Caricature/Cartoon Mark Twain -The man who crafted the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

“Mark Twain” was born on February 3, 1863 – in Virginia city, when he first signed his name as Mark Twain, instead of Samuel Langhorne Clemens the name he was given upon his birth on November 30, 1835.

I am happy to present the caricature of Mark Twain, the man who is often called the father of American literature. Perhaps he’s best known for his work “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

The caricature, cartoon, drawing, sketch, portrait of mark twain the famous american writer known for writing adventures of tom sawyer and adventures of huckleberry finn.

Kept them guessing about that autobiography for 100 years! It should sell well. Nothing fuels the sale of a book better than a tiny bit of curiosity arousal.

A Short Account of Mark Twain’s Life (A biography?)

Twain was born the seventh child of a merchant in Missouri. In those times, about a 150 years ago, it was common that many children didn’t survive their childhoods – four of Mark Twain’s siblings didn’t.

While going through Twain’s biography, I was shocked to discover how chequered his career was and how he was unsuccessful at most of the things that he tried to do – except of course, writing – and the fact that he didn’t write professionally for a very long time.

Twain began working when he was 18 and his first job was that of a typesetter for a newspaper called the Hannibal Journal. As it often happened in those days too, family ties helped when it came to finding a job. This newspaper was owned by Twain’s brother Orion. For the next four years, Twain educated himself through the public libraries.

For reasons that I can’t fathom, Twain returned to Missouri and became a riverboat pilot. Why? If I were to make an intelligent guess, it could’ve been because the pay was good, or even because the job was just right for the adventurer. I don’t know. Perhaps he’s left a clue in his autobiography.

Twain must’ve realized that as a writer it would be difficult for him to get paid for his work. Well, I guess Twain must’ve also felt indebted to his elder brother who gave him the typesetter’s job, so he thought that he should do the same for his younger brother (one act of nepotism begets another) and so he convinced his younger brother to become a steamboat pilot too. Unfortunately, the younger brother died in a steamboat explosion – Twain thus, lived with regret the remainder of his life.

Anyway, Twain continued working as a Steamboat pilot until 1861 – but he couldn’t stop writing. However, he first won national acclaim in 1965, when his humorous short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” was published in a New York weekly. (I guess one needs to be proficient in English to understand the story – because I couldn’t.)    

Twain married at the age of 33 and remained married for 34 years to the same lady (Olivia) until her death. (Those were the good old days.)

Mark Twain’s Autobiography

Twain wrote his autobiography (part fiction and part facts) and then didn’t allow it to be published for a 100 years. It was eventually published in 2010 – a 100 years after his death. Read a review of his autobiography and the story of its publication.

Mark Twain’s Premonitions

Twain was an extremely intuitive man. As the paranormalists would tell us, the artistic kinds are extremely vulnerable to stuff like “looking into the future”, “talking to the dead”, and other things tagged spiritual. So Twain foresaw his younger brother’s death a month, and his own, a year in advance. I wish he had said something about the Apocalypse too, but I guess he didn’t or Hollywood had made a movie about it.

In 1909, Twain said,
“I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”

Mark Twain’s Writings

Twain’s most famous books were written during his later years. Some of these are:

You can find the complete list of his books here and also here.

Twain’s Undoing

Mark Twain would’ve been a billionaire had he not been squandering away his fortune in the pursuit of science. The gentleman with the mustaches was in love with technology – and he always thought that technology would make him rich. He invented a few things, he made friends with Tesla (Remember that arcane thing called electromagnetism?) hoping to pick up a few things from him. Twain even invented a typesetting machine – but it all came to a naught. Rather, it robbed him of his earnings from writing and he went bankrupt!

Twain’s Whims

Mark Twain left instructions that his autobiography shouldn’t be published until 100 years after his death. Read about this whim of his in this News-story here.

