The Picture of Oscar Wilde – Caricature, Portrait, Reflection?

A few hours ago I finished reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” the second time. When I had read it the first time, I was too young to understand the complexities the lie under the surface of the story.

In the preface of the book, Oscar Wilde says:

The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.

Reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” after having read about Oscar Wilde’s own life, made me reflect on the character of Dorian Gray representing Oscar Wilde’s lover Lord Alfred Douglas in form and personality, but in his need to experiment and “feel” life, he appears closer to Oscar Wilde himself.

Despite my current pre-occupation with a deeper and more profound expression of art, I found myself caricaturing Oscar Wilde as a reflection of himself. I think that “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” lies on the cusp between realism and romanticism – and presents Wilde’s internal conflict not only about his sexual identity (for which he was arrested) but also about his leanings toward aestheticism.

Thus, I see Oscar Wilde as Dorian Gray, the Caliban who doesn’t want to see realism (his own aging portrait,) and who is tired of romanticism (the ideal forever young face that he has – because he knows that it’s unreal and not his own.)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I present to you the picture and reflection of Oscar Wilde in the half-truth of Dorian Gray.

Caricature Portrait Reflection Picture of Oscar Wilde Dorian Gray Alfred Douglas and Caliban.

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The Kingfisher – About Rain, Dew, Tears, and Fish.

As a student of Management, I had learned about TOMA or Top of the Mind Awareness. If we remove the chaff of the jargon, what it means is that some brands grow so big, that when a customer thinks of an industry, that particular brand comes to his mind first. For instance, if I think of sport-shoes, I think of Nike, if I think of watches, I think Titan, and so on. TOMA is the final stage of creating brand-awareness – the first two being brand-recognition and brand-recall.

This is precisely the case with this kingfisher who often sits on the electricity wire that kills the view from my window. I sometimes wonder how various animals and birds make such connections. Either evolution hardwired these connections in them or they got conditioned to make these connections, but whenever I look at the kingfisher, I feel that he’s connecting the dots.

Bird kingfisher painting - wildlife, pets, and bird paintings by shafali

A single-minded, focused individual is like this kingfisher here. An artist or a writer is however the stark opposite of this kingfisher. For these ilk of people, a raindrop is pregnant with a hundred possibilities; a dewdrop with a thousand. The creatives need the kingfisher to continue creating; the kingfishers need the creatives to make their lives worthwhile.

Why Symbolism can go where Realism can’t.

Let us begin by understanding the two terms.

Realism:

Realism, especially modern realism, which flourished at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and since then has fallen into a predictable rhythm, is about depicting a scene as-is, with almost photographic precision. There has been another school of art also called realism, which flourished in the medieval times, and which presented an idealized and beautified version of a picture.

Let me explain through an example. If you were to paint the scene of a bench in a park with a garbage bin in the vicinity – as a modern realist, you’d show the banana peel under the bench, and if perchance the garbage disposal squad hadn’t arrived by then and the bin was overflowing, you’d diligently paint the garbage too.  However, if you were attempting to replicate medieval realism (closer to romanticism,) your painting will have replaced the banana peel with a dandelion and the garbage bin with a statue of a voluptuous woman. In both cases, you’d have painted the proportions, the colors, the lights and shadows…and everything else very, very realistically.

So that was about realism. Now, let us talk about symbolism.

Symbolism:

Simply speaking, symbolism is the use of symbols in your imagery. For instance, if you want to show pain and agony along with the feeling of being trapped, you might use objects that relate to these feelings (so an artist may decide that the imagery of a barbed wire fence with a bloodied rag could convey the feeling,) or you might use a totally different representation to “show” the mental condition of such a person. How an artist wishes to symbolize a feeling, an idea, a thought, is for the artist to decide.

Do you see the difference?

Realism vs. Symbolism – The Difference

Realism is a faithful replication while Symbolism is the presentation of the artist’s interpretation. For this reason, odd and unrelated imagery may be found in a symbolist’s art. The artist would always have an interpretation for the artwork that he or she created, but as a person viewing the artwork, the audience must carry away their own interpretation of it. Just the way a writer explains a character’s personality, thought-process, plans, ideas, fears, expectations etc. all through the use of similes and metaphors, the artist uses the visual counterpart of these tools to establish a story within an artwork.

This is why Symbolism can go where realism can’t. Realism can present you with the faithful representation of the visual that the artist sees, but it cannot take you into the hearts and minds of people, it cannot tell you the story of a person, it cannot transfer feeling and emotion into the artwork. No amount of realistic imagery can tell you anything about the thoughts that crowd the mind of a woman who becomes a dacoit after being gang-raped; Nothing in the domain of realism can show you the mental strength and capability of a man fighting his own schizophrenic demons. To paint such pictures, you must step out of the comfort zone of realism.

Photographers – The New Realists

The photographers today do a better job at realistic depiction of visuals. Some photographs have the ability to evoke emotions so powerful that they move nations into action. And yet, a single photograph cannot take you on a visual odyssey into the world of feelings, thoughts, emotions, or even stories – because stories don’t happen at a point in time, they happen over time – and this is where the artist steps in and  takes you beyond the surface of the paint, into a world that begins to make sense…little by little.

