Some people have such a cool name that you wonder if they can live up to it. Barton Damer does. Barton has allowed his faith to be at the center of his work and has made a huge footprint into the industry of digital art. His beliefs shape the passion he puts into his work and the professionalism and quality that he has become known for.
In 2009, Barton was awarded the Digital Artist of the year award by Computer Arts, Intel, and 3d World Magazine. He has written many tutorials as well as traveled and taught at various design and media conferences. His skills include traditional drawing, graphic design, illustration, and motion design. Click here to check out his site.
Jeremy: Tell us something odd/unique about you.
Barton: I have had both knees reconstructed (blown out ACL and meniscus from skateboarding). Blew out the first one when I was 18. Blew out the 2nd one when I was 25. Skating better at 35 years old than I have in years!
Jeremy: Most of what you do is dependent on your creativity. How does your faith affect the creative process for you?
Barton: Prayer is a HUGE part of the creative process. Everyday I find myself praying over the next project and having NO CLUE what to do for it. Time is ticking… budget is dwindling… but I have faith that God has a plan for each project that comes my way and will provide what is needed (ideas, inspiration, resources, etc.).
Jeremy: Do you think people are born leaders or develop into leaders?
Barton: I think we are born with leadership skills that have to be developed! 🙂
Jeremy: How can people put themselves into a position to influence culture?
Barton: Here’s how to NOT influence culture… isolate yourself or form your own subculture! If you are going to be the most valuable quarterback on the planet, would you form a separate football league and expect to prove your worth? Or would you work hard to be drafted in the NFL and prove yourself over time – while gaining the respect of your peers? Validation from your peers is a large part of influencing culture. Imagine being a designer within a church yet nobody outside of the church is interested in your work. However, if you can walk into your church job having worked on some good outside projects, your work is being validated and you are gaining more influence in your job/ministry setting. Without that outside validation, you are hurting yourself and probably not being fully appreciated at your day job.
Jeremy: Why are you a follower of Jesus Christ?
Barton: Because I have experienced his love first hand and continue to see the miracles he works in my life.
Jeremy: What do you do personally to fuel your spiritual life?
Barton: Call my mom! We’ve always had a tradition of talking about anything and everything spiritual you can imagine. Both my parents are great examples and get me pumped on the Lord! I read a daily email devotional by Os Hillman. That has been pretty inspirational for me over the years in addition to alone time and prayer. I have a 10 year old son (as well as 2 younger kids) and we do devotions together every night. Sometimes I’m lazy and want to skip a lesson but he’s quick to remind me to read before he will fall asleep. Teaching is often the best way to learn!
Jeremy: What is your hope for the future of the Church in America?
Barton: I hope the church will focus on being real… not relevant. The reality is… the community needs solid believers to influence culture. Our kid’s basketball leagues need Godly examples for coaches. Our school systems need mom’s who can volunteer to help during the week. You can’t influence culture by putting on a show once a week and expect your community to buy into that. I’m not saying modern day/slick presentations are bad… I’m saying that’s not reality. Being real is how you will respond when the 4th grade teacher asks your child if they prefer to be straight or gay. Real is how you react to the referee who isn’t calling fouls as your child flies face first into the bleachers. Real is how you treat that nightmare client/boss that cusses you out on the 11th hour of a really long work day. Real is revealed over time through relationships we develop in our community. Those are the things that will make us relevant.
Jeremy: Should we abandon the use of the word “Christian” for a better term? If so, what?
Barton: Seems like we already have abandoned it. All I hear anymore is “believers” or “Christ followers”. I think there are times when the term “Christian” could be prohibitive. It’s probably best to recognize those moments and look for alternative descriptions. You cannot control the stereotypes people will associate to the word. On the other hand, it’s never too late for the term “christian” to be redeemed.
Jeremy: What blogs/websites do you regularly check?
Barton: motionographer.com, changethethought.com, theberrics.com, greyscalegorilla.com, benarment.com, sethgodin.typepad.com
Jeremy: Which books have shaped your thinking?
Barton: Anything by Matthew Paul Turner has made me think differently.
Jeremy: What music moves you?
Barton: Phil Wickham released a free worship album called Singalong. Easily my fav worship album. I usually throw that on when I’m having a bad day. Otherwise I listen to all sorts of music including Led Zepplin, The Black Keys, Wolfmother… anything by Jack White. And I love hip hop – mainly 90’s (Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, Jeru The Damaja)… but occasionally I like a Kanye, Kid Cudi or Jay-Z song. I just like a good beat! Rock or rap. Doesn’t matter.
Jeremy: Any other thoughts or advice?
Barton: Conan O’Brien said on his last episode of the Tonight Show: “If you work hard and are kind to people, good things will happen.” I like that quote! My parents noticed I was pretty comfortable in my 20s working my job at that time. They reminded me to work hard while I was young because I won’t always have the ability to do that when I’m older. If you are too comfortable where you are… time to start challenging yourself! And be kind to people along the way.
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