Sarah Rebtine Exclusive Interview
How would you describe where you are in life right now and how does that affect what you create?
I am 19 years old and finished my graphic design education Fall of 2016. Right now I am looking for employment as a graphic designer. I have applied for various open positions, but the right doors just haven’t opened yet. It is somehow frustrating, because I am highly motivated and want to finally get fully started with my designing career. I sort of feel held back a little. But God helps me to see my situation in a different way. To see this free time I have right now as an opportunity. An opportunity to try out new things, new styles in my designs. My creativity gets more adventurous and braver. Not long ago I opened an online shop through Society6, where I sell my artwork. It is so wonderful to be able to create designs, that I want to design. Where nobody tells me what I have to do. It is so uplifting to make art, where I am completely free to create what I think is beautiful.
Describe your typical schedule, what do you do in a typical day/week?
First thing I need in the morning is coffee. Coffee just belongs to my morning routine. Without it something is simply missing. The next step is spending time with God first, which is really important to me. To lay down all the things I have to do before Him and pray for the day, before I start to do anything. I realized every time I do this, I am more motivated, feel stronger and it is easier to get work done. After that I check my emails and make a to-do list. Then I just work through my to-do list.
Describe how you find inspiration or inspire your team.
In my opinion, there are 2 ways to find inspiration: I call them noise and silence.
For me noise is everything I can already find in the world. Everything that already exists. I feel inspired when I see artwork or projects on instagram, on tv, in magazines, somewhere on the street, in a shop or through people. What inspires me most through noise is music, literature and social media.
Sometimes being on social media all the time and listening to music a lot is just too much. For instance there was a time when I was a lot on twitter. And I mean a LOT. I realized I was so filled with everything I saw and read that my brain was totally empty when it came to finding a new idea. That’s when I realized I had to take a break. Taking a break from these things helps me to make something totally new. Something that wasn’t inspired by someone else’s instagram post or song. Something that was born from my subconsciousness or through thinking about something a lot without getting distracted. This way to find inspiration is the one I call silence.
Describe one thing you wish everyone knew about working in the creative ministry field and why it is important.
Sometimes I feel like people only see the end product. They don’t see how much effort is behind every project. All the time you put into it and everything you had to do to get to the the result they get to see in the end. I think creative ministry is a job that doesn’t start at 8 in the morning and ends at 6 in the evening. It has no boundaries. Because when I’m working on a project I’m 100 percent into it and spend a lot of my free time working on it. When people see how much work is behind a project, they appreciate more what you do and acknowledge that what you do is part of a real job.
What has been one of the most frustrating parts of creative church ministry for you or your team? How did you overcome it?
The most frustrating part of creative church ministry for me has been that I am actually the only person in my church doing creative ministry. We are a small church and everyone else’s gifts are already coming to action in other areas. Though people in church do support and encourage me in my creative ministry, sometimes I just felt lonely in doing this ministry. But I found ways to overcome this through including people into projects. Like my sister, who is always motivated and willing to help carry out an idea. I count her as an important member of my team. Furthermore I started doing creative workshops with the kids from church and it is encouraging to see how much fun the kids are having and how enthusiastic they are about it. I think it is important to share creativity with the young ones. There will be more projects ahead, where we will be doing more with them and I am already excited about what we will create together.
What keeps you going in creative ministry?
Bringing cool ideas to life is my passion. Finding ways to bring something beautiful into this world is what motivates me. God inspires me, plants a new idea into my head and heart and I want to realise what I can already see before my inner eyes. I want to transport these ideas to the outside, so that others can see them too and be inspired, encouraged, brought to wonder, and become thoughtful. To see and hear peoples reactions to a project is always thrilling to me.
If you have (or could) build a creative team or atmosphere, what are some of the key elements you would include?
A team should always live and work in harmony with each other. Everyone should be comfortable in the team, with the people and the environment. The team should be a unit, where everyone looks after each other and helps one another. Where we don’t expect members to be perfect but to be kind and polite. I think a good atmosphere at work is so important. That people are joyful in their work. That they have clear instructions on what to do, but are not under unhealthy pressure. A good atmosphere also includes honesty. To admit ones mistakes and help each other to set it right, to make something good out of it.
What is one creative tool you cannot live without. Why?
Without my camera I would be completely lost. One of my passions is to take photos. It is a great way to display projects. I love arranging all the details in one picture and showing off the end product in the best way possible. To make it appealing to the eye of the customer and drawing attention to the most beautiful aspects of an artwork. Without the camera I would not be able to let as many people as possible see my work. Especially when it comes to showcasing my work on the internet.
Tell us the behind-the-scens on your Bibleverses project.
Because we don’t have a creative team at church it was just me and my sister, who installed this artwork at church. We had a camera positioned upstairs on some sort of balcony to get the right angle for the video we made. So we had this routine, where my sister put stickers onto a notepad and I put the notepad on the wall. Then I had to run upstairs to take a picture for the video. Then back downstairs to put the next notepad on the wall and upstairs again for the next picture. So this went on for 238 times. You can imagine how exhausting this was at a certain point. Well, at least sport for that week was already done.
Each notepad is painted with one handlettered bibleverse. Together they reveal like a puzzle the name of Jesus. This artwork was created in honor of the 2017 (Freikirche Tulln) church topic – Jesus. It is positioned at the entrance of the church. So the first thing everyone who goes into church sees is this artwork. There are two perspectives to this artwork and that’s what makes it special. On the one hand you can look at every single notepad, read the bibleverse and see it as one artwork for itself. And on the other hand you can look at all the notepads together as one picture and only then you see the name of Jesus. I like the thought, that every single notepad is beautiful, special and strong. But all together they are even more beautiful, more special and even stronger. Together they are something way bigger, than what they would be if they were standing alone. For me that is similar to the church and it’s members. We are beautiful, special and strong alone. But we are even more beautiful, more special and even stronger together, because of Jesus. Jesus is what binds us together.
Graphic Designer + Artist
Sarah is a graphic designer, hand-lettering artist living in Austria. Her works are mostly inspired by music, literature, nature and dreams.