Twain’s Affairs

Well…it’s said that he had become “extremely” close to Isabel Van Kleek Lyon, who had become his secretary after his wife’s Olivia’s death (check out some interesting facts here.) However, in his final years he had begun to feel that Ms. Lyon was a “slut” and that she was after his money. (Now anyone with even an iota of common sense would know that a young woman – okay middle-aged even, would be attracted to a seventy-year old man only if he had money. Ever heard of a rich young heiress falling in love with a seventy-year old beggar?! )

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NEWS! The Caricaturist publishes 2 Short and Funny eBooks on Smashwords!

This post has been long overdue but there were (and still are) worries that have been feasting on my time and energy. I have a lot of caricatures from the past that have been pestering me for their share of space on this blog, and I really need to get going.

So let me get you up-to-date by telling you that I’ve finally managed to publish two eBooks on Smashwords. I should tell you that Smashwords is easy, clean, and cool – and just the right tool for anyone who’s not very comfortable with the electronic technology.

Here the two of my recent efforts. If you’ve got an eBook Reader, you should download these free ebooks into your reader and read them there. These books have a strong visual dimension in the form of cartoons and they look really cool in the eReaders – at least they do in my iPad.

If you click the cover image icons of the books below, they will take you to the Smashwords pages of these two books. As you scroll down the Smashwords Book Page, you’d notice a table that lists the different formats that you can download the book in, so select the format that suits you best (I recommend PDF for reading on your desktop/laptop – otherwise select the format that goes with your eReader. iPad uses ePub.)

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist
The 5Ps of Creativity a Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist.
The 4 Types of Artists – Starving, Dying, Dead, and Rich! The 5 P’s of Creativity

Thanks for downloading and reading. If you like them, do return for reading more 🙂 I also request you to recommend the books to your friends.

Caricature/Cartoon of Joseph Stalin the Russian Marxist and the Totalitarian Tyrant who was Nominated for Nobel Prize!

Presenting Joseph Stalin, the 5 feet 5 inches tall giant, who was born on December 18, 1878,  “ruled” the USSR for 12 long years, was lauded for his achievements, ridiculed for his foibles, and criticized for his harshness!

The Caricature, Cartoon, Sketch, Drawing, Portrait of Joseph Stalin, the Communist Premier of USSR often criticized as a tyrant.

The mustaches? Oh, they help me hide my smirk.

Joseph Stalin’s Biographical Sketch

Stalin was born in a cobbler’s family in 1878. His early life gave him scars that’d stay with him for life, permanently etching into his mind a severe inferiority complex. First, he contracted smallpox (other kids teased him by calling him “Pocky” – in Russian, of course), then he damaged his left hand in a couple of accidents. Though initially he was a good student he gradually moved away from studies ans got into politics. It was in 1903, that a 25-year-old Stalin formally became a Bolshevik.

Joseph Stalin fought the Tzar’s regime and actively participated in the October revolution of 1917. During the Civil war that followed the October revolution, Stalin first experienced the feeling of unbridled power over people when he sent the Tzar’s followers to execution.

Stalin’s Real Name

was Losif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili!
He called himself Stalin (or “made of steel”) – a good thing he did – or it would’ve been nearly impossible to remember his name.

Stalin’s Relationship with Lenin

Stalin shared a love-hate relationship with Lenin. Stalin had joined the Bolshevik forces headed by Vladimir Lenin, in 1903 when he was a young man. Over the next twenty years, as Stalin’s importance grew within the party, his differences with Lenin grew too. In 1922, Lenin suffered a stroke, and Stalin became the General Secretary in his stead, and also his personal advisory. However, their relationship worsened during this period as Lenin thought of Stalin as rude abuser of power. This of course, didn’t matter, as Lenin died two years later, and Stalin assumed complete authority.

Stalin’s Atheism and his Persecution of the Religious

During Stalin’s time, it had become dangerous for people to publicly proclaim that they were religious. Atheism was the in-thing, and priests, nuns etc. were killed in thousands. It wasn’t just the Christians who were persecuted but the followers of all other religions. Ironically, Stalin supported Islam elsewhere in the world.

But what is really ironical is something else. Believe it or not, Stalin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948 (for his work towards ending the second world war – however, the guy who nominated him forgot that Stalin had first entered a “peace pact” with Hitler and only when Hitler reneged on his promise did Stalin began supporting the allies.) Thank God he didn’t get it!