Most artists start as realists. They faithfully paint what they see. Then they begin to feel the constraints and start exploring. Dali discovered Surrealism, Andy Warhol found Pop Art, and Picasso got Cubed. I don’t think that artists deliberate too much upon the path their art would eventually take – I think their art finds its own direction and then they just follow.

I think I’ve just finished writing the Dummy’s Guide to Realism vs. Symbolism 🙂 I am sure you’ve got it all. Now I must find my digital easel and get back to work. 

115 F, a blistered finger, and feeling blessed.

The middle of an Indian summer isn’t exactly paradise. During the two months of May and June, the fire of hell escapes from the belly of earth and smothers us with a blanket of hot air that scalds the lungs and burns the skin. The afternoon temperature hovers between 110 and 120 F – the computers heat up, and so does my direct-to-screen drawing tablet.

In the middle of all this, I find myself working on an urgent assignment that, as I will later discover, to work from 6 in the morning to 7 in the evening. I wake up, ready to go to work, hoping that I’ll be able to use the air-conditioning for those few hellish hours of the day; and then the unthinkable happens. Right at 5 AM, the power goes off! while the heat hasn’t begun to show its true colors yet, I am devastated!

As I try to introspect and reschedule my work to afternoon, wondering if sending the files to the client in the middle of the night would make any sense; I see a tiny speck of hope. “It’s a planned power-cut of 6 hours,” said the official newspaper reader of the house who is also my organized-to-a-fault much better half.

So I decide to work until the power-backup exhausted itself. No Air-conditioning – aircons are power-hogs and they aren’t plugged-in to the backup. Without the air-conditioning, my Cintiq heats up and starts scorching my fingers. A small selfish part of me keeps praying for the backup to die. It would cut this torture short and give me a temporary respite. It doesn’t happen. The tablet continues to heat up…the air around keeps pace.

The power comes back on 30 minutes earlier than expected. Awesome! A quick breakfast and I am back to work. And then it hits me. The artwork that I was working on was complex and it would take me a very long time to finish it. Especially if I took all those breaks that the Doctor advised. So I do the unthinkable – with my fingers crossed, I take my chances. I decide to work non-stop (except for the loo-breaks) until I am done with my work. I am hopeful that I’d be done by 4 PM. I strike gold – finish the sketch on time – but with an angry red boil on the side of my little finger.

I should’ve been happy that it was done – I should’ve given my tired me a break from work, but I couldn’t. All through the day, I was nagged by the thought that a part of the concept didn’t appear convincing…and I had to handle it somehow. What the client wants is something that you must create, but what your conscience suggests is something that you mustn’t ignore. So I return to my art-mate, sketching furiously – creating an option that would take out the thorn from me side. Providing a possible alternate to something that I feel may potentially harm the client, is my job – or so I think. All that extra work – Not pragmatic? Perhaps…but it leaves me more at peace with myself.

So I work three extra hours and upload the sketches by 7 PM.

Delivered as promised; delivered as it should’ve been 🙂

It made me feel good…but what made me feel blessed was the fact that this morning, I woke up feeling OK, except of course the blistered finger, which reminds me that if these tiny things are beginning to register again, I must be feeling better. I know I haven’t yet healed completely, and by working 13 hours at a stretch, I had taken a chance that I shouldn’t have. And yet…

Right now, I am feeling blessed. Frazzled but blessed.

Feeling blessed - a pen and ink drawing - shafali's art. Artists and Commissions.

Feeling frazzled but blessed!

PS: Need those gloves…pronto – and yet, a delivery deadline met so… despite a blistered finger, feeling blessed 🙂 After all Happiness is…

 

Portrait Art – Hats that women wear: Hat No. 2

Women wear different hats for different occasions and at different ages. The hats also change form on the basis of what society expects from them at a particular forum.

The hats that I paint are the ones that women wear inside, those that are made of the thoughts that crowd a woman’s mind – some of these thoughts are fearsome, others delightful; some are crazy enough to border on the loony, others are balanced and rational; a few of these thoughts must arise to meet the challenges that life throws upon the thinker, and many that are woven with the threads of the wearer’s dreams.

Here’s the second hat.

Portraits of Women - Face, profile, side face, hats that women wear - this is hat 2, the hat of ambition.

 

I leave the interpretation to my visitors as our past experiences could help each one of us interpret this hat differently.

Does this hat belong to you? or to someone you think you know well? If it does…you are right, because women don different hats at different stages and phases of their lives, and many of us have worn this hat too – not very willingly though.

The hats are still torturing me. They make me paint them…they steal my hours and my days, the time that must go into more productive affairs – and yet there isn’t much that I can do, except do their bidding.

Portrait Art – Hats that Women Wear: Hat No. 1

The hat is an odd accessory. For men, it’s utilitarian. It protects them from the sun – and that’s all that it means to them. For a woman, a hat is a lot more than a sun-screen – it is a fashion-accessory, an art-piece, a status-symbol, and for all these reasons a woman’s hat expands to an incredible size and becomes a weight that must be carried around carefully and sometimes unwillingly.

When I look at women in hats, I think of their heads and what must go within. I begin to wonder if the pictures in these women’s minds were to replace their hats, what kind of image would I see.

Here’s one of those images.

