This great myth of the tortured artist, the starving writer, the moody creator needs to be debunked once and for all. ‘Artistic temperament’ if it is a thing, has to do with being sensitive to the environment and creating from it; not using sensitivity as an excuse to be a douche. Disrespect, cliquishness, sneering, condescension – all of these are hallmarks of very limited human beings. Creators of every kind are people who take civilisation forward. An artist’s role is to hold a mirror up to society, to examine the experience of being human. One cannot do that unless one is first and foremost, a stable, sane human being.
Years ago, at a music event, my friend Amit Ahuja told me that as an artist, one must respect other artists and the sanctity of the space/forum/platform that allows artists to create. Jai Ranjit is a painter who also supports music, dance and writing and I’ve only ever heard good things from him about other creators. So much of my love for Manisha Lakhe and Suniti Joshi comes from the fact that they were respectful and supportive of what I created even though when we met, I was a newbie writer and they were veterans.
My avoidance of hiphop comes from an obvious source who believed in putting down every other artist and art form around. I now know that such behaviour stems from extreme insecurity and what kind of artistic reflection can one hope for from such an incomplete person? Hiphop, like every other form of art is independent of its practitioners flaws.
And in more recent times, there are poets and performers who show up at events only to perform and leave immediately. Thankfully, the spaces I frequent discourage this behaviour and extend their welcome to all manner of artists. Alphabet Sambar has very strict rules about listening and supporting other writers, in addition to taking one’s own work forward.
I hope more creators will stop chasing a glamorous (unhealthy) ideal and focus on their art/craft instead. And please, if you are a reader, listener, connoisseur of any kind of art form, stop enabling this negative behaviour and help us make better art instead.