Art and the artist are emotionally connected - GulfToday

Art and the artist are emotionally connected

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


Musicians have had their computer systems hacked and music held hostage. Reuters

If you’re an artist and looking to sell, the value of your work is measured by other people’s perception of it. You may think it’s great and worth quite a bit. After all you spent time, effort and materials in producing it. But sadly the real value of a work depends upon if someone is willing to buy it and the price they are willing to pay. You might already have a figure in mind but if that figure doesn’t match that which the buyer, if you have one, is willing to pay then you might feel devastated.

But do you know what is just as devastating, or even more? Since around 1999, musicians have borne the brunt of internet criminals. Many have had their computer systems hacked and music held hostage. The threats being, pay up or we release the music for the world to hear, for free. Many musicians have either become devastated and withdrawn from life until they have been able to get over the fact that their career may have been ruined or they do what the internet hostage takes and might never have contemplated what their target might do.

In order not to be under the thumb of the blackmailer, many musicians have released their music themselves thereby taking back the power. In fact this is just what an actress did recently. Hackers got into her phone, stole some very compromising photos of her and then threatened to post them online if she didn’t pay up. But in order not to let them have that power over her life she did the unthinkable and released those compromising photos herself. I suppose, from her perspective, she had no choice since the photos may have been released anyway so why not do it herself and take back the power.

I agree that it must be awful to have your art hacked and be under the threat of someone releasing it for free unless you pay up. I too had a very bad experience around 15 years ago. I don’t know if I ever wrote about it and if I did I apologise for repeating myself. However, if I didn’t I would like to relate the story to you.

Back in the early 90s I painted a picture of a small boat out in a stormy sea under very stormy skies. I sent the original (along with another piece of work) in to an art society in England for a competition they held every month. Now, at the time, we didn’t have mobile phones with cameras or even digital cameras so digital attachments was out. Taking photos was also very difficult and would have required a professional’s help. In fact, in those days, we didn’t have Wi-Fi and shared the internet with the landline. So I sent in the original. It arrived safely and I still have the email to prove it. But when the time came for them to send me back my painting, the small post card painting came back but the larger watercolour of the boat did not. I contacted the society reminding them that they had received both safely but they said they couldn’t find it.

That was back in around 2001. I was devastated. I think I cried for almost 2 weeks. I had no record of the painting, not even a bad black and white photocopy. I never saw it again. I sought compensation but they were very reluctant to pay. I had to battle to get my compensation because we disputed on how much we each thought the painting was worth. I eventually got my compensation and felt a lot better. I don’t know what happened to it. If it arrived in their offices, then one of my friends was convinced that it had been ‘stolen’ and was probably hanging in someone’s living room. That was more than 15 years ago. I often think about that painting and think about recreating it but have never tried.

The point is that art is not just the paper on which the paint is put down. Art is not just the book on which the words are written. Art is not just the medium on which it is recorded. Art is not just how much it’s worth based on economics. Art is a lot more than that. It also includes the artist’s materials, time, effort and soul. Every thief who targets an artist does so because the art and the artist are emotionally connected and that is pure evil.

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