Women Girl Portraits - Face and Hat - Depression - Digital Painting by Shafali

Figuring out the hat isn’t easy, unless you are a woman, or a man who understands women. The clues are in the colors and the imagery of the hat – and I’ve tried to hide them as best as I could – just as a woman hides her woes behind her smile. I know that tomes can be written about the burden that women carry but if a picture is worth a thousand words, every woman should find her story – in this hat or in those that I am yet to paint…because the hats aren’t allowing my imagination any rest – they creep into my dreams and they wake me up at will.

You’ve got a similar hat…but you’d rather not talk about it – would you?

Stealing is stealing! Period. Don’t disguise Plagiarism as Appreciation.

This post is about creative effort. It’s about the ownership of content. It’s about calling a spade a spade and a thief a thief.

This post has been triggered by my friend Barb’s post here.

Artists, writers, music-composers – all those who earn their living through creative effort have felt the pain of their work being stolen. There was a time when I used to wonder why otherwise “honest” people are quick to steal the creative work of their fellow-beings; why people who’d never, not even in their dreams, steal a watch, a cellphone, a diamond ring, or money – would quite readily pounce upon creative content and present it as their own. But that was another time, another era. Since then, through many such misfortunes of my own, I’ve discovered why.

 

Why People Steal Creative Work?

I’ve realized that there are three main reasons why people steal creative work (an act that’s euphemistically called Plagiarism.)

1. The Quality of Creative Work is Subjective.

 I may say that James Bama or James Christensen are better artists than M.F. Hussein or Andy Warhol, but there are hundreds of thousands out there who’d verbally slash me into ribbons for saying so – and they’d have a more objective reason to counter me – the quantum of commercial success.

When quality of the output is subjective, everyone wants to be there and do that. And people who steal aren’t really the connoisseurs – they are those who just assume that all art is equal and available in abundance, and that if they steal an artwork, they are in fact, putting their stamp of approval on the artist. In fact, they presume that artists must be grateful for the attention.

2. Artists don’t/can’t fight back.

They don’t because the environment has trained them to be at the receiving end, just the way others are trained to think of artists as good-for-nothing bums who are just waiting for someone to notice their work and drop a penny in their bowl. They can’t because most artists whose work gets stolen are not famous and rich yet – and so they don’t have the means to drag the thieves to the court and make them pay. Have you ever heard a famous singer’s work being plagiarized in his or her own country? It doesn’t happen. But across borders, the thieves find their nerve, because law is often biased to favor the citizens of that country. And so the cross-border art-thieves are safe.

3. Copying isn’t Stealing!

In some cultures, copying isn’t stealing. Parents help the children trace, they help the children by drawing/writing for them, they even help the children change a few lines here and there so that the artwork appears to have been drawn by the child. The child grows up with the belief that copying isn’t stealing. Unfortunately, in art, in music, and in literature; IT IS! Rote learning is, in a way, learning to copy and learning to accept that copying is moral and legal. When a fourteen-year old learns an explanation of a passage by rote and regurgitates it on his examination answer sheet, only to get a perfect score, he also learns that creativity is crap.

Three Examples of Creative Work being Stolen

Stuff has been stolen from me all my life. Some of the things were material and I don’t recall most of them, but some were created with my sweat and pain, and I remember all those quite well.

Among many  such robberies that shredded my faith in the integrity of my fellow human-beings, here are three such incidents – going backwards in time.

1. Cross-border Stealing

Some months ago, I got an email from a German gentleman who preferred to stay anonymous. He told me that a studio in Germany was stripping my credentials from my caricatures and presenting them as their samples to generate business. They even had a Facebook Page for it. I tried to harness the power of social media to stop the studio from doing so. Of my 50 or so Artist friends, none responded. They didn’t want to fight back. (Point 2 in the first list.)

One of my artist friends once remarked that we shouldn’t waste our energy on trying to stop the scum from stealing, instead, we should focus on creating. I’d like to ask the artists who believe that there’s no need to fight back – if someone stole their car, would they be as willing to step back and let the thief have it, as they would if someone stole their art?

Stripping a creative work of the credit and using it – is stealing. Period.

2. Within-borders Stealing

A little more than a year ago, one of the most prominent newspapers here (this publication also happens to be one of the largest circulated English daily newspapers of the world) , carried a caricature that I had done three years ago. My credit, my signature, all neatly cropped off. It was presented in a manner that it cast the impression of having been created by one of the caricaturists that caricatured the guests at a restaurant featured in the newspaper. It didn’t just hurt me, it also hurt all those who went to the restaurant hoping to get a caricature in the style and quality that was mine. But that shouldn’t hurt me, right? After all, who am I to say that the caricaturists hired by the restaurant at possibly a measly $10 an hour weren’t better than me? Remember point 1 in the first list? The quality of creative work is subjective.

I wrote to the editor…she sweet-talked, then she tried to pin the responsibility on a junior editor, next on an external party – never once apologizing. I was willing to let the matter go, she only had to accept and apologize. So I gave up and wrote to the Managing Director of the Publishing House. I never got an apology, but those I know in there, told me that she did get pulled up for it.

Not apologizing doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stealing. It was, and it will remain. Period.

3. Stealing from a Child

When I was in eight-grade, I used to draw pictures (generally, figures with decorative borders) and sometimes leave them between the pages of my books. A teacher, let’s call her SB (those are her actual initials,) borrowed my book so that she could ask us to read the passages from the book. From my place on the first bench, I saw her open the book and surreptitiously drop that sketch in her desk drawer; my friend saw it too. I felt sad, because it was a rather nice sketch and I wanted to go home and show it to my father. Nobody said anything, but the whole class knew that our teacher was a thief and she stole from the kids.

