This is the story of an article, published in Indian Express’ YES Vibes on 22nd October,1999. This is the story of how even the best intentions can backfire. Lastly, this is a story of how anything can be ammo for two clowns to poke fun at serious people!
For background info, it was written by my friend and I, after a lot of discussion. We had an idea which said “Stupid questions which do not deserve answers?” Number 1 turned into the article which was then published. The question was “What does this painting mean?”
From these humble beginnings, arose….
How to be the Modern Artist
What exactly IS modern art?
Well, actually, it is the tormented inner self struggling to bubble out through the only outlet- the brush (or the way to fame)
What about our Modern Artist’s appearance?
Big beard( inches in length or more!), dishevelled white hair, unwashed clothes, unshod feet!
How do you do Modern Art?
MATERIAL REQUIRED: A lot of pain, various cans of paint, a canvas as big as the biggest wall in your house (the wall would also suffice). A pair of big hands (more, if possible), vegetables.
OPTIONAL: Brushes, Palette
METHOD: The easiest method is to let a three-year old Devil of a child do the work, (whirlwind job)….. OTHERWISE!
Tape the canvas onto the wall. Look at its emptiness. Concentrate on your inner self. Do this for a while. Slowly your frustrations will strat seeping through! Your mind starts screaming against the shackles of tradition. No, No, leave your hands alone! Yeah! Till it feels as empty as your head. At the next instance, your hand will grasp the nearest can of paint.
Now, take a deep breath, splash the paint onto the canvas. Repeat with all the colours.
If there is some colour left, put it in your optional palette. THEN you get to use those brushes!
You must’ve chopped the vegetables beforehand. Make a nice curry out of them for strength. Take some more vegetables from the garden now, twigs, grass, dry leaves and the slightly disreputable object in the corner of the overgrown forest that passes for a garden in your parts. Dip these in the most garish and loud fluorescent colour possible and slap them onto the canvas. Of COURSE, for stunning effect, you most take OFF the vegetables after the slap-dash procedure! (hehe pun)
Wowwee!!! A masterpiece, isn’t it?
Oops! Something missing!
Oh Yes! For the grand finale, dip your right hand in a nice, bright colour and place your palm print on the north west corner of the central part of the masterpiece from the south east edge of the easternly placed canvas, facing the setting sun, according to Vastu Shastra.
And… Name this painting?.. Hmm, A Painter’s Dream!
Now, we sent this article and sat back, waiting for the article to be published. The newspaper obliged and the article came. People laughed over it.
On my birthday, we got a letter addressed to the both of us, C/O K V Pattom.
Oh! Our first fan mail! We better make a habit out of it, eh? So, both of us eagerly opened the already slitted (and censored) envelope and read through the paper, which was incidentally torn out of a notebook!
Put shortly, the letter informed us that the writer was an MBBS student and gave us some 20 ways to contact him. It further told us that he was very disappointed we (10th standard students writing for a children’s section) had NOT done enough RESEARCH for our article and understood about modern artists. Look at M F Hussain, for example, he does not look like you described, said he.
This put us into paroxyms of laughter, since MF was, in fact our muse! After we stopped chortling, we read through the rest which informed us (in pompous words) that the very educated and enlightened writer thought that Philistines like us would not appreciate modern art and its abstract qualities and went as far as to cast aspersions on our ability to anjoy ANY art form….
Okay, so maybe it was my first HATE mail! Both of us composed a snappy reply to this letter, which was subsequently thrown away, since we didn’t want to start a verbal war! *sniff* We were sooo mature!
Let the mail flow, people!