Last week, I was down with viral fever. The whole week, all hundred and sixty-eight hours of it, went up in a puff. Then, yesterday, I happened to meet an artist and my conversation with him, fueled up my thought-process.
All these years, I had kept a lid on my need to paint my soul and its connection to the world. I had done everything that wouldn’t let me feel the pain of seeing my own vulnerabilities. I had boarded shut the window that opened into my soul. The connection of my soul with the world is, as you might surmise, full of knots and tangles. It is going to perhaps be the most difficult thing to paint. But I must paint it so that I can see it as much as others can – for only then will I truly understand it.
Recently, since I’ve begun to connect with contemporary artists, I’ve been learning things that I hadn’t known all this while. That illustration, cartooning, and caricature-drawing don’t qualify as art, and that an artist’s past as an illustrator or a cartoonist, in some way makes the artist’s art less palatable.
Oddly, I cannot nod a blind yes to it, for in my books an artist and his art is the sum-total of the artist’s past – and whatever colors that artist chooses to put on the canvas are made from his sweat and blood, and those countless hours that he spent perfecting his skill. I believe and I seriously do, that we cannot have artists popping out of pre-approved molds.
Yesterday, I stood in a gallery looking at works that didn’t speak to me. They made me feel dead inside. I’m sure the artist felt otherwise. She, in fact had reasons for every little thing she had put into her works, and she was animatedly describing them to her audience. She spoke of her experiences and how it made her art what it was. The art was her expression, but the world that it connected to, wasn’t mine.
I am beginning to think that one of the important characteristics of art is the soul-connection. It should be born from an artist’s soul and then it should embrace the viewer’s. Without this connection, art would never find its patrons, and without patrons, the artist’s work will never be seen.