The Art Master
The Art Master
How should I begin? I put my words as they flow from the
tip of my pen and these words have no longer a tip but pure
circumference in volume. I started my lessons in the
alphabet, as any-other child would do, picking they way
they are shaped and also hearing the way they sound!
Nothing unusual or strange about it. The same alphabets
started growing as I grew up from their association to
myself making associations. These associations were clearer
to the meaning in the initial stages but started attaching
the tense, time, and volume of memory to their acquired
status. Then the relationship with them became one of
memory attachment as well as memory detachment. Well it can
be a kind of personalism where one is the self Some of the
words are still pictures but the pictures are peculiar in
wanting to reflect the sense or senselessness of the self.
But the word picture is itself to be questioned and when
done so it acquires a value of the inner which is itself
phenomenal in space. For me these pictures
are ‘existentials’ for expressing my pain and pleasure.
Masochism as an idea is devoid of the rite of the
signifier, existing merely as signification. To the word
masochism I have added ‘masochons’ which are the painful
ingredients or signifiers to the idea of pleasure in the
The audience might be wondering where am I taking them?
Well I feel comfortable and relaxed when I write this way
without those ecclesiastical spillovers or those mealy
footnotes, those tag ends which is essential for the
fulfillment of academic literarydom. When the attention
becomes focused within the walls of an academic paper and
its fence- the university- the attention that’s seeking
originality and creativity is left out.
Great literature or great ideas are not born within the
fence called university- in fact its is the life beyond
those walls – the universe making the wall a progeny of the
I am taking the word fence or wall as my ‘masochon’. The
effort I made in it can be called ‘grades’. And grades were
masochistic in the sanction of pain as the effort I
wasted. ‘What do I do? How do I get out of the ‘fence’ and
fill my life with the richness of experience. What is pain
in the fence is broken along with the fence, transforming
life itself into the universe.
At this stage you might be wondering where’s the art and
where’s the suspense! I will say hold on tight to your seat
belts, its just started; the faster the munching of pop and
corn the faster will king hatch out as the eye Of a bull or
the bull of a eye. I do not have the favour of a noisy
geist who can guide my hand to create the ‘rice effect’.
Copper field is having a field’s day with copper effect of
illusion. It’s easy to be deceptive in the illusion called
magic but the illusion is real and the magic is fake.
Magical is the qualitative essence having an affective path
for explorative consciousness. The intensity of it is self-
illumination which is the individual involved in the
consciousness of celebration. Did I get that from X-files??
No that was X without those bulky dossiers called script.
I do like Dali and I came to know more about him through
his art and with it, the intensity of attachment became
persistent to the memory calling. The reasons for it are
memories of the experience in art I had to undergo as child
in school, which blotted out the magnificent vision of art
and left me artless.
The art master in our school was one of the meanest and
vicious types. I still today dread taking up the brush and
enjoying the whirl of colours- not that I can paint but
just enjoying the experience called art. Every time I take
the brush, my hand trembles as I see the art-master on it.
Not that he was ugly to look at, his ugliness was from the
inside, mean and vicious. He was a stubborn ‘realist’ who
insisted on the ‘real’-the exact. As I child my
understanding of art was limited to the idea: ‘art means to
draw or paint’. This understanding remained with me for a
very long time too.
It was after my sojourn in college, that I lifted my head
out of the fence called university and realised that the
world outside was teeming with richness of expereince and
the explanation to this richness became ‘art’- which I
found in life as well as in books. The freedom to be
synthetic of both-the life as well as books became a
process where I forgot the exam paper and started the real
as an active ghost in the machine of consciousness.
Again back to my art lessons in school. ‘Art’
was ‘compulsory’ so I had little options of choice. The
objectives of learning art for a sixth standard student
will have no meaning or context. So the objectives of art
may be clearer to the designers of curriculum. As a sixth
grader I did not have the maturity or understanding to ask
you. But now I ask you-‘what are your objectives in
designing an art curriculum for a student like me who finds
it difficult to draw?’
The reply I am giving in terms of a Foucaultian answer-
“Madness is not a fact of nature: madness is a fact of
civilization”. So the plain answer is “you curriculum
designers chose option of being mad to make me madder”
My first art lessons started off with ‘flowers in a jug’.
The jug was placed on the table along with the flowers. The
art master sat besides shaking his legs to and fro with the
cane in his hand. I struggled with the jug as I was
deficient in understanding that all it takes to make a jug
a large curve and two straight lines. I struggled with the
jug, as I was unable to put the same on paper as
perspective. The ‘sunflower’ is always ironic then and now;
Ugly blotches of colours covered my art book; from my place
at the back, I could see the glistening cane flexing itself
by the deft movement of the art master’s fingers; it shone
too in a special way; may be he oiled it to have the
maudlin of stealth in strike. Once again I glanced into the
finished work-it was a mess. By the time 45 minutes were
almost coming to a close, the art master bellowed: ”time’s
up boys-time to show the work”.
We had to stand in a queue and march up to the masters
table as in a drill exercise. I tried to be tricky by
forcing myself to be last in the queue. I calculated that
buy the time the bell goes, I can choose the option of
running off without showing the work. But the art master
was cleverer; he had the eyes of Gestapo. He sends a volley
of looks sharp and piercing all the way from front to the
last boy standing in the queue. I tried my best to hide
behind the long line of backs as to make my self the least
conspicuous. But his nasty eyes traveled all the way
straight up and then down with the nose appeared eagerly
sniffing the victim. By the time he was he raised his index
finger and urged me to come out of the queue.
I walked from the master’s room with trembling knees; I
could feel all my bowels running loose in lightning; I had
to apply pressure on my sphincter’s to tighten them up. My
body became a ‘maschon’ of expereince. Though the art
lessons are over the feeling is still there when I am in
torment or excitement.
Even before I could reach him, the hands grabbed the art
book. One look at my mess his face bloated with anger and
sarcasm. By this time the tapping of the cane began-the
motion of it swishing through the air and striking the
folds of his pants—slappety slap slappety slap unnerved me.
Suddenly he was up on his feet; eyes were showing gestures
of a toad with varicose veins; he went for my scruff
arching me downwards. There was an evil grin of the
transpersonal-‘aha aha I’ve got you.’ The position would
enable him to sweep the cane and give the maximum effect of
pain and sound. I closed my eyes and counted. Before long,
it hit my bottom as thwack thunder; I felt the stinging of
a thousand ants biting into the folds of the skin. He
completed the exercise on my bottom with the best of three.
Our next assignment in the art period was a ‘portrait’ of
very famous Tamil Poet who played a part in India’s freedom
struggle. At that time, I never knew who he was or what he
was! The portrait was more difficult than the jug of
flowers and my art book became a collage of deformity. The
art master continued the ‘ritual of the bottom’. At that
time I hated the poet with intensity; but today the
distance has separated into an understanding of the
My years of growing up were consistently indifferent to
art; it continued till I left the university. But once I
left it I became richer in the contents of experience
growing magical all along. Today the ‘jug of flowers’ is
Vangoghian in a beauty of transformation where the initial
of his signature, his (V) tracing round bosomy and curving
as the curvature of the earth is an art where I find love