Stalin’s Death

Stalin died in the October of 1953. His death was as much a subject of speculation as was his life. Some researchers believe that he was poisoned, others think that he died of an ailment caused by his being an incessant smoker. Whatever it was, his death generated a mix of extreme and opposing emotions.

Stalin’s personal life

Stalin’s regime is often described as brutal and tyrannical and the description holds true for the manner in which he treated his family.

  1. His son Yakov or Jacob, from his first marriage, attempted to commit suicide because he hated his father, but failed, only to be ridiculed by Stalin who said, “He can’t even shoot straight.” His son eventually committed suicide.
  2. His second wife is said to have either committed suicide or to have been murdered by Stalin after a quarrel.
  3. His son Vasili from his second marriage drank himself to death.
  4. A fictitious legend has it that even the mice in his many different abodes would hang themselves from his mustaches when he slept, and commit suicide.

Stalin’s Positives

It is said that Stalin is responsible for the industrialization of the USSR through the five-year plans. However, he achieved this by destroying free enterprise and establishing collectives. This plunged the USSR into poverty and misery and millions died of starvation.He is also thought to be the man responsible for improving the state of the Russian Intelligence.

Stalin’s Negatives

Stalin is infamous for “purging” the Soviet Union of the enemies (people of foreign ethnicity – Germans, Poles, etc), people who had committed the flimsiest of errors that could be re-painted as an offence, and so on). Researchers tell us that 700,000 people were executed under his regime, and he himself has been said to have signed the killing orders for about 40,000 of them. This guy, note, this guy was nominated for a Nobel Prize!

Quotes – Joseph Stalin

  • Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.
  • Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.
  • I believe in one thing only, the power of human will.
  • I trust no one, not even myself.
  • The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.
  • The only real power comes out of a long rifle.

Fascinating – aren’t they?

The 5 P’s of the Creative Process or The 5 Golden Steps to Creative Nirvana

(Download this article as a PDF here, and if you want to read it in your eReader, download it from Smashwords here.)

The 5 P's of the Creative Process or the 5 Step Model for Creativity and Creative Thinking

Creativity – the stronghold of the right-brained has always invited the envy of the left-brained. Oh, how they’d love to dissect and then logically analyze our brains to understand how they work and what processes they follow.

I am writing this post to tell the world that the mystery is solved and after a great deal of research and observation, it has been concluded that the creative process has been distilled into 5 distinct steps and miraculously, their names all begin with a P! I think I must be the second person after Philip Kotler to have arrived at such a P-articularly P-eculiar P-rocess.

Instead of killing you with anticipation, I’d rather kill you with my mint-fresh P-rocess.

Let me tell you about the 5 P’s of Creativity.

Warning: I stand absolved of all responsibility for lost assignments, irate clients, angry audience, whittled remuneration, and any other unhappy fallout of your using this process. However, if this process works for you, I’d appreciate if you pass this document to your friends, colleagues, spouses, children, neighbors, or even your TV-repairman  (who might be a struggling artist, for all you know.) Thank you. Now muddle on.

Step 1: Procrastinate

The 5Ps of Creative Thinking - A Path-breaking Model that establishes an easily replicable method for Creative Artists and Writers - cartoon-for-step-1-procrastinate..Folks, if you want to be creative, you need to first learn to procrastinate. I find this step extremely useful when I don’t experience one of those proverbial flashes of inspiration – and believe me, there seldom are any flashes of inspiration. I am prepared to go back on this statement-o-mine, the day I become famous – because creative flashes (gentlemen, note that these are different from hot flashes!) add an aura to an artist’s personality…but then that day mightn’t ever dawn. (Sigh!)

Research indicates that the duration of procrastination depends on the urgency of the assignment and is directly proportional to it.

How to Procrastinate Correctly?

