By Shruti Sharma:
When I first started drawing, I’d doodle for hours on end, draw impossibly unrealistic things and never really wait around for ‘inspiration’. Inspiration – that big word that artists use to often avoid doing things.
As I grew up, I started pursuing art and fancied myself an artist. And I too fell into that trap wherein, I’d stare at walls and trees waiting for inspiration. I’d waste hours, hoping that an idea would plop itself into my lap and that one idea wouldn’t be mediocre; it’d be transcendent.
I went to college to study design and like any self-respecting designer, I’d put off working until the absolute last minute because I believed ‘stress’ made me work better. I believed that that moment of panic before I had a project due was when I’d get my best ideas. I, like a lot of other people, used clever excuses to justify my laziness.
It wasn’t until my final year of college after a particularly disappointing uninspired project that I realized that I’d run short on time because I’d spent so long waiting. And so I promised myself that I wouldn’t wait for inspiration and that I’d draw every single day. However, being a by-product of this generation, my short-term attention span ensured that I didn’t make it beyond a week into that promise. I got tired, I felt ‘uninspired’. I made that excuse again.
And then one day, I met this illustrator in a coffee shop who made me find a constant fountain of inspiration. I saw him drawing in his journal while he drank bitter black coffee and thought I should say hello, which is, as anyone who knows me can tell you, very painfully awkward to watch. As we struck up conversation, I asked him how he managed to draw constantly, not feel saturated or used up and he asked me why I couldn’t, so I explained my current slump, my lack of inspiration and he smiled. He said he’d tell me his secret, if I promised to try out his method and I willingly agreed, for by that point I felt like I’d exhausted all my creativity.
He gave me a piece of paper and asked me to draw, to just start, and as I drew, he asked me to tune out everyone else and focus on that one thing that was on my mind and to express it through art. He told me that he never waited for inspiration, for why would he when he could inspire himself?
When he could tell his story, express his feelings and talk about what mattered to him and the people around him. Why wait for inspiration when it was brimming out of every person and thing around him?
And there it was, my moment of epiphany. I’ve never been more surprised and more in agreement with anything in my life. If there ever was a man that should have written a book, it was that man, for everything he said made perfect sense and his perception of things changed mine.
It’s been since that I’ve viewed every aspect of my life as some form of a narrative that I would express through my art, everything I create being my means to communicate with the people around me. My art has been my perception of the outside world, what I imagine feelings look like, what forms they take, what colours they’ll be.
I do draw every day now, I draw fights I have with my parents, I draw my menstrual cramps, I draw out my dilemmas, my joys, my experiences and those of the people around me. I bend over my journals till I resemble the Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is a little extreme and then proceed to spend an hour stretching out my resentful muscles.
Art is how I cope with things, catharsis in its truest form. I have yet to develop a fixed style because it changes from angry bursts of colour to calmer soothing tones, from frenzied lines to smooth curves, for each time something happens in my life it changes a small aspect of me as a person. Every event in my life has shaped my art in that moment in time.
For me, art is a constant, my style or what I create is not, for what I create is an expression of myself, and I change every second, every hour, every day.
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