Welcome to the fourth installment of The heART Series, a monthly series in which we'll discover and explore some of the lesser-known, maybe even lesser-appreciated creative arts, and will examine how the arts and faith are intertwined.
Each artist interviewed in this series is a Christian woman, whether or not her work is centered around her faith. We'll hear from painters, writers, photographers, graphic artists, dancers, stitchers, calligraphers, fashion designers, leather workers, and more.
I am beyond excited about this project, and because I want you to be just as excited as I am, if you haven't already, I really recommend reading more about the heart behind The heART Series ⟶here⟵.
So, once you're all caught up and ready to go, let's hear from our fourth artist!
My name is Gaby, I’m 19, and I am from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. I am an Early Childhood Education student by day and a poet when I am not in class. (When I am not a poet, I am on Pinterest or Instagram.) I’ve been writing poetry since 2014 and became a self-published author in March of 2015, when I released my first poetry collection, A Song of Bravery.
the life in between: When did you first learn to (or realize that you could!) dance, paint, sew, write, style, photograph, etc. What is your heART story?
Gaby: Writing has always been the best way for me to express my feelings, and it has always been my favorite form of art. During my teen years, I believed the lie that I wasn't talented enough to be an artist (in any way) and I refrained from doing any kind of artwork. In March of 2014, when I was 17, I saw a really beautiful sunset, and I was so amazed by it that I couldn't help writing a poem about it. It was something that I felt like I had to do. I wrote my first poem (and two more!) that night and it felt so sacred and so right, as if that was what I was made to do. I haven't stopped writing poetry since that day.
tlib: While you're immersed in a project or a piece, what are some things going through your mind? Do you pray? Do you praise?
Gaby: It always depends on my feelings. I write to encourage others, but I also write as a form of prayer and worship. When I write with the purpose of encouraging, I think about what I want the reader to feel and what truth or message I want to convey. When I write to God or about God, the whole writing process is a moment of intimacy with God.
tlib: Tell us about your creative process. What inspires you to get started? Can you turn your creativity on and off?
Gaby: I am inspired by everything: nature, people, songs, and books or poems that I've read. I am also inspired often by my own feelings or things that happen to me. When I write pieces that are inspired by what I'm feeling or what I'm going through, I try to isolate myself as much as I can to avoid distractions and to create something raw and true to what I'm feeling. It's hard for me to turn my creativity on! When I haven't created a piece in a long time, I force myself to write something down. Usually the pieces that come when I feel uninspired are the ones I love the most.
tlib: Do you prefer to share your work or do you like to keep it just between yourself and God? Why?
Gaby: I share almost everything I write. To me, poetry is a gift God gave me so that I could share it for his glory. Besides being the way I most intimately communicate with God, writing has become my ministry.
tlib: If you share your work, how do you promote your art in a way that glorifies God?
Gaby: My art is my ministry. I create because that is what I was made for. I share what I create to glorify God and to inspire others to do the same.
tlib: How do you take compliments? How do you stay humble without denying your unique skill?
Gaby: I love compliments! I love knowing that people like what I create, and that it touches and inspires them. I stay humble by reminding myself that my words do not come from me. God gave me my art, and when my art touches and encourages others, it is God speaking through my words, not I. I am just his vessel.
tlib: Do you believe that God can be glorified through secular art? How can secular work still point to Jesus?
Gaby: Yes! When we make art, we are reflecting our Maker. I love how Emily P. Freeman puts it in her book A Million Little Ways: "Those who have been gifted with the skill of a painter or a singer or a world-class dancer are living images, life testimonies, witnesses to the transforming power of art. They reflect the glory of God...and they do it whether or not they know it."
tlib: What is a dream or vision you have in regards to how your work may impact hearts and souls for Christ?
Gaby: My hope when I share my writing with others is that it inspires them to create their own kind of art and that it encourages them and reminds them of their worth and identity in Christ.
tlib: Lastly, for fun, who (living or dead, and besides God) are you most inspired by when it comes to your art?
Gaby: When I began writing seriously, and even before that, I really admired this poet, Madisen Kuhn. She's my age (19) and she is a very popular poet, especially in the Tumblr community. She inspired my style and some of the topics I write about, such as worth.
Oh my goodness, Gaby, thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you so much for your sweet words, and for being so brave to share them with the world. You're an inspiration to me and to so many more. The world needs more Gabys.
READERS: What did you take away from this interview with Gaby? Which is your favorite poem of the four she shared with us here? Let us know!