When Ann Snowberger Bieber studied art at Houghton College, she would break into the college art studio in the middle of the night to paint. What she saw the next morning frightened her. Instead of the benign pictures her classmates painted, hers were haunting, dark portraits. Afraid other creative process and what she was painting, Bieber destroyed most other artwork and didn't pick up a paintbrush for 10 years.

"My 10 years of not painting was a long road of walking away from the spiritual truths in my life," Bieber says. Meanwhile, she married, had two children, worked as an agent for photographers and illustrators, and started her own film company. When she produced a music video-"Jesus Built My Hot Rod," by the heavy metal band Ministry-she realized how far she had wandered from God. After the video was finished, she discovered Warner Brothers, which produced the song, had changed the lyrics to proclaim Jesus as the Devil.

"When I heard the lyrics," Bieber says, "it was like God closed me into a small room. I could no longer feel his presence." She realized she had been ignoring God. "I had helped somebody say something incredibly wrong about what I believed, and I had helped in a big way."


In the studio other cavernous Chicago loft hangs a 9'xl8' abstract painting of falling bodies entangled in spider-weblike black lines. When Angels Lose Their Wings symbolizes the angels who fell to earth with Satan. It also represents how Bieber felt at the time. "I had run so far away from God, and I was feeling terrified of what I could see of Satan. I felt like God had cut himself off from me," says the passionate, dark-haired 38-year-old artist, songwriter, and poet.

The painting was her first since college. ...

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In the Magazine

February 3, 1997

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