In order to procrastinate effectively, you need to:

  • Avoid all mention of other people’s ideas on the subject in question, especially if they are in the same creative domain (writing for writers, art for artists, cartooning for cartoonists, and so on and so forth.) Such ideas would make you feel lousy and inadequate, which isn’t a healthy state of mind to be in.
  • Avoid contact with the left-brained, logic-driven, process-hogs – as they’d push you for what they term as “output” and mercilessly murder your creativity.
  • Devour news and information on the subject in question, whenever you are hit with a guilty conscience bred by your tardiness. It will make you feel less worthless.

Step 2: Panic

The 5Ps of Creative Thinking - A Path-breaking Model that establishes an easily replicable method for Creative Artists and Writers - cartoon-for-step-2-panic..After you’ve procrastinated enough, and when the deadline looms large enough to cover your entire horizon, you have to panic. This is what I do. After I’ve procrastinated enough, something begins to nag me to look at the calendar, and when I look at the date I panic.

Now don’t panic at the mere mention of this step. Look at it like this. When you panic your body gets into the state of high alert and you begin to look at all possible options to get out of the situation, which means you are now ready to generate ideas. Do you see how Procrastination leads you to Panic and Panic results in ideas? You see it – don’t you? Good.

Now the question is…

How to Panic Properly?

If you are to make best use of your panic you need to panic properly. Here are a few tips.

  • Email, message, or phone your family members, friends, and, acquaintances, and tell them that you’ve got to deliver the drawing the next day and that you are experiencing a creative blackout (something similar to what the writers bandy about as the writer’s block). Ask them to help you out. I’d call this method: Creativity Mining. Note: this sort of thing has to be done very delicately…I am sure you know what I mean.
  • If you stay with your family, darken the room and go on a limited period hunger strike! Though your family won’t realize it, you’d be able to emotionally blackmail them into generating ideas for you.
  • If and only if the above measures fail – sit down with your notebook in your hand and begin doodling – sometimes great things happen while you are doodling, just the way some great people are born because someone was out…well…doodling (also known as “sowing his wild oats.”)

Step 3: Precipitate

The 5Ps of Creative Thinking - A Path-breaking Model that establishes an easily replicable method for Creative Artists and Writers - cartoon-for-step-3-precipitateThis is the step where you make sense of your doodles. You begin connecting the dots with the topic in question. With the deadline glaring down upon you, ideas begin to flow. Everything begins to come together, and it coalesces into a beautiful workable idea.

This is also the time to have an encyclopedia, your references, and an Internet-enabled computer close by. Why? Because your imagination may end up ruining your life! Recently I did a caricature-cartoon for a magazine, in which in addition to the main character, I had to draw myriad other things, including an evil-looking shark. I got the main character right, I got the TV and the people in the TV right, but I didn’t draw the characteristic dorsal fin of the shark! And you know why I didn’t? Because I was too damn sure that I didn’t need a reference.

So…

How to Precipitate your Ideas Correctly?

  • Make a rough sketch – especially if you are creating a composition. You need to get the proportions right (or deliberately wrong – if you are a caricaturist.)
  • If you aren’t sure about how something looks, find some good references for it. I mean I couldn’t have drawn Caesar, or Napoleon, or even the Queen – if I didn’t use some reference pictures.

Step 4: Produce

The 5Ps of Creative Thinking - A Path-breaking Model that establishes an easily replicable method for Creative Artists and Writers - cartoon-for-step-4-produceWell. Now get your final worksheet/workbook/paper/canvas…or whichever work-surface you prefer, ready – and draw it – then color it if you must.

This step is easier to handle if you haven’t cut corners while “Precipitating” your idea. My personal experience suggests this step is usually the shortest (“Procrastinate” often takes the longest.) It’s also important to remember that if you’ve “Procrastinated” and “Panicked” enough, you should be really short of time by now.

As any artist would tell you, there isn’t much to this step.

Yet a How-to is warranted, so…

How to Produce your Creative Heap?

  • Sit down, concentrate, focus, and then…. let it all out. (I know…I know – it sounds just like that – and in fact…the relief is commensurate too.) If you are a budding caricaturist, you might find something useful in “The Evolution of a Caricaturist – A Book on How to Draw Caricatures,” other kinds of creative artists would do well to find their own fountains of tips and tricks to help them along this step.
  • Scan or Print your artwork. Check it out from all angles, gloat over it for as long as possible – and tell everyone around you that creative work drains you and saps you of your energy. If those around you can’t draw, they’d deify you – who knows, they might even want to get you stuffed for their living rooms – but take that chance, and enjoy the limelight.

