Tuesday, January 17, 2006

An artist's confession

I am not a good person. I am an artist who is slave to the wants and gestures of his art. I am a magician holding the wand that is my art, but the wand holds the magic, while I hold it out to you. I delight you with all that is beautiful and all that can be beautiful. I treat you to what you have known but never perceived. I bleed the redness out of red and whisper the completeness of white. I make the strings hum a tune and the empty space within the flute resound. I use words you knew, to effect a sensation you didn't. I stir in your heart the love for my woman, which you could never feel, but always wanted to. I am an artist. But I am not a good person.

I house the vilest gargoyles and wizards and lascivious women who run their tongue on every sensation that I put to words or let drip from my brush. Every tune that I twist such that it makes you smile and shake your head in wonder, is rendered when these demons clench my throat and and twist it between their thumbs. My expressions on my face as I play a tortured Draupadi or a spurned Shoorpanaka, is the stomping of heavy feet through my innards making me wince with a pain that is not mine. And when I play the lovelorn damsel, such irony tears my soul when I realise I have none in this world who shall pine thus for me. And my expression, then, is considered superb! My being is no longer mine as I whore it to the love for the arts. How could I be a good person?

How could I be a good person, when I chose the vagaries of an artist's life to that of a secure and social one? How could I be a good person, when I feed these monsters so that they torture me enough that I cry out as beautifully as you would like to witness? These demons who haunt me when I am alone in my studio with no one around me telling me how gifted I am, how blessed I am - blessed with the company of beasts that ensure that I have none to beautify my life while I colour the world around me. How could I be a good person when I want this? I want them more than I want you. I want them more than I want the luxury of a socially acceptable life. I want these miscreations more than all the beautiful women created by the Lord. Think how tormented an artist He must be to send His creation forth with the hope that they will live their lives trying to love Him or fear Him. I want the spirits that wet my tongue and drown my soul so that I can be what I, as a person, cannot. I want that joint which will make me forget and in my unconscious state let my barbarians come forth such that they create what none has ever done. I want those women who throng the evening street so that I know their dispassion while they clasp me with mechanical earnest. And through these loathsome acts - which you call loathsome - I destroy myself and give these demons a greater hold on me. Thus, art is created while I am destroyed, for art alone will stay when I am gone and all those people who called me a bad person lie under the sods.

Let me be so, for I am not a good person.


  1. @Eroteme: Breathtaking!

    But surely an artist writes too about Light and Love and Truth and Beauty?
    And then, inspiration therefor and the experiences he seeks to have inorder to express these exalted facts in his art, will surely make him declare too, "I am not a bad person. I am an artist who is slave to the wants and gestures of my art"? Because in this case, the wants and gestures of his art will perforce compel him toward the Good, and far away from the Bad?

    Life itself is so mixed and for the artist life itself is the subject, the object, the canvas, the muse, that he cannot confine his definition of his own self to good or bad, methinks.

    "I have beheld the princes of the Sun
    Burning in thousand-pillared homes of Light"

    is as true an experience for the artist as is

    "She staged between a lurid light and shade
    Her drama of the sorrow of the depths...
    In booths of sin and the night-repairs of vice
    Styled infamies of the body's concupiscence
    And the sordid imaginations etched in flesh,
    Turned lust into a decorative art:
    ...In the mud goblet poured the bacchic wine,
    To a satyr gave the thyrsus of a god.
    Impure, sadistic, with grimacing mouths,
    Grey foul inventions gruesome and macabre
    Came televisioned from the gulfs of Night..
    And art-parades of weird distorted forms,
    And gargoyle masques obscene and terrible
    Trampled to tormented postures the torn sense..."

    The artist is indeed like Him - everything matters; everything is valid; and from it all comes out a mysterious Beauty definitely if not anything much else!

  2. Let me be so, for I am not a good person

    With the brush in the hand and the colors moving through the veins within...Good or bad? does it matter ?

    Artists dissolve their identities to dust in endeavours to experience the joy of rising higher... and who care if the world understands or not...

    Thanks for visiting my blog and your kind words for my writing.

  3. Let's take the - Doctor. I've had personal experience with those who practice their profession to help people and take away their pain. Somewhere en route they think - they are GOD. When some person blinded by pain is cured s/he looks at the doctor and cries out, "You are like God." That trully goes into the head and then the good doctor wants 'more'.

    Teacher - When a starry eyed youngster looks at the teacher and says, "You are the best, I love your classes; I love you." The teacher wants 'more'.

    Artists - When the public exalt them; Praise them - they want 'more'.

    'More' of what? Praise, Glory, Eternal Glory ... Immortality.

    So, does wanting such immortality make one a 'bad person'?

    Are only artists those who want such immortality?

    Think about it :-)

    My take: I have one life, this one and its priceless :-)

    Thanks for making me think :-) Dont go to my blog yet - Its in depression ... I mean it. I'll let you know when I put up something worth while :-)

  4. Dear P,
    Thank you. Glad you find the post to your taste. Indeed all is creative, but... I shall discuss that later. :-)

    Dear S,
    Good or bad - who defines? :-) Depending on the answer, I might be able to answer whether it matters or not! Arts on an empty island is very different from arts to an eager audience... It is not the matter of the mind to tell you that "It is no different to the lover of art"... I enjoyed your blog and am disappointed that it isn't there anymore! :-|

    Dear L,
    Immortality? Hmmm. I suppose everyone would love that. Consider Trishanku. Classic example of human desires for a divine aspect. But the artist here is not talking about that... or wait. I think you might be right. I didn't realise it. He does have an idea of the grip he has on his audience, and to keep that alive he wants more of these demons. Else why would he want them? Aaah! Nice... nice... Thank you for making me think... :-)

  5. Hmmm...reminds me of Oscar Wilde...also reminds me of somebody else...

  6. I agree with Sriram - art for art's sake seems to be the idea here. Is Eroteme becoming 'Decadent'? :-)

  7. @Sriram : I too was struck by the similarity between what Eroteme has written here, and the contents of your own erstwhile post in your erstwhile blog about artists and the ir/relevance of such concepts as "should"s and "shouldn't"s or society or its rules - to them at least, more so where their creativity and their creations are concerned.