To the unknown artist…


Step into my world, acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 20″.

Somu Desai, an artist based in Gujarat, India once shared a letter written by the Delhi based art critic, curator and writer; Johny ML on a networking site. The letter is addressed to an artist who has just stepped into the professional art world after passing out from art school. I’d like to share some lines from that letter, a letter so inspirational- any artist or creative soul can indentify with it and pay heed to the beautiful advice given.

“… life must be looking different in shape and colours… Once you are out of the academy you are an independent man, potential enough to make or break your future. Suddenly you feel you are blessed and cursed in one go. And what a feeling it is!      

It is good to have shows lined up. That makes your energy level high and hopes too. Always try for the best and be daring enough to experiment. While doing daring and best works, have conviction in yourself and also in the works that you do…   

…look around you as if you are seeing them for the first time. Feel that you are blessed to have all those things around you, whether it be poverty and struggle or it be wealth and luxury. Be intelligent enough to receive everything with a philosophical happiness…

Being intelligent is very important. It is not about working with a gallery or a curator. It is about being responsible and responsive. These days artists are losing their sensibility thanks to the involvement in money management. They are becoming more and more cautious. Just be free and be less cautious. Be open to consequences for we don’t know what reactions our works of art will eke out from people. Some people will hate it and some would love it. Love both the parties because work of art is all about love and hate with our times. An intelligent work of art will always talk about the artist’s time, even if the artist does not want to talk about the times quite overtly.

For me an intelligent artist is one who has a great sensibility towards life and its all ups and downs. An intelligent artist is one who knows and feels things deeply. An intelligent artist need not necessarily be a scholar but he is a one who gives materials for the scholars to do their research. So be a source and stream rather than a shore. Yes, you become a shore when you are complete with your source and stream. And it is a good feeling to see life from its source, with all its science, logic, beauty and feeling.

And do believe that you can cry whenever you want. Crying is a blessing. Imagine yourself breaking down in front of a flower. Imagine yourself crying and laughing at once when you are totally alone; when you are alone with your self and core. All science and logic, all beauty and richness will reveal themselves unto you, when you are ready to take it without hatred and venom. Make the works the celebration of your life, its pangs, its doubts, its problems and its all dissatisfactions.

I may be sounding a bit old and odd when I talk like this. But for me the best contemporary art is something that respond to the things which do not have much history, but have the potential to generate history.

…also, you are aware of the need of money now. But I am sure that money is going to come. What is between you and money is just a thin line, a line that separates from you from the apparent success in the market place. Let it take care of itself. The dynamics of ecomonics is something complicated. When it happens it might look very simple. And once you achieve that simplicity with material success, then you would obviously want to make things complicated again.

Now charge up and work and may be you will have the courage to discard all what you have done or you have the strength to hold all what you want to do…

Believe in yourself and love.”

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1 Comment

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One response to “To the unknown artist…

  1. jaz

    thats a beautiful letter.. made me cry ..!
    loved this one ..”for me the best contemporary art is something that respond to the things which do not have much history, but have the potential to generate history.
    like your blog and the way u put it up..Good luck sarah

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