Step 5: Pray

The 5Ps of Creative Thinking - A Path-breaking Model that establishes an easily replicable method for Creative Artists and Writers - cartoon-for-step-5-prayBefore you deliver your painstakingly created artwork to your client – Pray. Believe me, this step is almost if not more important that “Procrastinate” – because it adds that something extra to your work – this is step where you pray and you resolve that if your client likes this piece of work, then you’d never ever use the 5 P’s Process of Creativity again. This is the time when you tell yourself that when you receive your next assignment, you’ll have it ready before time…etc. etc.

I guess most artists do it already, but if you don’t you’d probably want a quick how-to on this too.
Here you go.

How to Pray and Repent for the Characteristic Artistic Tardiness?

  • Kneel, fold your hands, close your eyes, and pray that the client and the audience like your work. In the field of creative arts, prayer is the most creative art of all, so pray in a creative manner – so that your prayer catches the attention of the God or Goddess who’s in-charge of the Creative Department in heaven.
  • Write “I shall not use the 5 P’s method literally and will banish tardiness from my life,” on the drawing-sheets that you had used for rough work, at least a 100 times.
  • Tear the sheets on which you did the lines into tiny pieces, and flush them into toilet.

Repeat the 5 P’s when your next assignment comes your way.

And if you are busy with any of the five steps right now – you might want to download the PDF file for this path-breaking model for creative thinking by clicking the following icon. You can probably infer from the icon below that this PDF file comes complete with a flow-chart that you can print and tack to your soft-board as a ready reminder!

Icon for the 5P's of Creative Thinking Model pdf, which includes a printable flow-chart.

Click this picture to download the PDF of this article along with a printable flowchart!

Caricature/Cartoon – John F. Kennedy – The 35th President of the United States.

I am writing this post from the past. It’s the year 1962 and John F. Kennedy is still alive and making merry with Marilyn Monroe. America is completed bowled over by this boyishly handsome young President and his pretty, petite, and stylish wife Jacqueline Kennedy. They love the couple – ( the men secretly admire John F. Kennedy’s exploits while the women sympathize with the First Lady?) In other words, everything appears to be in order, and exactly as this caricaturist would like it to be – happy, romantic, mushy, and adulterous!

Here’s the caricature of this tragedy-stricken, handsome child of destiny. Presenting John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy the 35th President of the United States.

The Caricature, Cartoon, Sketch, Drawing, Portrait of John F. Kennedy, the Handsome 35th President of the United States who was assassinated by  Harvey Oswald in the third year of his presidency.

Tradition demands that I share JFK’s short and cute biography here. So here I go.

John F. Kennedy – A Quick Biographical Sketch

JFK or John F. Kennedy or “Jack” Kennedy was born in a politically active family on May 29, 1917. John suffered from various health issues from a very early age. The effect of his health on his attitude was compounded by his elder brother Joe’s achievements overshadowing his own. All this (and possibly more) made John something of a rebel when he was at school. After school he spent a mysterious month at the London School of Economics, later returning to study at Princeton University. (Note that the well-to-do, rich and connected Americans of those times, preferred to educate their kids abroad! There’s some glamor to this education abroad thing – isn’t there?) Anyway, JFK was a good student and he ended up at Harvard, where he completed his thesis as the age of 23, published it as a book, which quickly became a best seller.

After completing his education, JFK wanted to join the Army but couldn’t because he had some serious issues with his lower-back. Instead, he ended up joining the US Navy. (Wikipedia says that the “influence” (also called push or jugaad) of a senior Military guy was used to get him in the Navy – but then the ends are always more important than the means – and I am sure that Nixon’s election intelligence team must’ve gone into the nitty-grity of this whole affair and everything must’ve been found in order…so, I’ll not dig deeper into it. John married Jacqueline in 1952. The next few years were fraught with back problems and he had to undergo a few surgeries to have them corrected. It was in 1957 that he received the Pulitzer prize for a collection of biographies that he wrote and published about those US senators who risked their careers for their personal believes.

