Is he not an illiterate?

Ganesh Festival

I knew him for many years. He spoke reasonably good English.  He used to write some news in daily papers on artist’s shows in the city. He was trying to draw some pictures on and off. Later what I heard was, he had been doing some business related to artistic goods and he was earning good money.

It is nice. Doing some business for livelihood, practising once in a while what you like, is really a peaceful life.

But one day I heard some startling news about him. That he is planning to settle down as a professional artist. That news truly shocked me.

As I knew all about him, he never learned art seriously, then how he would be a professional artist?

To be a professional artist, one should learn Drawing, Painting, Composition and Design. It takes few years for anyone who is serious in his effort. If some one just wants to practice art for hobby, it is different. But if you want to be a professional artist, you must require those skills at least to a certain extent.

I wondered. After sometime I left that matter because it did not concern my day to day work.

Suddenly one day he came to me and said… ” I have been exhibiting paintings in many countries. I am a popular artist now. I am experimenting with abstract art …. ”, for nearly one hour he narrated to me about his success as an artist and showed me press coverages of his shows.

At last, unable to control my curiosity I asked him, ” Have you learned the language of art? ”

He looked at me with confusion, as if he heard that word for the first time.

” … language of art! What is it !? ” He asked me.

I explained to him, ” Every subject has its own language. For example if you want to learn English, you should start with alphabets, words, sentences, grammar and like that…. art also has its own language … Line, Shape, Space, Form, Value , Color and many more ”

One moment he remained silent, after that he laughed and said, ” Who cares about all these things? What we need to do is express our emotions. I am doing it. That’s all we artists need. That’s what I am doing. ”

I did not say anything to his words.

But I myself was baffled with a question … ‘ If someone did not learn how to write and read a language we call him … illiterate, even if he is able to speak. Then an artist who does not learn the language of art, how should he be called? Is he not an illiterate also? ‘