Spraypaint scripture

Religion for the rest of us

By Dana Lacey

It took a little under a month to transform a dingy church parking lot into something to talk about. The United Church of Canada (UCC) gave a foursome of aerosol artists free reign over a church-sized canvas at Church and Shuter Streets, with one condition: they had to paint their faith.

They started in separate corners and met in the middle. Torontonian Mediah’s dynamic lines burst from a tiny mustard seed, a reference that Sunday schoolers and Buddhists might remember. Another local artist, Eliscer, reimagines the holy family while San Fransisco’s Siloette subtly inserts symbols from different religions: stained glass, native beads, hands clasped in prayer. Chor Boogie from San Diego explores his brand of colour therapy–if you stand back far enough, the myriad patterns reveal a face with a third all-seeing eye. “It’s both God’s mom and God’s dad,” he explains, “Hermaphrodite.”

Spray paint may not be the traditional medium of the sacred, but the church has been in the art business for centuries (think Michelangelo). The project–dubbed Paint Your Faith–is meant to spark conversation in people who might never enter a house of prayer, says Rev. Keith Howard of the UCC. “Our attempt to make sense of faith–our relation to the mysterious or the divine or the sacred–all of that can’t just happen through words and formulas. It doesn’t always happen Sunday morning in church. And that’s okay.”

Official unveiling Saturday, September 19th at noon.
Art by (starting at top left): Eliscer, Chor Boogie, Siloette, Mediah

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