Right from my art school days, I always wanted to be a famous painter making tons of money, listed in famous galleries, adulation from the connoisseurs (specially the opposite sex:)), lots of patrons and to be in the news for the general masses. Basically flamboyance. Who wouldn’t want that? be it any profession, isn’t it?
Reality: I ended up in a regular job as a Graphic Designer and eventually turned myself into a trained User Experience Designer/Product Designer for software applications! I have been doing that for almost 15+ years now.
While at the job, I still tried painting, hosted a few exhibitions here and there, invested good amount of money to be part of shows etc., The fuel for all of this splurge was supplied from my job (obvious) with no foreseeable monetary returns except for few appreciations from close friends, colleagues and relatives since they got excited by a few good looking pictures on the internet, mentions in the papers:)
If I were to be consistent, then the following had to be taken care of:
- The fuel tank was supposed to be kept filled for many years to come
- Continue the regular job efficiently, deal with stressful daily grind and pay all the bills, monthly loan installments etc., (to lead a perceivable decent lifestyle)
- Persistent efforts to keep the creative juices flowing and make new series of works
- Do happy, nature, spiritual or abstract neutral paintings (This was the most important. My paintings are serious, dark and grim in terms of the subject matter. It doesn’t sit well in happy living rooms, bedroom walls or hotel/corporate lounges and lobbies. Nobody wants to own or buy my work and the market is filled with happy, neutral pictures)
- Logistical nightmare of maintaining the paintings (I had no studio except for a bedroom that was part of rented house. I kept moving too)
- Travelling, packing paintings to different locations and galleries by road, air, rail etc., (The most heart breaking when they return damaged)
- Promoting myself and my works consistently on the internet (almost every day)
- Get good with socializing, appeasing, ass licking, bragging etc., (I never could and can)
- Support from fellow artists, senior artists or the reputed ones (Nothing at all. At least a like on Facebook, a heart on Instagram or even comment “this is crap” would help)
- Deal with ubiquitous fake curators, organizers and gallerias (This is the most sad part and the state sponsored ones are the worst)
- Deal with home front and personal life challenges (Who doesn’t!)
Brass tacks, if you are an independent artist without any patronizer, a promoter, a curator, no influential affluent acquaintances or a gallery/corporate backing you up, you are doomed. Basically you are fucked and you will end up thinking “Why am I even doing this?” I was going in and out of the shows handling the logistics myself something like this:
For many, I might sound like a loser. Being a successful artist means being able to sell your work. If the work is “sale-able” , you are automatically promoted and everything else will follow. You will slowly be introduced into a secret lobby of buyers, art investors and patrons. Then you will be categorized into various levels into different markets. I could never get into any of those circles and unfortunately I didn’t fit into any. (If fortune means money).
Conclusively, I couldn’t, cannot be a rich and famous artist! However, I remain an artist at heart. Nobody can take that away.
The current phase:
- I will paint for myself whenever I want to and when I feel like
- I neither want to showcase, exhibit or promote nor do I want to sell
- I will put it on my Instagram and happy with whatever I get
- I don’t give a fuck for comments or likes from fellow artists or senior artists. Non-artist friends are much more genuine and nicer.
- I lead a decent lifestyle thanks to my job as a Designer. Respect!
- I am looking at different mediums like digital audio visual films and level playing open platforms like YouTube, Vimeo etc.,
- Yes, I am into film making now and in a happy space (More on this later)