CHENNAI: It is not uncommon for artists, writers, musicians, and most creative folks to stay awake all night, as these hours bring out their creativity. In fact, several studies show that the later the hour, the more creative the brain! That’s why several artists and art communities in the city have taken to ‘Art All Night’ events, where painters, writers, poets, dancers, singers and musicians come together for one night of organised and disorganised art.“It’s exciting to work on art all night.
Most Saturday nights, people are expected to come back with a hangover, but this is something different, fresh and an amazing experience!” says Urusha Maher, an architect and artist, running an online stationery story, ‘The Paper Dolphin’.But what’s the difference between art events that happen in the morning and this? “If you think about it, not many people will spend an entire day in an art workshop. And most of them are only moonlighting as artists, and have other professions. The night is the perfect time for that,” points out Urusha.So what really happens when a bunch of highly creative people are packed inside a room for almost 12 hours? “We get a diverse mix of artists, put them into groups of two or three, and then see how much creativity and innovation comes out of these collaborations,” explains Nanditha Raghavan, creative partner, Platform for Artists (PFA), which has successfully conducted two Art All Night events in Chennai.
At PFA’s most recent event, the participants were grouped into threes and asked to create anything under a quirky and crazy theme - ‘Hitler at a Yoga class’. “I was teamed with a writer and artist, and we created an abstract painting of Hitler mediating in a gazebo in a Japanese Zen garden. The backdrop of the city line fades into an ECG line, indicating how Hitler’s peace is derived from people’s destruction. And the writer wrote a poem reflecting our artwork,” laughs Urusha, recalling that she learnt a few techniques of painting.
For Indu Balachandran, an acclaimed author, attending one such PFA event was life-changing. “I created a collage in the event, and from then on, I took so much to collage making that I am going to hold an exhibition on it!” she says, adding that at 60, she has become an artist. “Being an author for 40 years, attending Art All Night event brought out the artist in me and has changed the course of my life entirely!” she smiles.
Learning new forms of art, meeting like-minded people and networking, all the while creating something fun and interesting, is the major pull-factor for such events. “A painter can learn dancing, and create some entirely new form of art! You never know what can come out of it,” says Maadhurya Ramaswamy, founder, Art Connection, which hosts ‘Midnight artists’ across India’s metros. “Around 22 people attended our event in Chennai, and it was energetic and fun for everyone.”
Best at night
Several renowned artists are known to have preferred working all through the night. Franz Kafka, Thomas Wolfe, Marcel Proust, Picasso, Van Gogh, and closer home, AR Rahman, who is quoted saying, “...because it’s best to concentrate and orchestrate in the silence of the night”.
Follow ‘Platform for Artists’ and ‘Art Connection’ on FB for future events.