Anyway, one thing led to another, and JFK’s bravery made him save quite a few lives despite his back problems. Lives saved leads to medals earned (at least in the US they do.) (When I open my third eye (the one that belongs to the caricaturist in me) I see the entire Kennedy family moving in the living room to make room for his medals.) All this and more, including his brother’s untimely death, steered him towards the president-ship, and he became the 35th President of the US in 1961.

JFK finds an ally in Television:

In 1960 he stood for the Presidential elections again Richard Nixon, the Republican candidate (who later became the 37th President of the US). Theirs was the first presidential debate to have every been televised and, it is said that had it not been televised, history would’ve been different. People who hadn’t yet bought the idiot-box were happily listening to the debate on radio, and they favored Nixon, but those who watched the tv telecast of the debates found Kennedy a lot more charming and confident. (Who says looks don’t matter?)

Read more about the post-election politics here.

The Assassination of John F. Kennedy:

JFK’s assassination is possibly the most widely remembered event of his presidency. Three years into his term JFK was on a political trip to Texas, when a man called Lee Harvey Oswald shot him in the neck and the back. Oswald was killed by Ruby two days after the assassination. The crime remains unsolved to date.

John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe:

It is said the JFK was quite keen on the Hollywood Glamor Queen, the inimitable skirt-swirling, drug-doing Marilyn Monroe. However, his close friends, confidantes, and others at the White House chose to stay quiet about his affairs (possibly to spare the pain such knowledge would cause his wife and to avoid the damage that it could do to his image in public…and of course, they didn’t want to scare away the future Presidents – notably Bill Clinton.)

John F. Kennedy Quotes:

  • Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names
  • The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
  • We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.
  • For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.Find more JFK quotes at Brainy Quotes.

At his inaugural address on 20th January, 1961, Kennedy challenged the people of the United States with the statement: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country.” Guess it’s time for everyone around the world to be asking the same question…isn’t it?

Definition of Art…The Practical Standpoint!

Long ago I wrote a post in which I attempted to define art, purely from a theoretical and also idealistic viewpoint. You can read “Definition of art – A Theoretical Standpoint” here. In that post I had promised that one-day I would write its sequel, which would present the practical viewpoint. This is that post.

Warning:

  • If you are a budding artist, full of hope and brimming with confidence that you’d follow in Hussain’s or Raza’s footsteps, step back now. Don’t read this post. You can come back to read it after you’ve spent at least a decade trying to figure out whatever the heck didn’t work for you. It isn’t for you.
  • If painting is your only skill, and if you’ve got some surety that you’ll have someone to support your artistic pursuits all your life, without of course, expecting success in return (you know about Van Gogh, I presume) still this post isn’t for you. You might yet become what you aspire to be.
  • And finally, if you are indeed someone who comes from a well-connected family, even if you don’t draw, I’d recommend that you paint a few canvasses. The exhibitions, the fame, and even the sale of your paintings; they’ll all happen without your ever discovering why.

However, if you aren’t among the three types listed above, instead you are the more common type (the stereotypical struggling, starving artist who has crossed into his thirties and has a wife and a child to fend for,) you might want to print this post and tack it to your soft-board…or in the more realistic scenario of your not being able to afford a soft-board, you must fold the printout and put it in the only pocket of your trousers that still doesn’t have holes.

Here’s the practical definition of Art.

Art – A Practical Definition:

Art is what sells at the famous art galleries for sky-high prices.

Practically speaking art is nothing more than this.

How you get to sell your art in those famed galleries could be a matter of:

  1. Luck
  2. Slog
  3. Both
  4. The X-factor

Let me explain the above four points in greater detail.

Art Element 1: Luck

You’ve got this fabulous collection of innovative work, and you are wondering how to exhibit it. You get a call from someone who’s seen your work, admired it; and who knows someone who is somebody in the artistic circles. This person comes to your studio, checks out your work, swoons, and decides to exhibit your work in a prominent gallery. Voila! Lady Luck has short-listed you. Now your chances are bright that you’d indeed get lucky.

