Christian artist paints potraits of ministry
LA FORTUNA, Costa Rica — Roy Leandro has an iPad…
No one expected wooden crosses to tower 20 feet in the air at Lubbock Christian University in Texas. No one expected Aaron Price to be the artist. But out of the ashes, a masterpiece was born.
Price, 43, has battled mental illness for years — in and out of hospitals — and describes his journey as “long and hard and confusing.”
A member of the Green Lawn Church of Christ in Lubbock, he saw his first psychologist at age 17 and got a prescription.
As a student-athlete in high school, Price never pictured himself as an artist. He didn’t create his first painting until he was 36. Soon after, he began to work with his hands, teaching himself carpentry and welding.
“It just came out of nowhere,” Darrell Price, also a Green Lawn member, said of his son’s artistic flair. “I think it’s about God trying to be revealed through him after all this. It’s kind of unexplainable, to tell you the truth, what he does. … He’s inspired by the Holy Spirit to create the crosses.”
Aaron Price said the pain he experienced during the most difficult years of his life bolstered his faith.
“You end up learning that some things that people see as odd or mentally impaired are gifts from God,” he said. “My walk with him is different than I ever could have dreamed it would’ve been growing up in the church.”
Clinging to their faith, Aaron Price’s parents, Darrell and Anita, and two sisters, Angie and Abby, stood by him through every mental health trial. Darrell Price recently retired from LCU after 43 years as a sports sciences professor and 10 years of coaching.
“We were affected by it, but it brought us closer together,” said Darrell Price, recalling that the family prayed for strength and wisdom day by day. “Christ is the glue that held us together. The ultimate story is bigger than the pain and the horror that’s going on.”
At LCU, Darrell Price worked with an intention to love his students, an ethic that did not go unnoticed by his son. Aaron Price cites his father as the main inspiration for building his four-cross sculpture. He attempted to keep the piece a surprise from his father until construction workers dug a giant hole right outside of Darrell Price’s office, making the sculpture impossible to ignore.
“I spent a lot of days on the edge between suicide and making it one more day, and somehow he held on to me.”
“I just wanted to do it for him and something for him to be remembered by — for all the service he’s given to the school and his focus on trying to help people,” said Aaron Price, who also designed a cross that he placed at his successful business, Blue Sky Kennel in Lubbock. “He always had his eyes open for people who were struggling, especially after my struggle.”
As far as mental health is concerned, Darrell Price said he was more judgmental in the past than he would be now, especially in a society where “people who were mentally ill were just supposed to get tough and out of bed.” Now, his goal is to encourage people with children who have mental illnesses.
“Over the years, we have tried to encourage and help people because we have had so much experience with that,” Darrell Price said. “ I love (Aaron), and he loves me, and I’ve always got his back.”
But the crosses represent more than just a dedication to his father. One cross leaning behind the others symbolizes Aaron Price’s personal walk with Christ and desire to follow Jesus.
“Hope is always there, even when you don’t believe there’s any hope,” Aaron Price said. “I spent a lot of days on the edge between suicide and making it one more day, and somehow he held on to me.”
Said Darrell Price: “The miracle of his faith expressed through his art, we pray, brings all glory to God and offers hope to the multitude of families with children having similar struggles.”
Subscribe today to receive more inspiring articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox twice a month.
Your donation helps us not only keep our quality of journalism high, but helps us continue to reach more people in the Churches of Christ community.