As I watch a TED documentary about artists who use gyroscopes, microprocessors and softwares to create art, I start to think how little I understand the psyche of an original artist and how much I yearn to be part of such a community.
I am a very very small artist. I can cartoon a little. I have the audacity to make this claim since I have been cartooning since I was 5 or 6. That is an age when social pretense is not enough motivation to start doing something. Noone compelled me to cartoon, or take up art in general. I choose this form of art … it just came to me. Maybe it was the easiest form of artistic expression (no aspersion on the great cartoonists). After all, all that a cartoonist really needs is a sketchpen and a surface; at times even a pen and a tissue paper is good enough.
I am not good enough to put all my ideas into a good cartoon though. I have dry wit and I know that if I could put it down as art, some of it will be a great hit. I have several well wishers who egg me on and praise my talent. That is always good to have. But I know how much I lack in my skill. To be able to raise it is not a great ask, but it requires a systematic effort…. and movement against a lot of inertia.
Just like how good cartoons have several layers, a good cartoonist needs to have several layers as well. The first layer is the art itself. This is a big bottleneck (or a barrier to entry in MBAspeak). A cartoonist should be able to understand how to draw actions and activities on one hand and how to convert a real-life faces into a caricatures. Not easy by any stretch of the imagination, I can tell you that. The second important layer is perspective. There is a lot of excess in our day to day lives. Not all needs to be drawn. A good cartoonist needs to have that perspective. An easy way to understand what I am talking about is to cut a small box in a cardboard sheet and hold it close to your eye. What you can see is only what is relevant. Finally, the third and the most important layer of them all is the idea itself. Great cartoonists have been simple cartoonists. Art does not take them places, the ideas do. Classic examples are the Peanuts series, calvin and hobbes, xkcd and R K Laxman.
I see before me, a door that opens up to a set of people that live beyond logic and structure. I wonder how long it will be before I turn the key and enter…..