An “artist” wonders why he does not sell and blames picture


A sampling of my portfolio on Saatchi Online

Among the first half a dozen websites that I reflexively check every morning soon after waking up is Saatchi Online, in particular my portfolio to see if there has been a bidding war on my digital paintings.

I look at the message box to find out if world famous art dealers, gallery owners, agents of reclusive billionaire art collectors and chic merchandizers have flooded it with massive offers to buy my artworks. So far the response has been in the realm of Zen-like minimalism in that no one has bought anything, nor has anyone so much as sent a message even deriding the portfolio, let alone applauding it.

It must feel like a pretty humorous routine if there were people secretly watching me gingerly move the cursor to the website’s saved link, hold down the left-click of the mouse in quivering anticipation before releasing it even while simultaneously shutting my eyes as if to delay the impending gratification of a huge windfall. I am reminded of Gujarati stockbrokers aboard Mumbai’s local trains playing “paplu”, a form of poker, who pick up their cards with near erotic anxiousness with their eyes closed.

Once the link is open and I have checked the message box to find much to my chagrin that absolutely nothing has sold, I play this little game of what possible reasons behind the complete lack of sale could be. Everyday, I invent a new reason. Today’s reason is that it is my picture with my characteristic smirking smugness that is the biggest turnoff. I envision potential buyers feverishly punching their credit card numbers to buy an artwork and then suddenly discovering my photograph and wondering, “Does this smug patrician posing before fake ivory chess pieces deserve my money?” The answer is obviously no and thereby hangs a tale.


Mayank Chhaya (Picture: Raghunandan)

Of course, I know that it is not any extraneous factor that inhibits the sale of my digital paintings but the clear lack of artistic merit. However, what is an “artist” if not an endless reservoir of delusional optimism? From time to time, I chuck rocks in that reservoir to break my own spell on myself.


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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