People who tried rationalizing this for me, told me that she did this because she liked my work, and that I should take it as a compliment.

So, if you like someone’s wife, steal her, because you are just paying a compliment to the man.
If you like someone’s pen, pilfer it, because you are merely expressing your appreciation for the pen.

You won’t.
Because your morality tells you that it’s not right. Because you know, that you cannot clad the act in the cloak of appreciation.

In truth, when my teacher took my drawing without asking me, she stole. Period.
In truth, when you take a creative work and make it look like you did it, you steal. Period.

I know you won’t.
Because you know that it’s immoral. It’s like saying that you fathered another man’s child. You wouldn’t do it. Would you?

So my dear otherwise honest friends, if you want an image for a non-commercial purpose, request permission from the artist. If you want to use it commercially, pay for it. It’s that simple, really 🙂  

 

5 Childhood Symptoms of an Artist – for the Parents of an Artist-in-Diapers!

What triggered this post?

If you know me, I try not to tell people how to do something unless it’s about drawing. However, I’ve had about enough of every parent making a future artist out of every little child who may or may not be born to stay creative all his life. (Note that only 2% of the human population retains a highly active right-brain, right into their adulthood.) I’d like all those who love to draw and paint to become artists, and not the vice-versa (either way. Go figure… there’s a 98% chance that you’ve got an active left-brain, so you are the genius,) and this is why I decided to make this post. I expect to be lambasted by some…but I really don’t care – because if you indeed have a little artist in your family, he or she deserves a happier and more productive childhood than your constant meddling would result in.

A quick point to note here is that you’d never hear parents saying that their son or daughter is a born doctor, engineer, lawyer, politician etc. Yet, the moment a child puts the first stroke of color on a piece of paper, they begin seeing a Norman Rockwell, a Salvador Dali, or at least an Andy Warhol in their child. The Indian parents possibly see a Raja Ravi Verma, an Anjoli Ela Menon, or at least an MF Hussein in their baby.

Before I tell you the symptoms and give you the tips, I’d like to make an assertion, “almost all kids draw.”

Almost All Kids Draw.

Given a piece of paper and pencil, every child would draw. My dear parents, a child doesn’t need your constant observation followed by your continual chiding to become an artist. If anything, it’s going to put him or her off art for life. Just because a child draws doesn’t mean there isn’t an Einstein, a Michael Jackson, a Whitney Houston, or even an Abraham Lincoln hidden in him or her. When a child is expected to excel at something that was just a manifestation of curiosity – the expectation and the following demands from the parents could lead to a severe inferiority complex in the child. So,  leave the child alone to discover. Kids want to be something different each year, and they generally haven’t made up their minds until they are in their mid-teens.

Yet a few of the millions of kids growing up at any given time are born to be an artist, a scientist, a singer, an actor…and because their internal need to become what they are meant to be is in their blood (figuratively speaking,) they end up becoming what they were meant to be – with or without any help from their parents. What the parents can do is, not to block the way of their child’s natural mental evolution.

I have an excellent recollection of the things that I hated as a child. These things did make me step away from art many a times. If you are wondering whether I must be pathologically emotional to remember small things such as these, I must make you aware of another fact. If your child is of the artistic-kind, he or she may be over-emotional, over-empathizing, over-sensitive etc. We are all like that. My maternal great-grandfather died when he joined the medical college, because he couldn’t handle the dissection of a corpse that he had to do because his father wanted him to become a doctor and was unable to accept that his son was meant to be a poet.  Remember, that if your child is made for becoming an artist, you’ve got a kid who scores higher on emotions and less on practical decision-making.

However, if you have a child that’s meant to be a normal, productive, practical citizen of the world, and you’ve branded him or her an artist, you are still doing a disservice to your progeny. You’d build expectations around your child that the poor kid won’t be able to fulfill. This will lead to confusion and overall drop in the development of your child’s personality.

While my best tip on this is – let the child discover and choose, don’t brand him or her too early in life,  I know that as a parent, you’ll never be able to do that, so..

In my opinion, these are the 5 Childhood Symptoms that could stamp “Artist” on the forehead of your child.

5 Childhood Symptoms of an Artist

Symptom 1. Notebooks are for Drawing. Period. (Age: 5-6)

Your child’s notebooks and books are filled with drawings that surprisingly make sense to even your jaded senses. Even at this tender age, the artist-child’s drawings will demonstrate an innate understanding of proportions. Note that I am not talking about a hut, three triangular hills for the background, and four stick figures in the foreground. That’s regular stuff. You need not worry that your child will go to the dark side (namely art) if this is all he or she draws. I am talking about newer stuff. Attempts to draw a bird, an elephant, not just a flower, but a rose…that kind of thing.

