Sunday, 2 March 2014


“You know what your problem is ?” Andy screamed into my face
“ The hell if I know.” I said in the most I-couldn’t-care-less voice.
“You’re a wimp. You are scared and you’re too scared to admit it. That’s your problem.”Andy was one of the nicer guys I knew, but he was acting like such a pain today. I guess success does that to people. He sold a bunch of his paintings to this big time art house. Guy had been bragging about it all evening. I just wish he’d shut up. That’s what success and this bad world does to you. They give you this misplaced sense of ego. And that is the negation of all true art.
“ You think you’re some kinda rebel. You come here every evening , meet with the pavement artistes everyday and bring this new painting of yours. But you never have the gumption to sell it do you? Talk as much as you want about the satisfaction it is that you get and call me a traitor as much as you want. Fact is you are far too scared to let the world see your art. I don’t know what it is that you’re scared of. All you do is give it the name of protecting your art. Like the entire world is out to corrupt your soul. Like if you made a buck out of a picture , you’d never be able to paint again.”By now I knew Andy was beyond saving. Materialistic society had claimed yet another victim.
“Hey man. You used to be all about integrity, all about expressing yourself through your art.  So now you go and stoop low. Look at your older pictures man. They had soul. And then look at that bunch you’ve whored out. They’re just pretty colours on the canvas .Sure they’re pretty you didn’t become a painter for the pretty colours did you?”
“Well I’m not the one who makes these so called paintings with soul and never lets them out in the market. Every artist needs an audience and artists love their audience, they live off it. What do you have to be scared of?”Andy shot into my face. He had a funny way of talking when he was angry, but never did he talk like this. But then again he wasn’t really himself now.
“You damn well know why I’m not a sell-out like you.”I shot out in anger.” People don’t think and I don’t make dumb paintings. You have the people, who think, then the people who think that they think and then those who’d rather die than think. I’d rather keep my ideas to myself than sell it out to an audience who can’t appreciate them.”
“Whatever man, I’m out of this place. Good luck to you but take my advice man. Showing your art’s a part of the process. If I had your talent I’d never sleep hungry. Good luck and good bye.” Andy finally said and then walked out into the horizon.I just walked on till I reached the beach .The sun was almost setting and I was alone. Just how I like it. With nothing but the sound of the waves hypnotising me, drowning me. I watched the sun set and never felt like leaving. Damn Andy got paid and lost it. He was not better a painter than I was .True, he did have soul until he decided to sell it all away. But art was way too personal for me. The cool sea breeze hit me and the sun had almost set. Just a few shafts of elegant orange and pink beams in the sky fighting the approaching darkness of night. Maybe that’s just who I was. I was fighting the good fight. Trying to maintain my voice as the vast darkness tried to encroach upon it. The waves were like my paintings to me .The only cooling for my thoughts. The only thing vast enough to encapsulate within itself the storms within my mind. And sometimes these stormy seas produced my greatest paintings. This sea was where I belonged. I wanted to drown in it. The sea , the waves , they were my reward. No money, no recognition could ever come close to the calmness ,grace and elegance of these waves.                                                                       
The day job was done. And I was alone at my apartment to drown in those waves again. That crazy sell-out Andy’s words were still in my head from yesterday. Maybe he was right. Maybe I was scared. To tell you the truth, the problem’s that I cannot do anything halfway. And everything that I’ve ever painted has been has been about my feelings. Sometimes it is so easy to paint and sometimes I have to search so hard to feel anything inside me ,to find any concept worth drawing. And sometimes these feelings of love, anger, angst, depression, pathos and sapience just fill me to the brim. Mostly angst and depression. I guess the world tends to do that to you. But it’s like I cannot function if I don’t put it out on canvas. I have no idea what a painting’s going to look like when I start. I just have an idea almost a feeling and I let myself float into those waves. I go in with my heart full of pain and drown in these waves and I come out healed. I feel I can function until the next time my heart’s all filled up again. And that canvas captures a piece of me. That is who I am at my most vulnerable position. I guess this type of catharsis makes me a better artist but it is too much of me to let the whole world see
.I have this box in which I put in all my paintings after I show it to the people I know will appreciate the depth of it. Sometimes it was just Andy and I who could get it…… Andy damn, he just had to go and get me all wrapped up in all this self loathing…. Why couldn’t he just gloat about selling his identity and get it over with?......I’ve never opened this box except to put a new painting , a new piece of me into it. I’ve never had the courage to see my own paintings. I don’t know what memories it might just bring up again. All of them were like pictures of me at those times I was under those waves….. Maybe the only time I was truly myself. I don’t know why but I felt like looking at those paintings. They were exactly what make me and that little chat with Andy was probably making me want to see those frames in order.
For the first time I opened up that box, and laid out the canvases. There was my first painting, and perhaps my most honest. It was just this kid playing on the edge of this cliff.  What I meant out of it was that the kid was going to grow up soon and turn into a hypocrite, consumed by the big bad world. He was about to fall of that cliff on which he was just playing like any innocent child. I just wanted to capture that one moment of innocence in that painting. I remember that day clearly. The first time I had sailed those waves. I remember how relieved I was when the painting was done. It was almost like the canvas was speaking to me. And it continued too till this day. Every happiness every joy was in that box , almost like a diary of sorts. I looked at every one of paintings and recalled the storm that caused that picture.

All this retrospection was making me feel the waves rise again. I was way too attached to that box , that diary of mine to let it go into that big bad world. It only belonged with those waves.I picked up my brush and dipped it into my pallet hoping the canvas would yet again be my muse. But it refused to talk to me.                                                                       
There I was after a month in the same juxtaposition. Brush in had like every night for the last month. But the storm never burst, and I never drowned in those waves. My muse still wouldn’t talk to me. I guess some storms aren’t even enough for the waves to withstand. I was too tenacious. The fact that I put myself into my art made it better. The only way a storm would really subside, the only way I would get closure from any of the situations in that boxed diary of mine was if I let it free. I would overcome my feelings only when I let the world in rather than push it away. Most people wouldn’t get it at all. But those people were not the point. The point was that I felt that I was strong enough to face the world rather than hide behind my waves.                                                                      
I reached the beach and where the pavement artists put up some of their paintings. I too brought a painting , my first nonetheless . The one with the kid about to jump the ledge. I saw Andy’s silhouette approach in the fading sunlight of the sea line.
So ? ready to sell your soul to the big bad world?” he asked.
“No ready to fight it.” I answered.

The sun set and I drowned in those waves again.

The storm had subsided.

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