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What is Prophetic Art?


Jean Shen

Prophetic art is a work of art which reveals the Father's heart, His thoughts and intent, prophecies, strategies and timetable. It comes with form, line, texture, colors, symbols to enter through the human eyes and senses to lodge like an arrow into the hearts and spirit of men. Moreover, a piece of prophetic art is a "deep calls to deep in the roar of the waterfalls" (Psalm.42:7)

The vehicle can be a painting done in oil, watercolor, pencil, pastels, ink, crayons, or a sculpture of clay or metal, a multimedia collage...the list goes on. There is a difference between biblical art and prophetic art. Biblical art, in a general sense, depict stories and people from the Bible. These art pieces are beautiful and inspirational. They bring understanding, appreciation and remembrance for what God did in biblical times for the purpose of bringing our hearts closer to Him.

In contrast, prophetic art is God giving us a now word. He is communicating now. He is sending a visual "speech" which must be responded to now. Thus it comes with a sense of immediacy and urgency and timing. Usually it comes in through the eyes and hits the heart. Tears rush to the eyes; spirit is awakened to the voice of the Bridegroom. When the art piece is seen by those whom God has been preparing to receive that word, this is their typical response, "Yes, Lord.  I hear Your voice.  I feel Your heart."  

I consider it a privilege when He says to me,  " I want to use you and your art work. I have need of you."  It is the Isaiah 6 experience. The Godhead calls out, "Whom shall I send and who will go for us." When I answer back as Isaiah did in his time, "Yes, Lord, send me," He then says,  "Go and paint to tell the people my heart."  What follows is Romans 12:1, " Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - which is your spiritual worship."  Painting for the Father is my spiritual worship.

In l993, the Lord spoke a word that changed my life and called me into my destiny. "I want you to be a court painter, painting for the King, and I will provide for your every need." I had been so bound in fear and misery that I could not paint for 16 years even though I was teaching art at the University of California San Diego, Extension, for 23 years. From l993 to the present He has called me to paint 20 plus painting-words for Him. They came to speak prophetically to me in my journey out of torment and into freedom; at the same time they came to speak to the bride of Christ, His church, calling her to rise up and step into her destiny "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:24). These paintings have prophesied and accompanied the moves of God in this season of renewal and revival.

Many of my prophetic paintings were preceded by a birthing experience.   God uses my hand, eyes, thought, emotion, circumstances and background,  training,  pain and joy to conceive, design, create a word, a painting-word.  It is being the "handmaiden" of the Lord,  saying with life and death import, "May it be to me as you have said."  Indeed, to be a prophetic artist is to live the lifestyle of the lover of God. He shares His heart, His thoughts, His strategies with His friend and His beloved. Moses walked that way with God, so God shared His thoughts with him. If Moses were an artist, he might have painted God's thoughts. Is there a cost? Yes! A huge cost? It can be. At every juncture, when God is ready to call me to do another painting, He will ask me, "Do you want to go on with Me in doing this? The cost is higher now. Are you willing?" I have done 20 paintings for Him now in the past 10 years. It has been a "walking through fire and a passing through water" experience, as in Isaiah 43:2-3.  Nonetheless, the reward far outweighs the cost.

Prophetic artists are not on a solitary journey.  Usually I paint alone, but I can never paint His word without the intercessors praying for me, and my pastor covering me with his authority and confirmation. It is too dangerous to presume that I can do this on my own. As I look back on the past years, I see that He called someone who did not seem to qualify for the task at hand. I was so bound in fear that I could not paint for many years.  Yet He has taken my hands and walked with me step by step into my destiny, that of being "a court painter painting for the King."  In July of 2003, the Lord has seen fit to ordain me through the Third Day Churches (, thus sending not only my paintings and books out to minister to the body of Christ but sending me out to speak and to pastor in the realm of prophetic art.

This is the time, this is the season that God is saying to the prophetic artists, "Step into your destiny now. I am reclaiming the arts and using them in ways you cannot imagine. I am sending you to infiltrate the marketplace, the institutions of higher learning, all the places where people deny My existence. I am going to lead you in triumphal procession in My Son and through you spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Me. You will not be preaching yourselves, but My Son as Lord. This is the ministry that is of the Spirit, and thus it will give life. It will be a glorious ministry that brings righteousness! You are vessels of clay, but you carry this treasure, and all will know that this power is not from you but from Me. And thus since you have such a hope, you will be very bold. You are the sent-out ones, the warrior bride of Christ." (Please meditate on II Corinthians 2 - 4.)