Symptom 2. Comics are for Looking at Pictures – and definitely not for Reading (Age 7-8)

Your child prefers lonely corners to read comics and other illustrated books. Closer observation reveals that the illustrated pages don’t turn for a rather long-long time. The child’s notebooks are now filled with more interesting and more detailed drawings. The proportions in the figures are funnily always right. You begin to fear that your child is beginning to trace pictures and passing them off as his or her own. If you get that feeling, don’t share it with your child. You’ll break a tiny trusting heart. Others (in your family and your friend circle) begin to notice that there’s something special about your child…and they begin to make unflattering remarks such as, “isn’t your child a bit shy?”, “why doesn’t she go out and play?”, “don’t you think you must meet a counsellor?” – Ignore, if your child is really producing eye-catching drawings during this time. Artists aren’t very outgoing people. Even grown artists prefer the solitude of their studios. Talking to people, laughing inanely at stuff because it’s socially appropriate to do so, is an anathema to most artists.

 

Symptom 3. First Experiments on Creating Likeness Begin (Age 9-10)

Your child tries to impress you by creating a drawing with an unfailing likeness of you, your spouse, or your dog…of the family. While you shouldn’t be the one telling the child that he or she is an artist, when the child looks for approval, you should be the first one to give it. Yes, you need to provide the child with approval not with a set of dos and don’ts.

Remember that even when you force a child to use a medium of “your” choice to draw, you are forcing the child. Let the kid choose. (For your benefit, if you can draw/color with one medium, you can do it with any other medium. It’s the expression of the picture that forms in the mind that makes an artist, not the medium of expression.)

A Piece of Advice for the well-meaning parents:
Don’t Prattle. This is also the time when the child will experience negativity and jealousy in the environment. Other parents will begin to question the authenticity of your child’s work, because you as a proud parent will be brandishing the artwork done by your child under everyone else’s noses – and while they’ll go “wow”, “fantastic”, and “prodigy” in front of you, they’ll call your child aside and ask where he traced it all from or whether you were the one who drew it instead. This will imprint on to the child’s mind and will remain there forever. Trust me on this.

Symptom 4. Don’t Show me Off! I am not a Performer! (Age 10-12)

Around this age, your child’s progress as an artist will accelerate. Recall that mediums don’t ever matter to an artist – nor will they to your little budding artist. Let the child be, and unless the child wants to show you stuff, don’t meddle. Also don’t go around telling everyone in the family how good an artist your child is. It may help the budding singer, the budding dancer…or any other budding performance artist; it doesn’t help the budding artist. The output of the artistic process requires many iterations before it becomes perfect, and believe me, it’s a time-consuming process.

Asking a child to draw something from scratch in front of a group of uncles, aunts, cousins, is like setting up a time-bomb in the child’s heart. The kid wants to please you, and so tries to draw under pressure, and fails to create something that is really pleasing. This remains in the child’s mind forever. In future, your child will either hide the drawings from you, or draw less. If your child is an artist and you know it, let it be a secret between both of you. Remember that a painter is not a performing artist – a painter is an introvert by nature, a performing artist an extrovert. A painter lives in a world of imagination, a performing artist thrives on interactions. Also remember that the right brain is not just associated with creativity, it’s also associated with feelings, imagination, intuition, and mental imagery. So this child will be a lot more sensitive to everything – to the good and to the bad.

Symptom 5. Almost there. Freebies and Desperation! (Age 12-15)

This is the time when you reap the fruits of your labor, either way.

If you kid was meant to be an artist, either your constant ministrations, your attempts to show-off, and your unrealistic expectations have already veered the child completely off art; or if your kid was meant to be next Einstein, you’ve woven a complex web of confusion around the child. This is also the time, when in 9 out of 10 cases, you wake up to realize that your kid drew only because all kids draw, and that now he or she must become an engineer, doctor, lawyer, or if nothing else, at least a politician.

However, if your son or daughter indeed were to become an artist, you’ll see symptoms such as an increased propensity towards loneliness, increased consumption of art material, increased disregard for neatness…and so on and so forth. If you see this – talk to your child, send him or her to an art-school instead of forcing the kid to find an alternative to Napier’s Constant or dissect a poor squirrel. Most painters are drunk on their imagination – so if you begin to see that dreamy look in your teenager’s eyes, don’t assume the worst. Now you know that a dozen years or so ago, you really had given birth to an art-prodigy.

I’d still recommend that you let the artist child be and not indulge your natural desire to bask in the glory of your child’s abilities. It is going to increase the work-load on your child. Didn’t get it, did you? Let me illustrate. I can’t even recall the exact number of free drawings I’ve made in my life – until one day I was so broken that I decided to decline every damn request of free drawing that came my way. I presume I hurt people on my way – if hurting freeloaders counts, but I just couldn’t bring myself to draw for nothing again. The thought had begun to repel me. Twenty years of drawing for nothing is something, isn’t it? Remember that art too takes time, energy, and it often leaves you with lower and upper back problems. The more you tell your relatives, friends and associates about your child’s artistic abilities, chances are that she will be spending all her waking moments, making free stuff that will hang in someone’s bathroom – all because you didn’t want your child to say no to Mrs. X or Mr. Y.

A Final Note:
In my opinion, a real artist is someone whose work is appreciated by the common man on the street – he or she is the one who was born to be an artist, because this person doesn’t need someone with a studied, conscious, acquired appreciation of art, to appreciate or criticize his or her artwork. We all are born with the innate visual sensibility that helps us differentiate between the artistic wheat and the feigned chaff. This is why, a real artist is appreciated by everyone (exceptions being those who have a personal axe to grind with the artist,) and such artists can exist as nothing but artists. Dear Moms and Dads, remember that facilitation is different from force-feeding. Making an 8-year old child take a course in art, just because you think she or he is good at it – is forcing them to change a happy vocation into a duty.

