(Chang) Derks '01
Art Is the Source of
As Esther (Chang) Derks '01
surmises, art does not imitate life. Art equals life.
"Without art, there would
be no creativity," Derks said, "and the world would be very silent."
Or nonexistent, since God's
act of creating the world is a distinct expression of His handiwork. How
ironic it is that a realm of today's culture whose value is underestimated
and misinterpreted may be the clearest indication of God's character.
"Art spurs people to think,
even if they are not artists," Derks said. "Art demands that you do something
with it. There are several ways that it exists in our culture, and each
form and image is unique to each individual. It's interesting to see how
the media integrates art into the routine of our normal lives."
Derks is a graphics designer
for Christianity Today International, a leading publisher of Christian
periodicals and books in Carol Stream, Illinois. Specifically, she handles
layout for your church magazine, a resource that focuses on pertinent
issues that churches encounter.
"Helping churches determine
what's right for them is how I reach the broader culture," she said. "Churches
have many issues to deal with - operations, lighting, construction, expansion,
video equipment - that affect the way people engage their faith."
Derks, who lives in Woodridge,
Illinois with her husband, Dale '00, was born in Taiwan and came to the
United States in 1991. Six years later, she enrolled at Trinity to study
art. She first developed her love for art as a young girl in her native
country, and the differences between Asian and American art did not dampen
"I've always been drawn to
all kinds of art - photography, painting, drawing, you name it," said Derks,
who enjoys black-and-white photography in her leisure. "I love working
in layers and colors, and I like the style of art that I use here. In Taiwan,
the art is pretty busy and there are many more layers, and the colors aren't
"My job allows me to incorporate
different artistic aspects - colors, patterns, photography. It's like solving
a puzzle: trying to fit the text around the ads, searching for the right
images for the articles, and putting it all together so that it looks nice."
Derks encounters other challenges
when she works with people to publish an issue of your church. Besides
the technical skills she employs as a designer, she must practice good
people skills to finish assignments.
"Teamwork is a big part of
what I do because I interact with writers, editors, and photographers throughout
the time it takes for me to complete the magazine's layout. I sometimes
have to handle rejection, but I learned how to deal with those situations
at Trinity. The art faculty stressed the value of group critiques to defend
"I liked the small classroom
environment at Trinity because it gave me more time to spend with my professors
and classmates. We would ask questions of each other and discuss different
creative ideas that arose. We shared our workspace, which compelled us
to talk to each other a lot and further built a secure sense of community."
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