When, still in Roman times, Christianity stopped being a suppressed movement, art and beautiful decoration became prominent expressions of, and vehicles for, Christian spirituality. Meditating on and in not only the beauty of nature but also in the presence of religious/sacred art became a way of experiencing a connection with god. Admittedly, there were movements that despised sacred art and beautified places of worship but, at the very least, the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches maintained their appreciation of sacred art throughout the centuries. In the Christian West, for centuries, the religious/sacred art market was one of the most fertile grounds on which art evolved - until the Catholic church reduced support and focused their spending on more pressing needs and, as a consequence, more and more artists moved on to serve secular markets and, sometimes, more generic forms of spirituality.
In my view, much of contemporary art is low-impact and unimportant - unless it is either political (aspiring to improve the world) or religious/spiritual in nature. Do not get me wrong. I enjoy and appreciate modern visual art of all kinds very much (except for intellectually flat conceptual art); after all, I myself make and sell non-religious/spiritual art. But contemporary art often does not add much beyond, e.g., nice wall decoration for the wealthy and businesses, creating admittedly fascinating movie and gaming worlds, supporting product commercialization, and occasionally producing short-lived controversial, but usually borderline-unexciting conversation pieces. Yes, these are letigimate purposes for art, and artists should go for them if they have to make a living and have the talent. It can be immensely enjoyable to do. So, there are great artists serving these purposes. Amazing artists are working for the movie, gaming, illustration and comic book industry, in particular, and art history will surely come to honor them.
However, I would hope that more artists find producing political and religious/sacred/spiritual art to be their way to contribute to creating a better world and better people. It does not have to be the main focus of their work, but at least as a parallel platform for their creativity and skills. To make great religious or sacred art, artists don't even have to be "formally religious" themselves.
There is meanwhile (again) so much unmet need for professional-level religious/sacred art. Not necessarily because there are so many un- or poorly decorated places of worship. Religious communities usually do not have the funds for something better than uninspiring meeting places, and many groups - at least here in the U.S.A. - seem to not even have an appetite for visual beauty. The unmet need exists primarily in the virtual space created by the internet, which allows individuals and organizations to accompany their presence and communications by visual art. It is also a space where people quietly and privately seek visual religious content - to find emotional support or even for "visio divina".
Providing religious art for this space can make a major impact and is a great way to "contribute". Alas, there is no significant money to be made by it.
I, by chance, more than 20 years ago, found my tiny niche for such contribution (see "History" page), to help people (and not only Christians or even Catholics) reflect on the messages of Jesus Christ. For me, this is primarily about assisting those who seek religious art for their personal spirituality, sometimes in difficult or desperate situations. But also to support organizations like churches.
And I am doing it simply because I can, not to be paid or otherwise rewarded.
If you are a visual artist, why don't you join me in this kind of mission?
I do not know. Something like "quick, expressive drawings that leave a lot to the imagination of the viewer". I am not the only one having difficulties placing it in an established category that wouldn't be too broad. Some artist colleagues who played with my style for their own religious drawings simply referred to it as "Freymanc style".
For my quick drawings, I use pretty much everything that creates a mark on paper: from pencil over reed pen to fountain pen, brush, fingers and any other things that happen to be around. Currently, most of my drawings are done with a worn-out reed pen and a dipping pen with special metal tip that is bullet-shaped and allows for a vide variety of line widths (see photo). Ink-wise, I use pretty much every permanent/fade-proof ink (most frequently Noodler's and India/Sumi ink). My paper is usually high quality drawing paper, but occasionally I use wild varieties of other paper - as long as it is sort of "archival".
When selecting my tools and materials for a specific drawing I like to choose things that cause unpredictable chance effects. The reason: When you do thousands of drawings of the same bearded man , you need something that helps generating variety.
This is, of course, different in those rare cases where I want a very specific result (e.g., for a client). In such cases, I may even start with a soft pencil on eraser-tolerant paper to create the fake impression of a quick, spontaneous drawing, which I then finish in ink.
This is a question that comes up for everyone who asked me to sell them the paper original of a drawing they found on, e.g., Instagram, and subsequently is told that I cannot find it.
Here is the answer: I do not catalogue them at all, and archived they are in many unlabeled boxes that sit around on shelves in my studio and a storage room. My drawings are typically not even signed and dated.
Not boring in a traditional sense. After all, an individual drawing usually takes only seconds to complete. Not enough time for boredom to come up. And I usually do only one per day.
But there are certainly times when they - despite my use of visual variety-generating tools (see above) - become too repetitive and uninspired. That's when I have to stop for a while until my hands have forgotten the recent movement patterns and can re-boot, or until I become "re-inspired" (e.g., when I want to dedicate a piece to a friend who fell ill or died). At one time, such a creative break was so long that some followers on Instagram believed I had died (thanks for caring).
Overall, I made the provision of such drawings to the Christian community for free use to one of my missions. A mission that, at times, requires a lot of discipline.
A question I often get from artist friends. I, as most of them, are meanwhile at an age where we commiserate about our artistic left-overs possibly being headed to the landfill. So, we regularly check if one of us has come up with a copy-able solution for the likely scenario that, sooner or later, our progeny does not anymore have the storage capacity to be handed down our works. Assuming, obviously, that we will never be discovered as collectible by museums or the wealthy.
In my case, at least for my "religious art", I trust that it will continue to be recognized as too-good-to-be-ditched and style-wise never outdated. Hence, I hope the boxes full of drawings (and any electronic copies) will continue to serve some purpose. And if otherwise, so be it. God's will. :-)