The best help that you can possibly offer is to be there for them when they need you. These kids are different – they are both a little better and a little worse than their peers.

A Parting Note:
Artist-kids (for want of a better term,) have visual memories. They’ll always remember everything visually…and some of them will possibly remember visuals from the time when they were two or three years old. Those visuals won’t make sense to them until much later, but as they mature, they’ll begin to give meanings to each of those visuals. I don’t know how you’d like to use this information, but I hope it helps.

And the Inevitable Disclaimer (with gratitude to the genius who first thought of disclaimers.)
This post is based on an artist’s experiences and recollections. It’s not based on any sort of controlled research done on child-artist guinea-pigs. Use the tips given with caution. Apply your parental instincts to decide what’s right for you and your family.

And yes,
if you know any young parents, share this post, as a toast to all those artists who are still in their diapers 🙂

Oh…before I leave…
I am not sure if it isn’t a good idea to eliminate the possibility of your child falling into the clutches of the Art-demon. Here’s my take on it…of course, satirically 🙂 Download the free eBook at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89321

The 4 Types of Artists - A Verbal Caricature eBook by Shafali the Caricaturist

Click to download in a format of your choice.

About Hypnotoy Lite and other Stuff that makes me feel creative :)

Dear Readers and Chance-visitors who I hope will come back again 🙂

Recently, I’ve been working my tail off (sorry, picked up that figure of speech from my dog,) which for me means multi-tasking – and everyone who multi-task knows how stressful this multi-tasking demon can be. It’s easier on me when I earmark a day only to draw, and then I really, actually, practically stick to “drawing” and nothing else; or when I decide only to write, and then I just write and not draw that day – but unfortunately, such days are very rare.

Coming to the topic of this post…

Stuff that makes me feel creative is often strewn around, difficult to find when I need it most.  Hypnotoy has been my creative anchor in such times. When I am tired and my mind begins to draw a blank (!) I find the Hypnotoy icon on my iPad and tap it. Those lovely Dancing Experiences help me relax and focus. I loved it through the process of its creation, through the sleepless nights, and through those daintily and painstakingly painted graphics; and now I love it as an App that beckons at me through its sparkling icon and opens its arms to embrace me whenever I tap on it. As the stress oozes out and comfort seeps in, I begin to feel creative.

What I want to share with you is the news that Hypnotoy- The Toy of Joy has now got its FREE version – Hypnotoy Lite! This means that I can recommend it to all my visitors who have an iPhone, iPad, and iPod. Try it out – see if it connects with you, they way it connected with me 🙂

Here’s the link. Click (or tap) the icon to reach the App Store!

Hypnotoy Lite - A Beautiful Lifestyle and Entertainment Free App for iPad, iPhone, and iPod

Hypnotoy Lite is the Free Version of Hypnotoy – The Toy of Joy. Click (tap) to Download.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I must get back to my tablet now…and yes, the third post on “Evolution of a Cartoonist” is due tomorrow 🙂 Until then, relax with your own Hypnotoy Lite.

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.

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!

MF Husain Dies – Leaves the World Five Short of a Century.

MF Husain or Maqbool Fida Husain, who was born on September 17, 1915. died in London sometime last night. He was 95 going on 25 – and so despite his age, his death came as a surprise to a lot of people in India.

Here are the things that made MF Husain, who was called the Picasso of India by the Forbes magazine, the only Indian artist who acquired the status that Indians reserve for cine-stars and politicians.

The Cake:

  • He became the highest paid Indian Artist ever! His single canvases have fetched up to $2 million at a recent Christie’s auction.
  • He was possibly the first Indian artist to get international recognition. In 1952, his solo exhibition was held in Zurich. Remember that in those days, the world wasn’t as small as it is today.
  • In 1955, he received Padma shri from the Indian Government. This was followed by a Padma Bhushan (1971), and then a Padma Vibhushan (1991.)
  • The vibrancy of his works and the way they changed the course of Indian Art that was dominated by the Bengali Art until the 1950s, made many Indian artists go modernist.

The Icing:

  • Husain’s personality was as vibrant as his work. He did stuff that no other Indian painter dared to do. He changed his muses every 3 years, and his muses were almost always the prettiest Bollywood actresses. For the actresses as well as for Husain – the muse-making was a win-win situation. Everyone got the lime-light.
  • Hussain was an extravagant spender. When he first came into money, he made “Gaja Gamini” with Madhuri Dixit, his current muse from Bollywood (who is now the matron of a US-based Rich Doctor’s Household.) Then he made “Meenaxi” with Tabu, his second muse.
  • He got caught into the web of controversies by drawing Indian goddesses in the nude, and even representing India (Bharat Mata) as a nude. Some Hindu organizations felt that this was stretching the artistic license too far, especially with his painting, the Rape of India, and so they petitioned in the court against him. With the public sentiment having turned against him – it became safer for him to stay away from India. For this reason, he became known as the “exiled artist”. Recently (2010) Qatar granted him their citizenship. This controversy further improved his x-factor with the Indian media and public.

