The creative process of art is as complex as it is simple. Sometimes, you are just a channel and magic keeps manifesting itself through you while you watch yourself create. At other times, there is just a lull. Between these two extremes, there is a range of processes that takes place within an artist. Today, I want to talk about the lull. A lull so terrifying that it almost disrupts the very core of your being.
My grandmother passed away recently and she was very dear to me. Although I knew the extent of her health issues before and she was 93 years old when she passed away, nothing could prepare me for the earthly end of this beautiful relationship between us. On the work front, after the solo exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery, I was consolidating my thoughts that had been inspired by my trip to Bali. My next collection was beginning to just take shape in my head when this personal loss happened. All of a sudden, I was staring at a creative block.
I was consumed by thoughts of whether I will ever be able to work again. Every block is like that. You never know if you will ever get past it. You never know if things will be the same ever again. It is terrifying. Your feet tremble when you try to take the next step. I tried to work and everything I created looked like death, it emanated emotions that I simply was not ready to explore yet. I was struggling with my creative process when one day, as I lay in my studio, I came across something that J.Krishnamurthi had said. It was about how just listening to life in the truest sense is the most liberating experience and that thought resonated with me.
I stopped trying so hard to push myself and I looked within. Many days I spent time just staring at my own work. Letting the effort go and just accepting what I was going thorough was beautiful by itself, the solitude helped. I listened to more and more of what was happening in my head. Slowly, what started as a mere practice session to replicate my own work became a creative process and art started flowing onto the canvas again. All those inspiring sounds from Bali rang in my head again. And steadily, the block began to become smaller. A big part of being an artist is to let the art happen to you. The process of art becomes the life of artists. As I work towards overcoming my block, I must say I am enjoying every bit of the entire process.
Blocks, creative or otherwise, are a part of life. Scary, but imminent. Sometimes, just being still and experiencing it without any resistance can help the block pass without any friction and make it all a wonderful experience, isn’t it?