I didn’t really expand my reading habits until I got passed the comics of Archie, Asterix and Tintin. And that didn’t happen until high school when I was introduced to the novels of John Grisham. It wasn’t until I attended the University of Alberta that I became a voracious reader. One of the first books I read was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling. I had heard of the fevered debate within religious circles and the various book burnings that happened within the United States. And I was unsure how my own artistic beliefs were to respond to it. Then, I read the book and when Professor Dumbledore tells Harry Potter why Professor Quirrell could not touch him, I wept:

Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves it’s own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good.

I joyfully wept because it was a powerful story of love. I painfully wept because a significant number of religious leaders and their followers could not see that love and continue to not see the love (because they condemn, and cannot touch, the artistic portrayal of immorality) within artistic practices—artistic practices that are necessarily immoral. I intend to practice such immorality. It is why I don’t think I’ll ever be fully a part of a religious community, even though I am deeply religious. It is my Joycean sacrifice. My pride. My sin.


At the same moment I am defending the immoral art, I am defending the art of love.


Art is apart from life, within life, surrounding life. And life is full of what we cannot attain, what we fail to attain—what we willingly fail to attain. Art partakes of that life in its complete immoral sinfulness—delving into the sin, hiding the sin, becoming the sin so that beauty is rung out and reveled within.

Sin is the infringement on life and community. Art is the infringement of life, the blasphemy of life. Therefore Art is sin—sinless in its sin. And its sin is communal ever expressed in beautiful diversifications of multiplicity.

Art is necessarily immoral because it is trying to capture the paradox of the human condition. There is no way to do that except through immorality and its inherent conflicts. Perhaps within the diverse range of perfection and purity, there is a moral art that is infinitely more expressive and challenging and beautiful than any art produced on earth. And perhaps it is possible to achieve such perfection on earth. But, we must attempt its becoming. And in that becoming becomes the sin. Art must conceal and reveal the grime of it, revealing and concealing the beautiful.

Yet, through that immoral becoming, that paradoxical image, another imagistic paradox is discovered strangely sprung from a grounding moral universe: from the cornerstone of morality emerges profanely immoral playfulness. Without it, Art is merely an anarchic struggle of nothingness. And Art is not nothing. Art is a thing, however concretely abstract, however abstractly concrete.


The idolatry of perfection: if art is disavowed from portraying what is prefect, should it not portray a sunrise? Is the sunrise not perfect? Is it not idolatry then to look at a painting of a sunrise?


What seems most immoral is often deeply reverential. What is profane, is perfect.


If sin should not be believed in, Art becomes superficial, covered with a false strength.


If sin should not be expressed in Art, Art becomes a tool, covered with a false morality.


The saint is the sinner: the artist is sinless in his sin.