"Art In Me" as written by Stephen Daniel Mason, Charlie Lowell, Dan Haseltine and Matthew Ryan Bronleewe....
Images on the sidewalk
Speak of dream's descent
Washed away by the storms
To graves of cynical lament
Dirty canvases to call my own
Protest limericks carved
By the old pay phone

[Chorus]
And in your picture book
I'm trying hard to see
Turning endless pages
Of this tragedy
Sculpting every move
You compose a symphony
And you plead to everyone
See the art in me
See the art in me
See the art in me

Broken stained glass windows
The fragments ramble on
Tales of broken souls
An eternity's been won
As critics scorn the thoughts
And works of mortal man
My eyes have drawn to you
In awe once again

[Chorus: x2]


Lyrics submitted by jarsonic

"Art in Me" as written by Dan Haseltine Charlie Lowell

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP

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Art In Me song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentWow, I like your view, but mine is rather different. I like that different people get different things out of the same song.

    First verse speaks of the people who God has created who have ruined the art. They have diminished the dream God put in them, cynicism causes them to reject their Creator.

    "In your picture book" Picture book refers to this world. Just by opening your eyes and paying attention you can see the story.
    "Turning endless pages of this tragedy" - everywhere he looks, all he can see is people rejecting God. All he can see is the hurt and cynicism.
    "Sculpting every move you create a symphony" - He takes his view off the world and turns to God, realising that the world IS indeed in His hands, and He's creating a grand masterpiece.
    "You plead to everyone, 'see the art in me'" - Is God asking people to see they can renew themselves in Him, they can discard their dirty canvasses and become someone new and whole.

    "Broken stained-glass windows...broken souls" - people who have lost themselves by following their own path. Choosing an eternity separated from God, rather than one united with the One who Created and can complete them.
    The last two lines emphasise the fact that we could never EVER create anything as grand as what God does. All you need to read to understand the awe-inspiring Creator-God is Job 38+39.

    Brilliant, beautiful song. my 2nd favorite by J.o.C. (:
    I love the optimism and hope this song carries.
    emaltiaon April 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe meaning of this song: a simple lament for how human nature can be turned around if it were simply decent toward each other and faithful to heaven. These guys rock at how they can write a beautiful optimistic, faith-filled melody. The human subject here has hope not in man but in God above. The art the subject creates is meant for God, not for mankind. He or she has faith that God can change mankind, if people "see the art" that God produced "in me" and that person ends up profoundly changed, then God has won another soul. Jars of Clay is truly an awesome sonic ministry.
    OpinionHeadon November 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHi Im glad to post on this. I like to take my subjective view on of the 14 stations of the cross. Catholics revere the 14 stations as the Passion. It looks like this:

    1) Jesus is condemned to death
    2) Jesus is given his cross
    3) Jesus falls the first time
    4) Jesus meets His Mother
    5) Simon of Cyrene carries the cross
    6) Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
    7) Jesus falls the second time
    8) Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem
    9) Jesus falls the third time
    10) Jesus is stripped of His garments
    11) Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
    12) Jesus dies on the cross
    13) Jesus' body is removed from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)
    14) Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.

    I know this is not what its about but I like to think that the Art in Me is Jesus telling the world see the Art in Me, the Passion that happened to me. And I imagine he is turning the pages of art of the 14 stations of the cross. At my church there are sculptures of this. It can be represented in any artistic way. So this song always reminds me of this. I feel like its Jesus saying See the Art in Me. But I like other views too :)
    GrungyBeatleon August 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about the redemption of a person, maybe a friend.
    Not only in Christianity but in most of the major beliefs in the world and world history, suffering leads to redemption, joy, wholeness, purification, enlightenment. In other words, generally speaking, the more one suffers (with perseverance), the more they come close God or become closer to being who God wants them to be.
    The first verse is about graffiti. One can read many things into this
    The second verse is a cry to see the subject's heart, it could be Jesus but more likely it's his friend whom he see's is suffering and/or wanting to be recognized.
    In the third verse, the speaker is compelled to look to Christ to solve these dilemma's he cannot.
    Glory to God
    Into the mysticon December 22, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis first album by Jars of Clay was the first CD I owned as a child. I listened to it many times for the enjoyment of melody, but never truly considered the meaning of the lyrics; most of the songs I later realized I had misheard what was being said anyhow. Over the years however, the Lord has used this album to speak to my heart at many times as I have went back and looked at what was actually being sung about. This album, in my opinion, is the best of all of the Jars of Clay music capturing the heart of God beautifully.

