Ridvan celebrates Baha’u’llah’s time in the garden of Ridvan where He publicly declared His station as a Manifestation of God. The Ridvan Festival is 12 days long and is also the time of year where Baha’is elect their governing bodies.
Ian Artistry is a multi-talented and exquisitely detail-oriented artist. We’re delighted to share a small gallery of some of his recent projects followed by his thoughts about his work, what inspires him, and what he hopes you will take away from his art.
Baha’i Blog: The last time we talked was about 4 years ago for your film “Holy Recollections”, what have you been up to lately?
Wow, 4 years ago! Well I was living at home with my mom during the time I released the film, so since then I moved out and have been immersed in creative endeavors.
I do handmade Swarovski Crystal Baha’i-inspired cards, enriching paintings, and also do branding for entrepreneurs to photograph them in their purposeful business.
I also have a 9 to 5 to pay the rent. What a wonderful moment that was to have Holy Recollections come out, thank you for spreading the word.
Baha’i Blog: We know your artistry has been gaining traction quickly, are you doing anything for the Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s birth?
Yes, I’m doing a lot of things for this momentous event. As priority for my work, I went deep into myself through prayer and meditation to come up with designs and ideas that would best exclaim my love and thankfulness to Baha’u’llah and also be of service to other people.
I’ve been working for 5 months on over 30 new cards, paintings, and home decor designs for the Bicentenary. I was focused on supporting people’s celebrations and personal connection with Baha’u’llah through my work.
Baha’i Blog: I see that you can customize Bicentenary invitation cards on your website to be shipped to you. What inspired that?
Well I wanted to think of a product that would be functional and necessary for the Bicentenary, because I know almost every community will be hosting an event for it. I was inspired through prayer to make customizable invitation cards on my site that were supportive and conducive to the power and energy it holds. I made sure the designs were inspiring and came from spirit and I pray that people will feel the efficacy and excitement of the upcoming event simply by getting an invitation card.
Baha’i Blog: What is your highest influence in your art? How do you find yourself getting creative ideas?
My highest influence is Baha’u’llah Himself and thinking of artistic ways to help people connect to Him. Right now I’ve been seeing how a lot of people in the world need physical tokens of love to be shared with each other. Ways to say “I’m here for you”, “thank you for showing up for me”, “I value your friendship”, “If you need anything I am here to support you.”
I get almost all my ideas and creative visions from dreams or during prayer, specifically the Obligatory Prayer. For example, one day I was doing my short prayer and I saw in my heart these cards that emanated supportive and nurturing energy. Once I was done I decided to create the Support Collection which consist of cards that offer you to vulnerably express empathy to whoever you’re sending the card to. It’s imperative for people to know they have support around them and I want to encourage people to reach out with a true note of spirited love.
The same creative process catalyzed the Bicentenary posters, customizable invitation cards, paintings etc.
Baha’i Blog: Do you ever get stuck, and if so what do you do to find connection to the creative force for your art?
That’s so interesting, yes, I do get stuck. Usually it’s because I’ve wandered into an environment where nothing is stimulating my purpose. If I eat junk food or hang out in certain environments or with certain people, I will unintentionally squander my motivation to create.
The creative force is always available to me, it’s through my unmeditated actions and choices that unplugs me. What plugs me back in is prayerful determination to get back on track, otherwise I’m vacant. I can’t be of service to anyone or exercise my purpose if I don’t create.
Baha’i Blog: What is your mission for your art? What role do you see artists playing in the spiritual evolution of humanity?
I believe true art is meant to make a person feel and remember everything they need to feel in that moment to be inspired back onto their path. Everyone has a role to fulfill here on this planet and I want to help catalyze you to get more in touch with your purpose.
The best way I ensure that my work has that powerful DNA is by spiritually saturating every creative minute in praying and music. I pray out loud when I paint, or make cards, or design, and I trust that whatever the art that’s channeled will do what it’s supposed to do when it goes out to the world. I don’t really think to myself while creating “you will feel THIS emotion”, I just pray Baha’u’llah will grace the viewer with everything they need to feel from it.
Baha’i Blog: If there were no obstacles in your way, what would you achieve or do with your art?
I would buy a lot more tools to streamline the card making process since it’s all handmade, I would get my own studio (with AC haha) and build a spiritually thriving brand for everyone who is looking for art that reconnects them. Right now I don’t have any obstacles in my way but I am my biggest obstacle sometimes. Lethargy is quite enjoyable however very unsatisfying.
Many people have asked: how much time is spend on your art?
It truly depends. My handmade cards usually range in the 1-2 hour zones. The most elaborate card, Glory, took 7 hours, but it’s a peacock so it has to be extravagant and glorious!
Baha’i Blog: Are concerned about the growth of your business taking over all aspects of your life?
Nope. Supporting people to reconnect with infinite fulfillment is my purpose. The business, Ian Artistry, is just the vehicle that allows the work to spread. I will one day eventually hire people to take care of things that aren’t in my area of genius, like setting up shoots or executing certain parts of my business, but for now it is a one man band and it’s awesome!
Baha’i Blog: What do you want a person to feel when they view the work you channel?
I would like for people to to feel at home. That sense of fulfillment that energized you and gets you ready to execute what we’re here to do. However as I said before, I really to leave it up to Him to give whatever sensations the viewer needs to feel when viewing the work, I just do my best to channel it.
Baha’i Blog: What does Baha’u’llah and the bicentenary anniversary of His birth mean to you?
Oh wow. I need to take a deep breath on that one because I really can’t describe it. But I would be an absolute train wreck… no, an airplane explosion, if I didn’t rely on Him.
I’ve had some very strong traumas in my life that helped me connect to Him. What’s amazing is that, in those moments trauma, I see two options laid out before me every time: get angry and fight it or trust Him and forgive yourself. When I choose to forgive and trust is when I’ve grown the absolute most.
Serving in front of His Shrine built a foundation for me but going through hardships and choosing to follow His guidance is what built a man that stands on that foundation.
I get really emotional, I pray I can serve others through my work so that they can connect with Him, it’s ever fulfilling.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much for sharing what you’re working on, your creative process, and images of your work!
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
Great post!! I like your article. Thanks for sharing.
Ha Mocani (September 9, 2017 at 8:02 AM)
Sonjel Vreeland (September 9, 2017 at 2:21 AM)
Wonderfully stated. He is also a writer
Esther Bradley-DeTally (September 9, 2017 at 5:40 PM)
I tried to access his site, and it’s no longer up.
Cynthia (February 2, 2023 at 3:26 AM)
Thank you for letting us know, Cynthia.
Sonjel Vreeland (February 2, 2023 at 1:42 AM)