“Only one in a hundred of you will ever make it as a career artist” ~ Tutor
The ‘black hole’ was what we were told to prepare for in a series of art school talks entitled, rather optimistically, as Professional Practice Lectures. A toxic blend of arrogance, minor success and naivety meant that I did not heed the warning and instead, shrugged it off as the bitter cynicism of a failed career artist, forced to teach in a Dundonian institution. A year elapsed and, relatively speaking, I had gained considerable ground in the art world. Promoted to the lower rungs of success, I imagined that my further ascent would be steady and swift as long as I continued to put in as much effort in as I had been doing. A piece in an exhibition at the Talbot Rice gallery in June 2010 was to be my undoing and I found myself suddenly swimming against the current. A new generation of graduates had entered the arena and the sons of bitches were stealing my glory.
I was standing in my parent’s garden one evening while burning the rubbish when I suddenly had an uncontrollable urge to scream. My geographic location kept my reason in check and I eventually came to my senses. A couple of weeks later I was describing this to a friend and we came to the conclusion that it would make a good art project, particularly in the medium of film. Convinced, I meditated upon the idea further.
After writing a treatment I enlisted the help of my brother as cameraman and editor though most of the actual decisions in terms of cinematography and the edit were made by me. For music, I found a guy named Silvio (Nyctalgia) who was making music in his bedroom in Switzerland which seemed to fit perfectly. He was happy to let me use his track ‘Mira...’ as long as he got to see the finished piece. As for equipment and transport, my father lent us the camera and my mother was designated driver. And so it went ahead, shot on location at Clyde Murieshiel National Park and my bedroom.
Though I am playing a version of myself in The Art World: A Tragedy, I think it is important to note that it could be almost any art school graduate. This life, often imagined to be liberating and romantic, can be at times rather more frustrating, lonely and well...crushing. Autonomy my friend is a huge responsibility indeed.
Lost to the doldrums of an unrecognised genius, we follow the story of a struggling artist confronting his frustrations in a desolate place where nobody can hear or see him.You, on the other hand, can.
Omar Zingaro Bhatia
~ Fantasist of the Divided Self