Dipesh Majumdar

Blog and Paintings

Influence of wealth on aspiring artists

I saw two contracdictory columns - one in the first page and the other in the last page of Economic Times today.

1. Rags to Riches Artist Subodh Gupta purchased a home in New Delhi worth Rs. 100 crore

2. Oppulent artists... Rabindranath Tagore, Virginia Wolf, Satyajit Ray and Bimal Roy couldn't have made it this big had they not been born into rich families.

The debate seems natural and quite interesting. The million dollar question being, You need to be rich to excel in art or is it that your potential artistic traits can't be suppressed under penury?

There is no way of evidence though. You cannot travel back in time and alter situations to see what would have Rabindranath Tagore generated had his bandwidth shrunk in earning his daily bread. Nor can you make Subodh Gupta emerge from opulent parents and then monitor his artistic pusuit!

Artistic endeavours do need time... and money... and lots of them simultaneously! Dead time, when an artist sits back, lies down, analyses, thinks and plans his brush strokes is of utmost importance. Time when nothing seems to be moving forward... to the normal eye. Then a sudden stroke of imagination sets things forward in a gush and an artistic accomplishment is born. Also an artist needs lots of money to explore the world, go to places, travel and wander into the woods or sea beaches and pursue his art with absolute freedom and without any worry to earn money.

Therefore coming from a rich family is a boon so long as the individual concerned is not carried away by a silly and immatured attachment with worldy objects and also when he uses his time in engaging with philosophy, meditation and a higher purpose in life.

On the other hand poverty has its own benefit. It is this period of struggle that one realizes the importance of both money and time, learns to use them frugally and focusses only on the job at hand. This single minded devotion takes him on a long journey of establishing his career, building a solid platform from where further accomplishments become easier. There is no greater satisfaction amd fulfillment than building your own opulence from scratch.

History is proof that we have famous artists from both categories - the rich as well as the poor. Famous artist or a wasted talent... it is more subjective and less circumstancial. That would be my take!

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