Magic With Matchsticks
Meet Bivin who creates magic with simple matchsticks | Beena Lal
On Aug 24, 2016


The magical fingers of Bivin Lal, transforms simple matchsticks into lifelike human figurines. Matchstick art is not an ordinary art form. It's an extremely difficult and unique art form. The photographer, magician and artist in Bivin all come together to help him create this wonderful work of art.


One look at the rickshaw being pulled by a man on the streets of Kolkata is enough to make one admire and wonder at the ability of this artist which is beyond our imagination.


“I have seen matchstick creations before but they were like matchstick drawings. The idea of making a matchstick came to mind like a flash, during a train travel. The famous scene and dialogue from the popular Malayalam movie, 'Meesa Madhavan' by the versatile Jagathy Sreekumar came to mind, 'Purushu enne anugrahikkanam'!


“That night, on June 15, 2016, I tried to create that scene with matchsticks. I received very encouraging feedback for my first creation that gave me the confidence to pursue this art seriously,” Bivin remembers fondly.



The perfection in his art, almost lifelike figures, with body language which shows the emotion of that mood is unmistakable. He explained, “The matchstick figures which I am doing at present got more clarity after I studied human body postures closely.”


It's not very easy to create emotions on a matchstick ‘face’, but he crossed that obstacle too. He went on, “After creating some figurines I realised that I couldn't recreate every single visual around us through this particular art form as there were limitations. As the figures are faceless they can’t express their emotions. The only way to overcome that limitation was by creating the appropriate background and mood along with placing the figures in different angles. The result was a perfect piece of art, or realistic art. My experience in photography helps me in my efforts to attain perfection.”




According to the artist, the inspiration behind a frame could be an unforgettable incident he has witnessed, read or heard. Sometimes it could even be a dream he has had, or a scene he hasn't captured in his camera frame yet.


Bivin has gone beyond the ordinary with experiments of his own. “I've tried using clay along with matchsticks to make faces and arms once. But it took more time than a normal matchstick figure. Since it took away the very essence of matchstick art I quit that experiment,” he adds.



It takes anywhere between an hour to six hours to do a piece of work. A completed work requires about 2.5 to 3.5 square feet of space for display. Because of this, keeping the completed works on display is often a difficult task. Rather quite an impossible one.


He feels content and satisfied when he is able to finish a work, which is usually difficult to create. The same feel goes with photography and with magic too.


The creativity in an individual comes out completely when the person realises that talent and works for it with passion. Bivin Lal is a perfect example of that. A government employee, he lives with his wife Sumalatha - a teacher in Bangalore earlier but now busy taking care of their beautiful baby Akshara.


After meeting Bivin, it leaves you with just one thought. ‘Can’t wait to see an exhibition with all his wonderful works he has created over the years’. That must be such a joy to behold.

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