I suppose I will always remain an artist at heart. Employment in a technical domain and banausic pursuits haven’t sullied my love for the arts. Be it painting (which is one of the first things that comes to one’s mind when one hears “art”), music, sculpturing, pottery, fabric works, furniture, sketching, architecture, carving, cooking, writing, drawing, interior decoration, dancing, etc., I have always felt blissful when in the midst of these. I have cousins who sing and a sister who has learnt Bharatanatyam (an Indian classical dance form) and various relatives engrossed in some form of art.
A while ago, about 3-5 years ago, I realised that my love, which I thought was directed towards art forms, was misrepresented. I realised, much to my joy, that I was in love with creating and beauty. Now, as often in conversations with me, you must realise what I mean by creating. By creating I mean a wholesome involvement in a process which results in something fairly new (as in experience or an entity).
Let me gather my thoughts here…Yes, I am fairly satisfied with the concept I have of “creating” (created while writing this post). Hence, creating now would include inventing, innovation (subtle difference does exist) and artistic pursuits. I shall not spend more time in defining and technical details.
I love solving problems (puzzles, inter-personal, corporate, strategic, mathematical, philosophical, etc.) and this love runs fairly on top (depends on your locus) of my love for creating. Coming up with new recipes when stuck with seemingly non-friendly vegetables, a new way of decorating the house, a new algorithm (or a new application of an old algo) for the problem at hand, all these and more excite me immensely. I find it re-assuring when I hear that people deviated from their line of engineering (or similar technical and focused fields) to indulge in art.
I, hence, enjoy the company of creative people. People who love to create and enjoy beauty. One such person I happened to meet (in virtual-land) is John Tunney. I am amazed at his discipline to keep churning out ideas on a regular basis. His discipline results from recording all his ideas methodically (either on Global Ideas Bank, of which we are both members, or on his blog) as well as sitting at it systematically. I will leave him to explain his methods if any. We decided to work on a creativity and innovation blog in which we would put forth all the ideas and inventions and innovations we come up with (together and independently). It is still not in full form. In times of patenting I am sure this is the most foolish thing to do, but I am of the opinion that ideas don’t belong to anyone; ideas choose people. When I visit his blog, I am like a kid in a toy shop. Everything looks promising and exciting and wonderful. Well, I do not say that all his ideas are of great appeal (sorry John, no offense), but the pregnancy of his mind and the discipline (unlike me) to stick to it, make me relish his company. Thank you, John, and you will have to wait a long time before I can transfer all my sketches (mechanical, circuit diagrams, furniture, etc.) and ideas from loose papers, notebooks ( I have this problem of filling 10-20 pages and then falling in love with another notebook), envelopes and paper napkins (I don’t remember where else I store info, though I recently gathered some info about the brake system in school buses from an old air-ticket of mine!!) onto our blog. I hope you don’t get bugged by then. Please. 🙂
Earlier on, I had met a soft-spoken guy when he joined my current company. One evening I invited him home (because he wanted to borrow a book). I decided to chat with him as I was feeling bored and asked him to stay a while longer. Soon we started discussing software strategies and programming issues and then we stuck to our excited discussion for nearly 2-3 hours!!! He and I filed the first patent for our company (from the India office). He is no longer with this company, and I miss him a lot. He is having fun in his new company but still misses out on the maddening conversations we used to have (these were one of the only things that made me forget my food, the other being teaching). Thanks a tonne, S. You were and still are wonderful. Please tell your wife that I won’t take any more of her time with you!!
In the blog world, amongst the blogs I visit, I admire those of Meera and Xena. They combine content with pictures wonderfully. Xena’s contents are of varying appeal and her sense of introducing visuals is brilliant. Meera’s contents are a treasure and her (usualy) single picture is well set in context with what she writes. Lakshmi’s blog is amazing in its poetic content which is consistently enticing in its variety and import. This is creativity for me. Guys, thanks for enriching my blogging experience. And to all the other bloggers whose works I read and comment on.
I do not want this post to be a platform for showcasing my works of creativity. What I wish to do, nevertheless, is discuss the need for creative communities. I have always loved the concept of Kalakshetra in Madras (not sure if it is there elsewhere). I love the concept of Dakshin Chitra (which is managed/run by my sister’s friend). I love the concept of KFI centres and retreats. But do we see that these are exclusive and not inclusive in their very nature (although at the KFI centre here we are trying to make it inclusive)? I am of the understanding that earlier communities in India supported artisans, craftsmen, poets, musicians et al. This is also true of communities during the Renaissance in Europe (will blog about this later). I read in Maugham’s Razor’s Edge, of Parisian localities for artisans which made me want to pack bags and leave for Paris (which I dropped as soon I gathered information about the exchange rate!).
Here is my notion of this entire thing. Creators can be happily involved in creation as long as their basic needs are met. If we could establish a community which creates and which is taken care of by those (I avoid using the phrase “not creative”) who aren’t interested in creating (but might do so sporadically), then we have a chance of nurturing the creative spirit. I have (and continue to modify and exact) plans of constructing a huge (not because grandeur attracts my inner eye, but merely because the breadth of this plan pours into the physical size of the centre itself) centre of creativity where people are allowed to enter and inhabit (condition to availability of space) as long as they can spend their time creating (here sincerity and dedication is implicit). What they create would be initially used to create funds for the centre. We could convince the Govt. (don’t ask me how. If it has to be done, it will be) to make contributions to the centre as tax-free. Fund raising avenues can always be determined. All artisans will live in similar conditions (the last thing I want is rivalry). Schools (my area of concern) would be involved in this in the form of sessions which last for few days. Raising funds is not much of a problem (trust me, it can be managed) as long as we can find a a purpose behind all of this.
I hear so many people say, “I would love to paint and I do it whenever I have time, but now with the job and the kid… Let’s be practical” or on similar lines. This is something I cannot tackle at present. I would love to work in a place like IDEO or Pentagram and realise my love to create along with a chance for earning an appealing amount every month, or I can get into a software company and file patents (which is pretty much what I do currently) and simultaneously do mundane stuff, but this tends to be fragmentary.I invite people to provide me (and in turn everyone) with inputs and issues facing this concept. Art is where life is.
For those interested in innovation and creativity, the following link might be of interest (not the best in my collection but simply somthing I stumbled upon recently):
Bruce Mau’s manifesto