I’d put your chances that you’d turn lucky at about 1 in 10,000

Art Element 2: Slog (Euphemistically known as Hard Work.)

You’ve got this fabulous collection of artwork, and you lug it around to every gallery, famous, not famous, and infamous; show your work to every body from the doorkeeper to the owner, and you get the boot.  Then one gallery decides to give you a group-show. You don’t sell anything. Then the next year you lug your work around to every gallery – finally, you get a group show, and you sell one painting. Every year the number grows. After 10 years, you get your first solo, and you sell one painting. You go on doing solos. The number of paintings sold grows. Then when you turn 75, you’ve got a 50% sellout! Wow! You are an artist!

You can now tell your family that finally it’s your turn to take care of the expenses. You can now also tell your elder brother that he needn’t send you that Dole-the-Family-Artist check every month.

Art Element 3: The Combination of Slog and Luck

Now if you work hard and you get your solo in a year and a sellout in 10 years; you are a lucky slogger. Chances that you become a “real” artist who earns his bread, butter, mayonnaise…and then later his house and car, in this way – Better than pure luck, worse than only slog. Somewhere in the middle, if you ask me.

But if you’ve got that magical x-factor, then…before I kill the surprise, let me tell you about the x-factor.

Art Element 4: The X-Factor!

The x-factor is a publicly unknown factor, which is seldom made known to the general public by the artist, but which can be discovered if only the public had a keen eye.
The x-factor may include one or more of the following:

  1. High-society connections
  2. Money, money, money
  3. Empowered (and empowering) relatives
  4. The unmentionables (couches?)

I really don’t think that one post is sufficient to cover all these components. I might tell you some stories with the names changed to help you understand why these factors are so effective. I mean you really have work hard not to succeed, if at all you had the x-factor!

Chances of your becoming a famous artist if you have the x-factor: 9,997 out of 10,000!  (I keeping the 3 out of 10, 000 chance as my Get-out-of-Jail-Free card.)

Before I end this post, I’d like to publicly apologize to all the successful artists including the dot-dabber, the horse-rider, the box-maker, the shit-sprayer, the bone-master, and the can-caner!

But…you want to say something. Say it.
Okay. I’ll say it for you. You wanted to say that there are so many of those artists that don’t really appear to have the x-factor…

Observe and Identify…the x-factor.

Really?

  • Figure out whether the lady in question is the wife or the daughter of a diplomat,
  • find out whether her mom is a famous writer and how she was born in a mansion that’s right there in the heart of the city,
  • figure out how an Indian woman born a 100 years ago could get her nude pictures shot by her brother and not get shot in turn, only because she was born a princess;
  • decide why though you can draw and paint almost as well or better than a South Indian king, but you end up in a two-room apartment with a broken, discolored center-table in your drawing room (just in case you are wondering whether I am talking about the table in my drawing room I should tell you that I am talking about another, perhaps a lot more talented gentleman who is about 15 years my senior.)

Begin joining the dots my friend, and turn wise BEFORE you turn old. If you are young, I’d recommend that you try your best to attract a useful spouse who comes in either with connections or with money. If you fail at that, then the best thing that you can do is – join an advertising agency and build the right contacts.

Don’t bet your life on that one random event, which has a 1 in 10,000 chance of coming true (the chance could be even lower for all I know – I just picked a reasonable sounding figure…) If you can draw, first find a job with an ad-agency, an animation company, or a publishing house – and then try to win that lottery.
Or…
Check out one of those reincarnation schemes that assure your rebirth in a family of your choice. What? There aren’t any reincarnation schemes in the market?!! That’s too bad – isn’t it?

A Special Note for the Cynical Reader:

I am not biased against the fine art of selling the fine art. I have also written a moderate, optimistic, theoretical definition of art, which you can read at: “Definition of art – A Theoretical Standpoint”. I hope it will establish me a rational, left-brained, right-handed, useful, non-sinister member of the world community.