How to Influence an Artist’s Drawing!

Posted on February 19, 2010

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Most often artists see things in their paintings that lay people don’t. They call it depth, modern art, abstract painting, and any other random thing that can intimidate the lay person.

But art is big business. It’s a fancy hobby, collecting art. And no longer is it limited to buying originals of classics; it includes picking up upcoming, unknown and other such artists and wait for them to become famous, or die, so that their pictures become worth a lot. Ok, seriously, this is how I look at art, so should I say, I have two left eyes?

I met Ms. M last weekend. She is a friend of one of my soul mates. Ms. M came across as a young, “sorted” woman. She works in the social sector, has travelled to exotic (read poor and gut wrenching) countries. I immediately liked her. Inspite of her being from a well-known, super-duper rich family that owns super huge businesses in India. Ya, I am strange, I judge people because of their family money!

Anyway, so Ms. M was telling me how her mother is fond of collecting art. I am guessing she really knows her jargon because there was an earnestness in her eyes as she spoke of the type of paintings/drawings her mother collects. She told me about an upcoming (someone who has sold a few paintings to well-connected connoisseurs) female artist from Bengal and this one thing that happened with her.

This female artist was commissioned to create an interpretation of Monalisa from a Bengali perspective. Well, I may be wrong, but that’s not what this story is about. The painter was creating her interpretation when, to her bad luck, Ms. M went to see the progress. Ms. M confessed to having felt really let down. The lady (arre, the one in the painting, not the one creating it) was really amazing, but the artist had painted a huge rainbow over her head. According to Ms. M, she didn’t want the rainbow to be there.

At this point, I, in my naivette, said, “Arre, you should have told her that you didn’t like it. After all, you were paying for it!” Ms. M, very sweetly and in a non-judgemental way explained that one cannot simply go out and tell an upcoming (read definition above) artist that. They are proud people. Hmmmm.

Here is my interpretation of the exchange between Ms. M and the artist. It’s exaggerated, but that’s why you’re here, right?

Ms. M: It’s beautiful! And it has a special meaning. I love the way you’re liberal in your thoughts, artist woman.

Artist: What do you mean, child of rich lady who buys my paintings?

Ms. M: I mean, you know, your support for a cause. Human rights are very in these days. (Ms. M confessed she felt horribly pretentious being pretentious!)

Artist: I don’t see what you mean, let me go back to completing my rainbow please.

Ms. M: Your support to the Gay movement, of course. Come on, artist woman, you know what I’m talking about!

Artist: Gay movement? In my painting? My support? Child of rich lady, what’s that about?

Ms. M: The rainbow is the flag of the LGBT movement, artist woman, and your rainbow in this painting symbolizes that you support the movement, in fact, it could mean that the Bengali Monalisa could be gay. I think it’s wonderful. It could symbolize that MAY BE the artist herself is Monalisa, and she is gay. I love this, and my gay friends are going to love this painting.

Ms. M claimed that she went on, and as she did, the artist seemed to be holding herself from falling to the floor. Needless to say, the rainbow was painted over. Ask Ms. M which is her favourite painting from her mother’s collection, and she will tell you that it is the Bengali Monalisa.

I now know why critics say, “Every painting has a story!”

P.S. – I support the LGBT movement. Wholeheartedly.

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