Husain, the man behind the painter was so full of life that it makes you sad to see him go. But he had a good life and he was a happy man most of his life (except possibly the last decade when he had to remove himself from India) – and this is what we should remember him by. We should also remember him for repainting the image of the Indian Artist from the Bata Hawai Chappal shod (Husain went barefoot) no-gooder to a celebrity whose work could fetch millions.

I think I’ll miss him…and I hope that when he is reincarnated he does everything the same way, but refrains from painting the nudes of Hindu Goddesses and of the country that he is born in.  On the other side, I should acknowledge that it’s impossible to really figure out Husain’s work – so I personally am not sure about whether he really drew that stuff – it looks like it, and then it doesn’t.

We’ve had more realistic (and some times more suggestive) nudes by Amrita Shergill whose princess status gave a her an immunity from societal persecution when she photographed and then painted herself in nude (imagine a bourgeois artist engaging in that sort of behavior) and Anjolie Ila Menon, whose work becomes more graphic with each passing year. But oh…we never had anything against nudity…did we?

Thinking of Husain and of the tug-of-war that always went on inside my head when I looked at his work – May the universal God who doesn’t belong to any religion, rest his soul in peace.

Definition of Art…The Theoretical Standpoint!

Note: This is the first post in a two-post series. Read “Definition of Art…The Practical Standpoint” here.

What is Art?

This is a question that will result in a different answer each time someone tried to answer it – and this itself is one the core characteristics of art.

The Definition of Art

My Definition of Art would be:

Art is an expression of the creator’s imagination, presented through a form that generates an emotional or cognitive value for people by opening itself to multiple interpretations.

Definition of Art Explained

Let me explain this definition.

Art is an expression: Art has to be expressed in some form. An idea in the head of the artist isn’t art – to be considered as art it needs to be expressed in a form that allows it to reach people. The form could be visual, written, or even performed.

…of the creator’s imagination: The expression should involve imagination. (View Salvador Dali’s Gallery here.) The imagination component would manifest itself in the selection of colors, the composition of an artwork, the sequencing and presentation of content, or even the moves of a dancer.

…presented through a form that generates an emotional or cognitive value for people: Art has to be presented through a form that generates value for people, or it isn’t art. An expression of imagination that revolts people can’t be called art – unless the revulsion is interpreted as value by someone…then for that person, it could be art. (Read about “Artist’s Shit” by Piero Manzoni here.)  Something that generates absolutely no emotional or cognitive response too can’t be called art.

…by opening itself to multiple interpretations: Art leads to multiple interpretations. Something that is interpreted in exactly the same way by everyone isn’t art. It may have a lot of functional utility though, for instance, the letters of the alphabet or the numbers 0 to 9 have their unique interpretations, and they don’t qualify as art.

However, if someone takes one of these numbers (or all these numbers) and expresses it in a manner that the expression generates an emotive or cognitive response from people and results in a personal interpretation for everyone…then the expression would qualify as art. (Refer to Robert Indiana’s Works.)

Note that I don’t speak of good art, bad art, or even popular art here. I am merely trying to define art by stringing all its components logically.

An Example of Art Analyzed!

Let me now review Mona Lisa, the most famous “artwork” in history, against this definition.

Mona Lisa is an expression of  Leonardo da Vinci’s imagination (note that though it’s a portrait – yet it goes beyond just a photographic depiction), presented through a form that generates an emotional or cognitive value for people (through the form and content of the painting,) for people by opening itself to multiple interpretations. (The curiosity that Monalisa arouses through her mysterious expression, her almost androgynous face, her clothes, her lack of jewelery, and even her background – leads a viewer to his/her own interpretation of the painting, which in fact is the emotional/cognitive value.)

More Definitions of Art:

Find more definitions of art at the following links:

Well…

that was an academic-looking post, wasn’t it?

Await the next installment, “Definition of Art…The Practical Standpoint!” for a more humorous take 🙂 – Published:) Read “Definition of Art…The Practical Standpoint” here.

Art Philosophy – The 4 Types of Artists – Classification and Explanation

Once again, a personal post for friends old and new. Others who’ve reached this blog through searches/recommendations might be more interested in the Caricatures Gallery, the Story-in-the-Caricature Blog Carnival, or the book “How to Draw Caricatures – The Evolution of a Caricaturist.”  You are welcome to click the respective links and explore the site. You are also welcome to read this post, if  you have the patience:)

On December 11 2010, this blog completed its first year, and the funny part of the whole deal was that I forgot, and I didn’t make a post. Now if this isn’t a sure sign of dementia setting in – what is? But seriously, I am bad with remembering dates. I don’t know when but somewhere in my journey of art, I learned to present my forgetfulness as a trait common in artists. I realized that people suddenly became more forgiving when they realized that I could draw and paint too. Guess they thought to themselves – we’ve got to carry those artist types around – because who knows one of them might turn out to be a Da Vinci, a Van Gogh, or a Picasso!

Personally, I’d want to be Da Vinci or die unknown. (If I sound like I am suffering from megalomania, please put it down to my being an artist.)

But…am I really an artist?
I mean what makes you an artist?
And…if you are an artist what kind of artist are you?!

Well. There are the following types of artists (and I speak of artists not artistes!)

  1. The Starving Struggling Artist
  2. The Made-in-his-Lifetime Artist
  3. The Posthumously Great Artist
  4. The Richie Rich Artist

The Starving Struggling Artist or the SS Artist!

