Playing to the crowd? No Thanks!


At Rotterdam International Art Fair- Oct, 2014

Art-wise, this has been a good year for me. I had two solo shows, two international exhibitions and sold seven paintings (Yes, I can’t believe it either!!!). So after a relatively busy year, it was time for a well deserved vacation, which I must say, turned out to be a rather long one (19 days), and as if that was not enough, was later extended by 7 more days. No, who says I am complaining! But then, one bright, sunny and breezy morning, that age old saying which compares life with something round, like a wheel or a cycle, came true. I would not forget that day because it was the same day when my heart and my brain had a huge argument, which ended with my squishy-mushy heart giving in. My tough & obnoxious brain quickly took advantage of the opportunity and promptly sent a broadcast that the holidays are officially over. Sigh! yeh dil really maange more, na?

The only thing that helped me to shoo away the sulking feeling was the restless nervous ache to start working on my new series of paintings. And that’s what I love about being an artist. It can give me the same thrill without the pressure of corporate deadlines.

You all must be wondering how all this is related to the topic of this post. Well, you got me wondering too. To be honest, the above written text is not directly related to the original topic. Come to think of it, it’s not indirectly related either. Sorry. It’s just that the beetles & the bugs of my brain are fluttering around like no one’s business. But now I will come straight to the point. Promise!

So yesterday, after the house was empty of its permanent and temporary noisy inhabitants, by whom I mean my husband, children, cook and cleaning maid, I finally took the hat out of my cupboard and wore it. My thinking hat of course! Don’t tell me you didn’t guess that one! Those of you who have visited my exhibitions or heard me talk about my paintings know that majority of my art-time goes into thinking about the concept and idea behind the painting. And therefore, the mention of the hat is directly related to the topic, in case you were wondering. See I am not going to let the beetles & bugs loose again. A promise is a promise. BTW, since these beetles & the bugs are an inseparable part of me and would be mentioned time and again, I propose we give them a name. How about ‘Poochies’!

_DSC1910_01So coming back to the point, as I was looking at some previously jotted ideas, I remembered what a gallery owner once told me in an art fair. He said that what I was doing was different (I think he was being extremely polite) and may not sell, so instead I should paint something for which the market is readily available.

Hang on…. let’s leave the intellectual and philosophical blah, blah, blah of ‘doing what one truly believes in’, aside for a moment. This gentleman who has been in this business for a long time was obviously speaking from an experience that had not only earned him his livelihood, but had also made several artists successful.

But alas, before I could even delve on the first words of his advice, the Poochies, being the pests that they are, quickly presented before me a laundry list of reasons to look the other way. And that’s what I did. I am sure all of you on several occasions in your lives, have been there, done that._DSC1724_01

As for me, my reason for not taking the advice was not some Deepak Chopra kind of reason that I am in the art world with a mission to bring about a revolutionary change (though often I secretly imagine that with a tiara on my head!). It was simply that the most important factor that made me choose this unknown and unfamiliar territory was the belief that it would give me complete freedom to express what I want to and how I want to. So if I don’t use this opportunity to convey my thoughts to the audience, I might as well be doing something else. And so I continued doing what I do, creating art works that means a lot to me and fortunately for my viewers.

But honestly, I don’t deserve any applause, not even a slight pat on the back. Really, I mean it. This decision was a relatively easy call for me. This was hardly any ‘do or die’ situation for me. Would I have done the same thing if my livelihood depended on it? Hmmm…wonder why the Poochies are silent all of a sudden!!! But nonetheless, each right decision, however tiny or however easy, is important in the broader scheme of things. It’s always about one right step at a time, right? I give my Poochies that. So coming back to the topic…

“Playing to the crowd”…No Thanks !!!

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