As artists we need to push boundaries but as Christians there are some lines we cannot cross. We continue our quest to gain wisdom on this dilemma from some of our wisest friends and today Chris Donald gives his twenty pence. Chris is a graphic designer, musician and writer and runs the Minor Artists label and production company. So Chris, where is the line with you?
In my work, the question of “the line” is not about the content, but the intent. Design is, for better or worse, intimately connected to marketing; so I’m always advertising something, even if it’s just an idea, a cause, or a subculture, let alone a product. My line gets drawn when I can’t really see the benefit of what we’re making, or don’t like what we’re selling. And to be honest, I have the dubious advantage that I’m rarely put in that position. I tend to work with small businesses and charities, because that’s the network I’ve ended up in, perhaps inevitably.
The value of more commercial projects (apart from money!) can be that you’re building relationships, and I respect plenty of people doing that, or people who just enjoy the project for its own creative worth. Personally, I’m not great at making real connections with people through the fleeting interactions that freelancing affords; and I push creatively where I can, but budgets are small and people take a lot of convincing. I guess my line is there to stop me feeling like I’m wasting my life within my work hours; the work had better have a good reason to exist.
There is a line with content as well, but if I value the person or the project I’m working on, I’m not really put off by bad language, disagreeable views and so on. There are some limits. Personally, I wouldn’t want to work first-hand with any nude material, for example, but that doesn’t mean nudity automatically cancels any good in a project. Equally, a project could tick all the ‘wholesome’ boxes on the surface but be systematically misogynistic. And that’s why I find exploring the message and meaning of work the best way to assess anything.