"" Bleh and Awe: What I learnt from Art school

Sunday, 29 November 2015

What I learnt from Art school

My parents wanted me to soak up culture and the arts right up from a young age, so they had enrolled me at a local art school, way back in '02. It was run by Tinku da, a resident of the housing campus where I spend most of my childhood. It was (and still is) called "Chitrankan". I still remember the very first day, my mom had packed crayons, a couple of pencils, an eraser, a sharpener, and a big art book. I was always the hyper-active kid, and I raced to Tinku Da's house. The first day, I was taught to draw basic shapes, and to identify the different colours on the crayon set.

Courtsey: Stock Photo
As the course advanced, I learnt the different types of colours, my motor skills were honed, and the different effects brought upon by the varied use of different materials. At this point of time, I actually hated the course. Because it felt silly to sit for 3 hours and contemplate, design, draw, and colour pictures. We had theory classes too, where we had to analyze the multivariable styles of different artists, famous, infamous and not-so-famous paintings. Personally, I would have been happier to spend that time playing football (Sometimes I did).  I drew like shit, coloured like shit, and was always the impatient kid. Somehow the calm and quiet environment felt outlandish; this wasn't the playground, it felt like I was held back at a place surround with painting and psuedo-intellect (I was horribly wrong).


In class 9, we had a course about  oil painting. Our teacher was the definition of patient: calm. composed and believed in the talent of irritating kids. Oil painting was considered the most advanced and difficult part of the curriculum, somehow it felt like a challenge. Linseed oil, Turpentine oil, colours and a canvas, I was ready. Instantly I fell in love with it. The was true pleasure in the process of oil painting, and drawing out on the big canvas, mixing colours in definite proportions on a palates, and finally painting. Even the painting was difficult, but it was intriguing. Everything we had learnt since the very first day, they were all conceptualized and assembled in the process. Obviously I drew and coloured like shit, I was always shit at art. But I really loved it.

Class 9 and Class 10 were the last two years of art school, as class 11 came knocking with the college entrance preparation hype. I eventually ran out of practice, and forgot a lot about the things I was taught at art school. And class 11 happened, followed by class 12 and college admission examination. I got into a college and couldn't believe how lucky I was to have been enrolled at that art school.

The thing I never understood when I was an impatient teenager how art (I had pursued the fine arts), or the simple drawing helps us appreciate beauty of the world around us. If you ever go out to, say, a patch of wilderness, you'll notice the world in different perspectives. You'll not only see the tree as a large brown thingy growing out of the ground with branches and lots of leaves. As an impulse, you'll reach into your pocket and take a picture, and move on. But the course equipped me with more than drawing things; I opened my eyes to look at the world with change of perspectives. The bugs climbing the tree, the roots snaking into the ground, the variegated leaves, the sunshine playing hide-and-seek among the branches, the nest rested on the lap of the giant, parent-like branches. You appreciate the nature and look beyond the green organism that it is.

Perspective in action. (from Reddit)
The perspective isn't restricted to trees or the natural beauty only. You learn to appreciate/criticize your taste in films, music and books. Suddenly, you can see the nexus between the different forms of art. Life is art, it always has been the greatest canvas that you draw everyday, the greatest novel written so far, the greatest sonnet expressed, the most appealing song, the film where you may/may not be the lead actor. We are so busy looking at things fling past by us, at crap commercial music on although The School Of Life made a video), but I've understood that it broadens your horizons, you can express yourself, understand your feelings, emotions, and emotional outbursts better. Somber works of art and melancholy music can be your best friend and mentor in times of crisis, when you cannot express yourself. You can even understand the people around you better.
 the radio, lame films played on repeat on the television. I can't exactly say what art is for (

Art and appreciating/understanding its its varied forms and structures, is a way of being human, where you step away from being a programmed robot, with your mundane routines and scripted lifestyle.