Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good Friday

Title: Good Friday

Artist: Nolan Lee

Medium: Spray paint on panel

Size: 120 x 210cm

Date: 2007

Location: Bethany Baptist Church, Boulder.

“Graffiti has an interesting history to it. I call it vandalism. Some call it art. We wanted to use it because the story of the passion and the crucifixion of Christ is a very raw story,” said Pastor Rob Stout of the Bethany Baptist Church in Boulder. As recorded in John 19:1-3, after his arrest “...Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ And they struck him in the face.”

At the entrance to the candlelit path traced on the floor were panels of graffiti, including a depiction of Christ’s suffering through a spray-painted black eye and crown of thorns. Traditional labyrinths began in the Middle Ages for people who couldn’t make pilgrimages to the Holy Land. This tradition is resurfacing in modern times, and in 2007 a 35-foot prayer labyrinth was created at the Bethany Baptist Church in Boulder. The event also included nine interactive Stations of the Cross, with scatterings of nails around a cross and pieces of concrete rubble.

Nolan Lee, 23 year-old former college football player, is a Boulder painter and street artist making a name for himself outside of the gallery system. When a scholarship to play football at Montana State fell through at the list minute, he returned to his childhood hobby of painting for reassurance. Having no formal art training, he developed a raw, emotive style. “I think graffiti screams at you,” he has said. “I think it’s the perfect art form for Good Friday.” Lee said he was trying to communicate God’s message with his work. “Hopefully, he used me for his purpose in this.” His work can be viewed at

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