SETTING THE CONTEXT
“Once I’ve announced the exact date and location for my first-ever solo show of my art, that is when I will open the floodgates of photographs on social media. Before the show, nothing goes online. I create content while I paint, I photograph the final pieces and I keep it under wraps.”
That’s what I said and planned anyway.
Till I did some research ( thank you Internet and the kind people who share their expertise ), and figured that I was going against the advice I often give to my own clients. “Put it online.”
THE START OF THE ART
Some of you, who follow me on one social media platform or another, know that I’ve been experimenting with art and paintings for a few months now. The first piece that I painted, that looks similar to the series of paintings I’m working on, was shared on my Instagram in November 2018. When I painted and shared that online, I had no idea what I was doing and if my pursuits were going to lead anywhere at all. ( Ironically, the paper paintings were shared online extensively. For example, on Instagram, I used the #KhaosPhilos hashtag. )
The painting practice re-started, in earnest, because I needed something non-self-destructive to pursue when there was no photography or blogging assignments keeping me busy. Last year was especially brutal in terms of the volume of work and revenue. 2018’s revenue was half of 2017’s. I also wasted a LOT of time dilly-dallying, moping, wringing my hands in anxiety and worrying. Something that would keep me away from this, was desperately needed.
Art was it.
Having always sketched or painted, pretty much my entire life – even before I started photographing, it was only natural that I chose to play around with colours and paintings again. This time, with a bit more structure.
It turned out that I quite enjoyed painting lines. Acrylic paints and markers were re-discovered. Some good quality art materials are more accessible to Indian artists in 2019. Not something I had access to when I had initially considered pursuing some form of painting. Even some product imports are not as expensive. They were unthinkable earlier.
I tried many techniques including fluid acrylics ( shudder ). But I kept coming back to lines. Since I have no skill, talent or inclination to paint anything realistic, abstracts it was.
After spending months practicing, experimenting and making art on paper, I finally built the confidence to move onto canvas. While the paper pieces had been squares, I wanted to paint circular canvases. I started with an 8 inch diameter round canvas. Worked up to 12 inches. And then jumped into 24 inches.
When the 24 inch one turned out nice – to me personally at least – I knew I was onto something.
I acquired 30 inch diameter canvases and also a couple of 36 inch diameter ones.
Larger ones are not available to purchase off the shelf. So I got some custom-made.
48 inches. 56 inches. I was told that the biggest round canvas that could be custom made was 64 inches in diameter.
When these beasts were delivered to my apartment is when I realized that I might have bitten off more than I could chew. The 64 inch diameter canvas is almost as tall as I am! ( I’m five feet and seven inches tall ).
My brain broke a bit at the prospect of having to order liters and liters of Gesso and Gloss Varnish but I was in too deep already. There was no looking back.
It was exciting, challenging and downright scary.
Why was I making these paintings anyway? Did I want to sell them? Did I want to stack them in my apartment? What was the ultimate goal? “Inner peace” wasn’t cutting it anymore. Where would I store these beasts once they were indeed painted? My apartment looks more like a canvas warehouse than an apartment.
There’s no living room – two large plastic sheets cover the floor and the 56 inch canvas is currently being gessoed. Had to fold and put away one of the couches.
It has been, overwhelming.
The fact that I knew next to nothing about the art market, did not seem like a deterrent. I had done it before – I knew nothing about professional photography when I started. I can’t see why I couldn’t do it with art.
TO BE CONTINUED
In Part Two next week ( look for it on next Monday ), I share how the brooches came about, how I had to quickly figure out the supply chain for my first ever saleable product and I also share how I then, eventually, re-focused on my art and the collection of paintings started to grow. I also share the “art mantra” that I discovered.
(Image used in this blog post is of Sunline, the first 8-in diameter painting I shared online. It is placed on a 36 inch diameter piece that I am currently in the process of touching up and finishing.)
Part Three is also out now. I share a bit about how an artist’s journey, traditionally, culminates into their first solo show. Also shared are some reasons why my decisions were not so traditional and what I am thinking from a business point of view, when it comes to my art.