of research I’ve concluded that I either need £50,000 to be an entrepreneur, a job offer from a company willing to sponsor my visa, or to go to grad school over there (and prove I have the finances to pay for it without working). Daunting to say the least.

I know there are programs out there that will sponsor a visa for paid internships so I am looking into that… anyone have any other resources?

Life Goal

I had to write this for school today so I thought I would share….

LIFE GOAL- When your life is over what do you want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as someone who lived life to the fullest. Someone who saw the world and fell in love with it. Someone who saw the world her own way and was able to convey the beauty and the excitement she saw with her lens.

I want to be remembered as a loving mother, a fun and thoughtful wife and the greatest travel companion one has ever had.

I want to be remembered as a dear friend or a random stranger whose door was always open and who connected people with new friends and exciting opportunities all over the world.

I want to be remembered as someone who changed lives and made the world a better place.