This question often comes to my mind… why do we engage in art?
What makes you want to write or paint or design? Is it because you took to the pen or brush as a kid? Did you see or read something that moved you so much that you decided to replicate that emotion? Why did you not just let it go as a passing thought? Or is it just something that came to you as a gift of your genetics?
I am not talking about science here. The science of art is neither my interest nor my cup of tea. I am more interested now in how art makes you the person you are – when you create something or look at something.
I want to know how art starts to speak to you… how it translates in your mind… how and what you interpret it to be… how it works when words fail… how it helps you express… and how it has been a language even before the most rudimentary languages were formed. As it is rightly said,
“A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.”
But let me frame it for you a little differently. Do we engage in art because we can't use other mediums to express ourselves? Or is it because we cannot express ourselves better in any other medium?
There are a multitude of emotions that an artist goes through when creating a painting or a sculpture. The joy of seeing one's vision translate with hands, the despair of a wrong brush stroke, the anxiety of using a new colour, the doubt of whether their art will be perceived in the way it is intended, etc.
"Art Is Artist Personified."
To create something is to show a bit of your soul where it's not your brain but your heart that does the talking. When your deep-seated subconscious comes to life, it is a way of connecting with your inner self. And more often than not, we remain surprised by what we see.
Sometimes we know what we want to create and begin with it. But more often than not, the outcome ends up being something we couldn't have considered. And there are the other times when we start with nothing on our minds but end up in a place where we're not only surprised but proud of ourselves.
Each painting has its own way of evolving…When the painting is finished, the subject reveals itself.
It is true that once your art is complete, no matter how much you love it, it is outside of you. All that you held within that artwork is right in front of your eyes. The whole emotional journey undertaken is right in front of you. A certain part of you has come onto the painting and remains there like a child born unto you but an individual by itself.
It’s not your painting anymore. It stopped being your painting the moment that you finished it.
"The Body Suffers While The Soul Celebrates."
But good art takes time. Sometimes days, sometimes months and sometimes years. Sometimes you're up at 3 am after a long day when you find that added motivation and keep working until the next sunrise or even further. An artist doesn't have specific work hours, which can be taxing, but the outcome is worth it (often).
But whatever the outcome, it always boils down to one simple question. Why do you do it?
And once you figure that out, your work will make all the more sense. You can read more such articles on my blog Bombay Ficus.