How It All Began ...

from Jeff LeFever

“The Freedom Art Project" idea, came complete as a vision, as if Noah were receiving instructions for the Ark. Of course, I am not Noah - and this is most likely not an Ark. However, It was an answer to several personal prayers. In this way - maybe it was an Ark for me, as my life had been sinking into the "quagmire " of life. Amazingly, in retrospect, God had been preparing me for this Project before I breathed any of those prayers. And if you choose to believe in "Election" then I was marked for this before I was ever a Christian. And that is something amazing to consider.

What I call the "'initial direction" came in 1996 as a last-minute rescue to creative failure. I was two weeks from mounting an art show of my paintings at Maturango Museum. A show that I was originally short on images for the space I was given, and, I was going to cancel. The owner of Urban Clay in Los Angeles, with whom I was engaged in making the Wyland tile murals in Laguna Beach, offered 18 eighteen inch square tiles with which he suggested I could paint 18 images - using the Majolica process - they would be beautiful. When I did accept his offer, there was not much time left before the show. With only a couple weeks until opening night, I was trying to creatively apply 18 sexually metaphorical IMAGES to the 18 tiles in an attempt at keeping with the exhibition theme. The show was to feature my mixed media paintings known collectively as the 'Banana Salesman', works about deceptive psychology. I was coming up empty-handed.



I was scheduled in LA, at the Tile Guild, for color selection and pigment tests for my images, but I had no images and was scheduled to leave in five minutes. Simply put, a “ voice” directing me to, “Paint Clouds. Put Them In Crosses,” changed my direction for the show tiles. Quick sketches revealed that the 18, eighteen inch tiles provided for three, 6 ft. crosses and no leftover material.

With the show deadline bearing down on me, I painted the first three ideas that came to mind. What resulted are known as the three ceramic cloud crosses.

The three crosses were well received at eh Maturango Museum show even though they were in contrast to the Banana Salesman. The Banana Salesman from the show can be viewed at my site: in the art section, button 4, second page (there are four examples listed.


As a side note, it wasn't until almost a year later, that I realized these "Cloud Crosses" contained characteristics of God in the Trinity:

the Father (intelligence - natural
beauty - all),

the Son (heart - love - radiating out
to us all),

the Holy Ghost (spirit – anima - wind).


But back to the History - for the year after Maturango, which was a small show in the small town of Ridgecrest (famous for its earthquakes and ancient petroglyphs), I found myself in despair. Despite my emotional state, II was inspired by the idea of juxtaposed clouds and crosses, I sought to continue the exploration and began a painting on paper as a medium study - the ceramic crosses were luminous thanks to the glaze and Majolica process - I was curious to see how paint would work. The crosses by nature worked well as free shapes unencumbered by the rectangular-ness of the paper. Now with the painting on paper, I was left to contend with four awkward negative spaces around the cross. For a year I struggled with those spaces. During this time a prayed sincerely for direction in my life. I also prayed for vitality, a purpose, time to read the Bible, and a way I could reveal God's Glory through the gifts He had given me.

The four negative spaces surrounding the cross on paper, plagued me.


In 1997, while preparing for a group show at Santa Ana College, the negative space issue met with resolution. I would fill the space with Xeroxed sheets of Bible Text. A few moments later, the vision for the Freedom Art Project’s 66 monumental paintings was revealed in a flash, my prayers were answered and the incredible journey began

I finished the Medium study using printed sheets of the book of Revelation.

Later the conclusive idea of using 23 Karat Gold and the original language Scriptures replaced the idea of the Xeroxed sheets of English King James.

Of course many months of research and study ensued turning into years of growth. The God Inspired seed germinated within me and not only transformed the vision, it also transformed me as a Christian and as a human being.

And that is how the Freedom ART Project began. Much of what transpires next can be picked up in the Journal section of this site where an ongoing reflection of God's providence and glory can be seen (especially at times when I have lost faith). Yet His Faith is the lead, and God continues to open doors.






Freedom ART Project History