Trivandrum’s Graffiti Prince
On Mar 02, 2015
|It is the time when the word ‘art’ is flying high in Kerala. Kochi Muziris Biennale 2014 is being lauded by artists and media the world over for the art displayed as well as its humble environs. But the real show stealer was an unknown graffiti artist going by the pseudonym ‘GuessWho’ who created thought-provoking art on the streets of Fort Kochi as well as in Trivandrum.
But there are quite a few known graffiti artists in the state. Let’s meet one of them.
Sankar Mohan Sarma’s stint with drawing and painting began in the 6th grade. Today Sankar is a first year M.Sc. student and a part-time graffiti artist earning big bucks for his art. He has just finished his 15th piece as a part of EQUINOX, Lourdes Matha College Of Engineering’s tech fest.
“We had a visit to Toonz Animations in Technopark during my school days. All the cool stuff I saw there were pretty much my childhood inspiration,” says Sankar. Even though the artist in him came alive in 6th, it was in 11th and 12th that he started to delve into it seriously. In Sankar’s own words, “All thanks to boring classes”!
But how did this turn him into a graffiti artist? Graffiti is not something taught in school. “I got into graffiti during my 12th grade. Back then I was really interested in Calligraphy, art of writing”. Soon graffitis, which is one form of art that widely uses calligraphy, caught his eyes. Before he knew, it became his passion. One can find the extent of his dedication in exam question papers and school notebooks.
His first break was at Mar Ivanios College’s annual fest. He was asked to do graffiti with the term ‘IVANO FEST’. In a span of four years he got 15 more paid work and quite a lot of admirers (including this writer). He does custom designs on automobile bodies too.
He says, “I also look out for dilapidated buildings and partially demolished walls for working.” But his training ground or laboratory is mostly his own arm, face and notebooks on which he has, over the years, tried some pretty cool experiments. He often uses his skills for protesting against social injustice. His ‘RAPE NOT’ work, in the context of Nirbhaya incident, at Pettah is one of his favourites.
The trend of getting fancy artworks on one’s body has crept into the youth of Kerala. Sankar is no stranger to it. Having seen what he is capable of, several of his friends frequently approach him to get something of their own. Speaking of which, he says, “I’ve done designs for a few friends. Temporary tattoos, you could call them. They love them.”
His best work till date? Pat comes the reply, “One in my bedroom which says EKLYPSO.”
‘Eklypso’ is the pseudonym of this artist from Pettah. He might not be a renowned like ‘Bansky’ or ‘Sofles’, whom Sankar admires. But one cannot say what the future has in the offing for this gifted boy from Trivandrum. ‘Eklypso’, just remember that folks!