Although I’m no artist, I have to say I gleaned some real insight from the works and words of artist Brian Kershisnik, who visited campus this week for both a leadership lecture and the opening of an art display. He presented big ideas in a normal and relatable way. Some things came across because he said them. Others didn’t need saying.
Kershisnik began his leadership lecture with an introduction to his artwork. He shared a little of the explorative process — creating something, tweaking it, changing it drastically, naming it and often finding real meanings only when the piece is complete. He encouraged those in attendance to risk making mistakes and to exceed the minimum expectation.
“If you’re assigned to do two paintings, do five,” he said.
It’s not that you have to overachieve, or have backups in case you lose a painting, or even because your first 500 paintings will be bad — though he assured us that they will. It’s because this is how you find out what you’re sustainably passionate about. It’s how to figure out what you really love to do. It’s not just a secret to learning, but a secret to learning about yourself.
One of the most notable things about Kershisnik’s lecture and artwork was his comfort-level with his faith. He probably couldn’t hide it if he wanted to, not only because he feels conviction, but because it’s a seminal part of him and he’s comfortable with himself. His lecture addressed the death and resurrection of Christ, spiritual inspiration, and personal connections to God.
Check out the Corridor Gallery to get your own feel for Kershisnik’s artwork. Of the 21 paintings on display there, my favorite is “Jesus and the Angry Babies.”
(Post by Stephen Taylor ’15. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)