Teach for India Diaries 17: Make good art.

Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong — in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Probably things will work out somehow, eventually time will take the sting away, and that doesn’t even matter. Do what only you can do best: Make good art.                            -Neil Gainman (Author&Cartoonist)


On days that are particularly low and pensive, people intuitively turn towards trying to make something. Make sense of life, make excuses for the world and their situations or make opinions of the people around them.

But some people simply make good art.

They take what happens to them and make it into something that in a way makes life a little easier for them. I recently read somewhere that the arts were invented by humankind to make living just a bit more bearable. How true. Artists all around take their life, their emotions, hurt, sorrow, happiness, pain, misery, jubilation, shock, excitement and plethora of other stuff to make good art; not only liberating themselves, but liberating a part of us too.

Music, paintings, sculpture, movies, books, songs, poems, dance, theatre, cartoons – isn’t everything really just a manifestation of what happens to us? Aren’t all artists just making life more beautiful?

Unlike other professions, art doesn’t have a quantifiable measure for anything. No of hours of work, the compensation, rules, regulations, contracts, etc. They are all infinite and will remain to be so, despite numerous attempts by so called art collectors to put a price tag on art. If we leave aside the auction houses and people who want to constrict art in such limiting figures, from an economic standpoint art rarely provides tangible value. But it is the value that comes from feeling art that is priceless.

Be it the virtual travel into art history in the SalmanKhanAcademy videos or the cartoons by Zen Pencils, the deep sense of getting richer that I feel is unparalleled by any million dollar painting I would never buy 🙂

This is what inspired me to introduce my kids to the world of art. It started off with – Making anything. Take your crayons and fill in the colours “you” want. Make, draw, sketch, paint, colour, write, dance, sing, play, do anything – just make that which is just yours. And if people around you smile and want to do something similar too; you would have created good art. I want my children to grow up to be the best doctors, engineers, consultants and all that jazz that the world demands of them today, but when they do become those things, I don’t ever want them to forget the little “artist” in them.

So, your pencils, your guitar, your racquet, your dancing shoes, your paints, your camera, and the little artist in you are waiting for you. What are you waiting for?


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