He is an artist. He does paintings regularly. To him it’s passion. For livelihood, he used to paint sign boards for shops and offices. He is living with some happiness, because he is getting some money for his day to day needs from sign boards and he is doing paintings which he likes very much.
One day someone told him that if he exhibits his paintings in some gallery, he will get some name, then he could sell his paintings to wealthy clients. He would be able earn some good money that way.
He felt it was a good idea.
So he prepared thirty paintings for the exhibition and framed them. It costed him a lot. He didn’t have that much money. So he borrowed the money at interest.
|A Small Pond Artist:Magunta Dayakar
After that he approached the galleries which have some name.
Every gallery rejected him. They said they exhibit only artists who have fine art degrees and awards.
This artist didn’t have any of them. He didn’t study in college. He is self taught. He went to many galleries. His attempts became fruitless.
Finally one gallery accepted his show, with one condition, that he has to pay the rent. He accepted without thinking because he was so excited about exhibiting his works. He thought that he could sell few paintings in his show, with that money he would pay the rent. He spent some money on invitations and snacks for inaugural day. He borrowed money for that also.
Finally the day arrived.
Invitees came. Some newspapers, one or two TV channel reporters also attended. Everybody praised his talent and the uniqueness of his work. Next day, one or two newspapers and channels published and telecast his work.
He was on cloud nine.
The exhibition was over after five days.
Nobody bought his paintings, not even a single one.
To take the paintings out of the gallery he had to pay the rent, but had no money to clear it.
Gallery owner told him curtly that he could take out his paintings only after paying the rent.
He didn’t know what to do. After few hours, he came to the realization, that he has to borrow some more money to pay the rent to the gallery.
He borrowed money and took his paintings home.
After few days, he came out of that shock, then slowly started to think …
‘He paid money for invitations.’
‘He paid for snacks. ‘
‘He paid for canvas boards and colors. ‘
‘He paid for frames and he paid gallery rent also.’
At the end everybody got their money except him! Is this the actual reality? If it is … why other artists are not speaking about it? Why they didn’t warn new entrants like him? Why there’s not much talk about artist’s struggle for survival? That too for minimum basic needs?
Tail piece: Yes. There is so much talk in the history about artists’ struggle for survival. But the problem is, history is talking only about great masters. That means they are successful people to us. Even though they felt pain, starvation, ill health in their life time, in the end they became successful, some maybe after their death. But to an art student who enters into art field, it looks glamorous. Because he is reading about world’s greatest artists.
To an art student, starvation is not a big deal, to attain that status. But after a few years, he would realize that starvation is not a glamorous thing. This world has only a few great masters.
By the time the artist realizes this truth, it would be too late for him …
(Excerpt from my book … ‘Everyday Experiences of a Struggling Artist’)