Sunday, September 18, 2011
About Early Success, Love and Longevity in Art
I am not a marriage counsellor. But I have this tremendous patience to listen to people telling their stories. At times, for no reason people open up completely before me. May be in me they find a friend, a confidante and a brother to lean on to.
I don’t know.
This young couple stands in front of me. He, an engineer and she, a talented artist.
Their presence is quite pleasant. They look as if they were really made for each other. There is no streak of disturbance in the invisible territory they occupy wherever they are. But to a person like me who is interested in people both familiar and strangers could listen to a distant humming of pain in their private zone.
They are my friends. They have been married for two years. When they look at each other, in their eyes still you could see secrets playing hide and seek. Their gazes meet each other in half way, they embrace and then they go back to the dreamy pool in their eyes only to repeat this meeting game again.
“I am afraid of doing my works,” she tells me.
He looks at her with a lot of love because he knows that she has been waiting to tell this to someone other than him.
“Why?” I ask.
“I am not able to touch upon the limits of satisfaction that I have drawn for myself,” she says.
This girl had done a wonderful installation and a set of gorgeous works a year before. Now, in her studio, she finds herself utterly lonely and anchorless.
“Out there, they too have drawn lines of expectations on you. I know it is difficult to satisfy somebody’s expectations,” I tell her.
Her eyes are almost moistened. I could see the red streaks along the edges of her eyes. I remember a line from Paulo Coelho’s latest novel, Aleph- ‘Tears are the blood of soul’.
If that is right, this girl’s soul must be about to bleed.
I touch her shoulder and say, “Look, you are here not to satisfy anyone else. You are the best judge of your work. You are not working for anybody else. Your works will find their own audience once you free them from all personal guilt, doubts and worries.”
Now I am more interested to know his version about things. But except for a silent smile and the surging waves of love for her, he does not have much to say. However, I know what he wants to say. So I start:
“When you are afraid of yourself and of your works, you force yourself into a cocoon and you feel that one anchor you have is he. So you take your mobile phone and call him to know what he is doing. And as he knows that you are going through a difficult period, he is worried the moment his phone rings. You, in fact haunt him and hunt him out of his work and focus. To cut the story short, both of you are screwed.”
He nods his head.
“So better avoid tracking him over phone. Find happiness in your studio, amongst your friends and in your work,” I conclude.
I know I have not told them anything new that could fundamentally change their lives. But I have told them what they have been afraid of telling each other for the fear of falling out of each other’s favour.
Suddenly I remember a statement by the noted curator and art expert, Robert Storr. He says that when you find success very early in your artistic life it has to be understood that you have a long way to go. But within ten years you are exhausted and you struggle to produce new and exciting works to satisfy the art scene and yourself. But a person who finds success by the age of forty has not only a body of works to prove his worth but also a comfortable twenty years ahead to do new things with his new success.
When my artist friend Rajita Schade sent this observation by Robert Storr, I thought it was a great eye opener. Those who are supremely successful in art in their twenties, they have forty years ahead to negotiate and prove as fresh and challenging as ever.
So my young friends what you have done before you become successful is more important than what you would do afterwards. That gives you the base.
What have you done before the age of twenty five?
In fact, if you are not a child prodigy or super genius, you would not have done much than chasing a few skirts and having a lot of wet dreams.