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Ron DiCianni Artist Trivia

 Christ-Centered Art
 would like to provide you
 the opportunity for to
 get to know our artists
 through art trivia.

 Currently we have the
 following trivia available
 for Ron DiCianni.

 Are you deliberately trying
 to hide things in your

 "I have never set out to
 hide anything in my
 work. Rather, there are
 elements of secondary
 and tertiary importance
 to the central theme
 represented in my work.

 "In a painting we lessen
 the importance of an
 element by changing its
 size, color, or rendering.
 The lesser elements
 become slightly obscure
 at that point. When a
 person 'discovers' them
 later, it can seem that
 the element was hidden.

 "This is why it is very
 important to study
 these paintings. When
 you think you have the
 overall theme — after
 you 'get it' — it can be
 exciting to discover
 related messages that
 will expand your
 appreciation for the
 things of God."

Ron DiCianni

Ron DiCianni
Ron DiCianni Biography

 Like the story of the prophet Jeremiah,
 mine began before I was born. My mother,
 now eighty-four, tells me that while
 pregnant, she had decided to terminate the
 pregnancy. Before the doctor had the
 chance to begin the procedure, apparently
 with an injection, she said she heard God
 "speak" to her, telling her that He had a
 plan for the baby inside her. She pushed
 the needle away at the last moment, walked
 out, and never looked back.

 While she was not a Christian at the time,
 my grandmother, who lived with us, was. I
 have to believe that my grandmother might
 have been praying from the moment my
 mother left the house that day.

 Throughout my growing years, God began to
 make my artistic gifts and His calling to
 use them for Himself clear to me. Once, at
 a youth evangelistic meeting with probably
 1,500 - 2,000 teens in attendance, the
 evangelist picked me out from the middle of
 the auditorium and called me to the front.
 He asked me if I was aware that God had
 chosen me. I said 'yes,' wondering how I
 was to explain this to the other kids on
 the van ride home.

 In 1967, I met a girl who would later
 become my only date and my wife, now of
 twenty-five years. Pat kept reminding me
 of the call for my life and demonstrated
 her belief in it by giving me my first set of
 paints and an easel.

 In 1970, after high school and on year of
 college, Pat and I decided to take a leap of
 faith and enroll me in the American Academy
 of Art in Chicago. Since my parents could
 not afford the tuition, Pat and I worked
 after school to pay the yearly fee. I was a
 church janitor, while Pat worked at an
 insurance company. By God's grace, I was
 accepted into the school. Pat and I agreed
 to test our decision with a six-month trial
 period. After six months, the instructors
 applauded my hard work and invested
 themselves in me. (I will always be
 particularly grateful for the years I spent
 under the teaching of Bill Parks, who to this
 day continues to monitor my career). Pat
 and I decided I should stay for the
 three-year course.

 God honored our decision with heavenly
 help, since it was shortly after this that
 my father died. I was called into the office
 about a week later and was told by the
 president of the school, watercolorist Irving
 Shapiro, that someone had donated money
 to the school, and they wanted to apply it
 to my next year's education. I thanked him
 in light of what had happened to my dad,
 feeling that his gracious offer was out of
 sympathy, to which he replied, 'I didn't
 know your father had passed away.' Looking
 back, I realize that God was providing a way
 to keep his plan for me on track.

 Early Successes

 In my first year, one of my instructors who
 was a Christian shocked me when I told him
 that someday I would devote my talents to
 the Christian community in hopes of being
 involved in a second Renaissance. His
 response was, 'It will never happen.' He
 explained that, in his view, the Church was
 uninterested in aesthetics and that there
 would be no budget or support for my art
 there. I would be better off taking my
 talents to the secular industry (ad agencies
 and such).

 For the next eighteen years, I found out,
 sadly, that my instructor was right. The
 Church had no apparent interest in using art
 for anything more than decoration. My
 career consequently went in the secular
 direction and prospered beyond my wildest

 Although I had left agents in Chicago, I had
 the privilege of acquiring the Leff Agency to
 represent me in New York. God blessed me
 with this husband-and-wife team who were
 very devoted to me and to this day remain
 friends. (Thank you, Jerry and Wilma. You
 will always hold a special place in my heart.)
 Through their representation, I began doing
 paintings for some of the world's largest
 and best-known companies.

 I was awarded the honor of being the
 official illustrator for the Moscow Olympics
 in 1980. The agency that hired me for the
 work came to Chicago to pick up the
 painting and told me that '99 percent of
 America will know your name after this.'
 Surely this was God, I thought. A few
 months later, as Pat and I were watching
 television, a news bulletin interrupted the
 program and President Jimmy Carter
 announced that the United States would
 boycott the Olympics because of
 international human-rights issues.

 Pat and I sat there in total shock and
 disbelief. That was to be my year, and
 that's not exactly what I had in mind! But
 we later found out that God is in even the
 seeming reverals of our lives. Had the
 Olympics gone through, I would almost
 certainly have chosen a different road and
 missed God's plan for me. I must admit, I
 couldn't see that at the time, but that's
 why I have come to regard Proverbs 3:5-6
 as one of my life verses: 'Trust in the Lord
 with all your heart and lean not on your own
 understanding; in all your ways acknowledge
 him, and he will make your paths
 straight' (NIV).

