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Dipping My Toes

My experience while interviewing and writing about the lives of contemporary artists in Romartika.

I must have been in 1st standard or 2nd when drawing was introduced in school. It was a subject till class 8, I think. I remember trying to colour an apple. Filling paint within the outline was more difficult than executing a 5-minute classical dance item! I think I used light green because I had seen apples of that colour. But my drawing teacher was offended. “Is this the colour of an apple?” she asked and killed what little creative spirit I may have had then.

And I can tell you I had none.

Another interesting incident happened when I was in standard 6th or 7th. Seeing my hopeless colouring, my drawing teacher quickly corrected it. When she saw my drawing book a few days later, she had forgotten that she was looking at her own handiwork and asked me, “You draw so well, why don’t you go for competitions?”

Since then, I have maintained a respectful distance from painting. So, when Saikat asked me to interview contemporary artists and write their stories, I was a little skeptical. Though I could appreciate a good painting, I was not a connoisseur. Could I ask the right questions? Grasp the answers? Present it accurately?

But writing about artists is like writing stories, and that is fascinating. There are stories of success. Happy tales of plunging into the bliss of creation. Sagas of struggle and angst. At times the stories make me sad and at times brings a smile on my face. The life of an artist is never boring.

I am amazed by the innovative expressions of nature, art, situations and people. The transformation of the ordinary into extraordinary at the touch of the brush of the artists never fails to surprise me. Before speaking to each artist, I try to look up their works, not because I understand it but because I want to understand it. And I marvel at how the mundane is transformed into something exotic, dark, unexpected and sometimes elevating!

I am an author and editor. Not an artist. Capturing the underlying thought that goes behind each artwork is not easy for me. Maybe even the artist doesn’t know how the painting will unravel. But to know what influenced them, what inspires them, what drives them is the next best thing I can capture.

It has also helped me understand my own tastes a little better and expand it too. Earlier, abstract and surreal were beyond me. But today, I can look at it and wonder.

Life gives us many opportunities to open our minds, expand our thinking and learn new things. Writing for Romartika has been one such opportunity. I don’t know where it will lead. No, definitely not in making me an artist. But right now, I am just floating in the experience, letting it take me where it will.

All the stories by Meera Srikant can be read in the following link -

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1 Comment

Very nicely written.

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