EXPERIENCE Art and creativity are not for a select few. Pushing boundaries and breaking away from stereotypes helps one understand the true essence of art. SUBHIKSHA RANGARAJAN
There is one thing I have always said to myself, ‘If you can create one thing, you can create everything.’ The first step was a chance. But since then, every single development has been started and accelerated by us, creatures who live in this planet/space/timeframe.
Art for all
Something I always wish people would stop saying ‘oh, I don’t know how you do it; I never could draw a straight line.’ Or ‘it’s wonderful how you sing… I sound like a donkey; people will run away if I tried’.
Who set these ‘right’ singing and ’straight line’ drawing notions? Should we resign ourselves to believing that the only good singing is singing to pitch? Why have we created a society where people have been led to believe that they CAN’T create? What makes them think that some people have the right to and some don’t? Grammar, scales, colours, combinations… these are all codes coined to make creating art easier. Not to shut out a whole billion- strong population from the art, with a dollop of ‘low self-esteem’ ice cream melting embarrassingly on their heads!
I did not start exploring different genres of music to make a point or to go on stage and look cool. Music, art, genres… these are all just different names for the same thing. It is one unchanging, unconditional form of expression and understanding. I am not just referring to words or symbols. If an artist cannot accept another form of art as completely equal, then he/she is not a true artist, and no amount of maturity, experience or logic can get you out of that trap.
It has always been enriching and refreshing to write out songs, while running through a laidback samba in my head. It is equally gratifying when I sing a ‘Kambodhi’ while painting on papers lying around me. I have found that the best way to enjoy a concert and take in everything I’m listening to is by mindlessly sketching the artists on stage. I am soon in a world of my own. Once your mind recognises the simple independent peace you gain from this, there will never be a time when you want to do just one thing at a time… because inspiration is abundant, and you want to use every second of it.
As a kid, I was always imaginative with stories, poems and scribbles. But my first disciplined learning was Carnatic music, and it will be my ONLY form of rigid learning. Every style I was exposed to — Carnatic, Hindustani, film music, western classical music, Broadway musicals leading to jazz, experimental music, contemporary music, music that makes colours, movements that create music, words that sing, shapes that paint, now ideas that remove complications —all give me just one thing; the simple joy of creating.
A few years ago, I met a few musicians who impacted my already evolving appreciation of art, as an art. From this grew Yodhakaa, our band. While this was a new musical venture, it also created a world within itself. Yodhakaa meant little things that make noise. Yodhakaa meant South America. Yodhakaa meant intuition, unspoken words of understanding that happen only between people who break away and understand the value of art. Being with Yodhakaa also taught me about movies, history and jazz; in no particular order because that’s what happens in art. One need not come before two, the bricks aren’t always red, and your eyes may not always see what’s true.
For me, it is no longer ‘influence’ or whether one genre makes sense in another. It is a natural way of discovering things and there is no longer a differentiation in how I produce these different things. When I first started trying out styles, what was missing was quite simply attitude. I realised, as a friend pointed out, you can’t just learn 10 jazz songs, get on stage and become Ella Fitzgerald. I am learning to live as an artist; as a musician, as a dancer. I would not call myself a jazz musician. I would not call myself a percussionist or a painter… I won’t even call myself a Carnatic vocalist, and I prefer not being categorised. I am a chameleon, maybe. But an artist, for sure.
Popularity: 1% [?]