 My career continued, and my work was now
 starting to travel internationally and
 mounting more than I could have ever

 While I was certainly pleased with my
 success, there was always a longing to do
 what I had known was placed in my heart
 twenty years earlier. That passion had not
 abated. Little did I know that all of the
 work I was doing was merely the training
 ground for what was to come. Ten years
 ago, that all changed for me.

 A Clear Call

 In one of my quiet times before the Lord,
 I distinctly heard His 'still small voice' saying
 that now was the time I had been waiting
 for. Since I was so consumed with prior
 commitments — and a little stunned to
 suddenly hear God say, 'Now!' - I made a
 feeble attempt to move in that direction.
 In fact, I responded with a casual request:
 Would He put the plan together (in a big
 way, of course) so that I could step in at
 my convenience? My personal observation
 on obeying God's call: If ever things are
 going too well for you and you would like
 that to change, then, by all means, give
 God the response I did, and things will
 certainly change! God humbled me and
 brought me to my knees in repentance.

 When I came back to my knees in the spirit
 of obedience and servanthood (about two
 months later), I told God that I was willing
 to do anything He wanted. (That was the
 pain talking, you realize!) Nevertheless,
 I was ready for marching orders.

 Then God impressed the thought on me:
 'What if it isn't even you I am choosing
 for this Renaissance?' I came back to my
 knees and asked the Lord to at least give
 me the privilege of ringing the doorbell
 of the one He had chosen, and I would bring
 His artwork back. God gently spoke to my
 heart and told me that I was the one but
 that I was not the only one He was

 Since that time I have spent years doing
 all I could to disciple other excellent
 Christian artists who are successful in the
 secular market. One of the fruits of that
 committment was the MasterPeace
 Collection, which I cofounded and oversaw
 for a number of years. Our new company
 named Art2See is an expansion of that
 original vision God had given me.

 I believe that Scripture is filled with enough
 creative and imaginative eternal subject
 matter to keep an artist or filmmaker busy
 for many lifetimes. One of my favorite
 verses to fuel my creative juices is John
 21:25: 'Jesus did many other things as well.
 If every one of them were written down, I
 suppose that even the whole world would
 not have have room for the books that
 would be written'.

 To my dismay, I have not always sensed
 that the Church is convinced that God is in
 favor of the arts a legitimate way to
 communicate the things of God. I am
 comforted when I read Exodus 31:1-6,
 which records God's desire for the arts in
 His tabernacle. 'Then the Lord said to
 Moses, See, I have chosen Bezalel the son
 of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,
 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God,
 with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds
 of crafts — to make artistic designs for work
 in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set
 stones, to work in wood, and to engage in
 all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have
 appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the
 tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given
 skill to all the craftsmen to make everything
 I have commanded you' (NIV).

 It makes sense that the Author of creativity
 can impart that to His children. In Ephesians
 2:10 we are called God's 'poems' (poeima).
 Imagine God using an artistic term for His
 own creating!

 What It's Going to Take

 In the Renaissance, the arts were
 effectively used by the Church. Because the
 Church was the major producer of art in
 society, godly messages pervaded that
 society. God was visually declared with
 each work of art.

 Look around today. Can you think of a
 society that could use a dose of that more
 than ours? Experts say that sight and
 sound have become preferred means of
 learning, apart from entertaining us. Isn't
 it time we saturate our society with
 messages worth seeing and hearing? Dr.
 Calvin Seervald said, 'Whatever arena
 Christians withdraw from goes to Hell.' The
 arts for the most part have. We need a
 second Renaissance. This certainly is one of
 the untapped resources to fulfill Mark
 16:15, where Jesus commanded us to go
 into all the world and preach the gospel.

 In order to spread the Good News through
 art, we need to honor some foundational
 principles. Passion for the mission and our
 world's needs. Christian artists often ask
 me what they are supposed to paint, hoping
 for a 'marketing' clue to good sales. I
 answer with this question: 'What makes you
 weep when you are on your knees before
 God? That is what you are supposed to
 address in your work!" N.C. Wyeth said,
 'You can only paint out of conviction.'
 After my first two decades of painting for
 money, I have found this to be true.

 Excellence. I believe that if you have been
 gifted with artistic ability, you are
 responsible to develop it to the fullest.
 Anything less for the Author of Excellence
 is not acceptable. In fact, I believe that
 many times the gospel is rejected, not
 because of its content, but because of its
 poor presentation!

 The right focus. I believe that painters
 and every other kind of artist have a choice
 when executing the finished piece. They can
 either cause you to focus on what they
 painted or on how they painted it. They
 cannot do both with equal power. It has
 often been said that Norman Rockwell (one
 of my favorites) always caused you to see
 what he painted, instead of how great his
 craftmanship or technique was. It would be
 rare for a person to view "Doctor and Doll"
 or "Saying Grace" and be more struck by
 the fancy brushwork or creative use of
 composition that by the emotion of the

 Similarly, I hope that my work will make you
 look, but more important, make you see! As
 a speaker aims to tell you the truth, I am to
 show you the truth. Recently a kind lady
 said, 'Do you know what I consider you are
 doing your work? I think God is using you to
 give us another translation of the Bible!
 Just as we have different versions of
 Scripture, you are putting it in a visual
 translation!' I nearly fell off my chair. May it
 be so, under God's perfect timing!

 It is my hope that as you read this
 Beyond Words, your view of God will be as
 lofty as He deserves and that His presence
 will be closer to you than ever before.

 Please pray for me and all artists when
 you can.

— Ron DiCianni  

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 by this particular artist,
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