    The first thing that caught my attention as I listened to this song again recently was who was actually saying, ‘See the art in me’. I assumed it was the cry of an individual who felt misunderstood by others and wanted to be recognized as beautiful, but from the context it is actually clear that the one saying this is the same as the one who is ‘composing a symphony’ which is God. The title then is concerning God Himself – a plea for humanity to see Him rightly and recognize His leadership as good.

    ‘Images on the sidewalk speak of dream’s descent, washed away by the storms to the graves of cynical lament.’ What is being observed here are the chalk lines which outline a murder victim on the sidewalk. Someone has been killed and all their ambitions, dreams and desires are now lost to the grave with them. ‘Cynical’ has a few definitions, one being: contemptuous; mocking. This observer wants to be saddened by death and the evil done by mankind, but yet experiences a tension in themselves and instead mocks the idea of life and death as if it could have meaning at all.

    ‘Dirty canvases to call my own protest limericks carved by the old pay phone.’ It seems clear to me that this is supposed to be a full sentence and that what is being communicated is that this observer’s ‘dirty canvases’ are in opposition to limericks that are left as graffiti in a public place. We are not told specifically what sort of limericks are left, but whatever they were are not in agreement with this person’s dirty canvases – which we are also not specifically told, but notice they are plural. Edward Lear (1812 – 1888) is known as the father of limericks, though not the originator, for his popular use of them as a form of nonsense poetry. However, Gershon Legman who followed after Lear believed with other contemporaries Arnold Bennet and George Bernard Shaw that a true folk form limerick should be obscene. According to Wikipedia’s page of limericks (as of this writing) it is stated within this context that, “From a folkloric point of view, the form is essentially transgressive; violation of taboo is part of its function. Lear is unusual in his creative use of the form, satirising without overt violation.” Therefore, I believe it is a safe assumption that whatever limerick was found by the pay phone was not a very positive one. Working in construction myself, I would find these limericks written in porta-potties at jobsites. Many people are in despair and leave graffiti behind as a way to share their pain and frustration with others. Most people who are more positive have more honor and respect than to degrade public property, so almost all limericks I have seen on others’ property are defiling and negative. Now, if this statement is still being made by the same observer as the first part (which I believe it is) then the ‘canvases’ they are referring to can’t be their own life since they use the plural form, but we do know they are owned by this individual. Keeping with the same thought as the first part, the ‘canvases’ could be speaking of this person’s own dreams and ambitions. ‘Dirty’ does not necessarily have to be understood as a negative thing, but as the natural result of something which once was bare now taking on something. I imagine this individual now recognizes their own dreams (in the light of the dead man whose dreams perished with him) and has sought to fulfill them, but perhaps, like most of us, it has been a messy process. This observer wants to believe that dreams and ambitions are good, but yet finds others’ who scoff at the idea through their obscene and possibly nihilistic limericks. In the chorus we find the expression of the internal wrestle that this individual is experiencing.
    ‘And in your picture book I’m trying hard to see – turning endless pages of this tragedy.’ The keyword here I believe is ‘tragedy’ and in the second half we find it at tension with the idea of a ‘composed symphony’. This individual sees the tragedy and despair of life by the fact we all have dreams and ambitions yet those who are murdered have had the ability to fulfill them stripped away not by their choice and others, through their limericks, protest the idea that we should dream at all. This individual is speaking to God here referring to God’s ‘picture book’ which gives the impression of full color and design. Picture books help children visualize and understand what the author is speaking about compared to a novel where it is left to the reader to visualize for themselves. The words ‘endless’ are also used to describe how this individual feels about the story God is writing. They struggle to understand how all the details of life are actually going somewhere specific and how they make sense.

    ‘Sculpting every move you compose a symphony.’ This individual must be at least God-fearing as He sees God as supreme and sovereign. They know that God must have some master plan for it all and that it must all make sense. I see this as a declaration made by this person, similar to how David would command his soul. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty we feel at times, we recognize the sovereignty of God and declare, “You alone are good and we trust Your leadership.”

    'And you plead to everyone: see the art in me.' God is not intimidated by His story or by our brokenness in the process. He is completely confident in where it is all going and nothing surprises Him. He beckons us to trust Him unequivocally that there is indeed a purpose for death and suffering. We are invited to take our eyes off of the negatives of this age, but to see His workings amidst it – to see the wonderful masterpiece that He is making through the redemptive process.
    Spectazingon February 06, 2018   Link

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