This is the most commonly found species of artists in the world. The Starving Struggling Artist is characterized by his impractical dream of making it big without paying attention to the theory of probability (which obviously he can’t as he’s shied away from Mathematics and Logic all his life.)  I ask the left-brained readers, if about 100 artists have made it big from a pool of 500 million (approximately) what is the chance of a random artist making it big? What would your answer be? Come on. Be honest. Tell us.

In my opinion, this kind of artist is worse-off than the unfortunates who walked the streets of London during the time of Jack the Ripper!

The Made-in-his-Lifetime Artist or the ML Artist

This artist is that 1-in-5 Million artist who we talked about earlier. The Made in his Lifetime artist is either smart enough to know what’d really catch the fancy of the buyers or who is lucky enough to display the right thing at the right place at the right time to the right audience. Note that you seldom come across this kind of artist. They are conspicuous by their near-absence.

The Posthumously Great Artist or the PG Artist

You know this kind – don’t you? The best example of course is Van Gogh. Remember that he was once a Starving Struggling Artist who went crazy and chopped off his own ear. Van Gogh created work that Da Vinci wouldn’t have allowed in his studio – yet after his death, he managed to become famous! Now to be a Posthumously Great Artist you need to be able to pull some strings up there. It’s my belief that most of the Starving Struggling Variety of artists have a pure heart and so they end up in heaven – but I also think that up there, they continue being their non-diplomatic selves lost in their own dreams of making it big in their next life – and so they don’t pull the right strings. Hence they don’t become posthumously famous. The point to note it – if the artist has a family and a couple of good-for-nothings, then such posthumous fame can come in handy…otherwise, it’s all wasted effort!

The Richie Rich Artist or the RR Artist

When you are born with either a silver spoon in your mouth or a strong social network through your parents’/spouses’ connections, then you are a Richie Rich artist. Then you don’t really need talent to become famous. Such people become artists because they’ve got to do something with their time – and there’s really nothing that they “need” to do. You can teach your dog to pick up the brush and color the canvas – and you’d have a masterpiece selling for a million dollars! Then of course, you can take the limelight away from your dog and bask in it, as you pose in front of the canvas. This of course is a very common way of achieving some degree of fame, which isn’t all that bad – right?

So am I an artist?
I don’t fit into any of the above – and so I am not an artist. But the good news is, there’s no law against people calling themselves artists, and there’s no law against blowing your own trumpet (whatever that means) – and so…even though I may not be a starving struggler, an unbelievably lucky person, a dead artist with god on her side, or even a well-connected rich kid – I still have the right to say that I am an artist.

And being what I am, one day I might wake up and exercise that right – just like that…and again put my quirkiness down to my being artist!

The Megalomaniac speaks again…
If you can determine where I contradicted myself, you’ve won yourself an opportunity to write a guest post on my blog:-)

So you think you can Draw?!

Fantastic!

Everyone can draw. I can draw, you can draw, they can draw, we can draw, my neighbor’s daughter can draw, and your neighbor’s dog can draw!

Drawing is no more complex than removing that little fiber of chicken that gets stuck between your teeth, or scratching your back with a fishbone. Drawing is easy. You need to find something that puts a mark on something else that you can find – and you can draw.

So now – the question is – can you draw?

Of course you can.  The technical definition of the term “Draw” is: “make a mark or lines on a surface”! Can you do it? Of course you can! Now…say it, “Yes, I Can!” (If that reminds you of some slogan that you heard about two years ago, I should plead coincidentality…if there’s a word like that!)

The point that I am trying to make here is – you can draw – the question that you should be asking yourself is…what is it that I should draw?

There’s stuff that anyone can draw, and there’s stuff that needs some focused practice.

The stuff that anyone who can “make a mark or lines on a surface” can create is called “abstract art.” You’ve got to work on your ability to “surprise or shock” people – and if your idea “clicks” you could be selling canvases with blotches of paint that just happened!

The other stuff that needs focused practice could be:

It could be anything that requires that you draw a line, a curve, a circle…anything with a purpose. This would require practice – this would also require focus.

Just the way writers who’d write anything and expect people to understand it (or not), but who hope to sell (and sometimes do sell) their books thinking that readers are foolish and that they’d be able to fool them by saying that their stuff is for the “intellectuals” – there are also artists who’d draw anything and hope to sell (and sometimes they do sell) their art to the “connoisseurs of art.”

I prefer to be an artist with a purpose – and I prefer to draw something that’s understood by everyone – because everyone has the right to be delighted by art. Art shouldn’t exist for those few who sit at the far right of the IQ bell-curve – it should exist for everyone. I would draw portraits, caricatures, cartoons, compositions, scenes, mountains, rivers – but I would draw them in a way to ensure that whoever looks at them connects with them not in an “abstract” way – but in a very real, transparent, and emotional way…through my skill of drawing.

I prefer and hope (though without a right) that if you are young and if you can draw, you’d create art for everyone too. Draw to bring a smile to your own face and to the faces of others. Don’t get caught into the specialization-racket! Draw whatever catches your fancy. Let your art flow, but let it not become idiotic; don’t let it become a senseless orgy of colors and lines – let it speak to everyone, let it establish a personal connection with anyone who looks at it.

So, if you think you can draw…

DRAW!

and…

DRAW TO SMILE 🙂