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Interview with Vineesh Vijayan - Sculptor Stop motion Animator

Posted By : Mukesh    At 9/4/2014 6:25:54 PM


Tags : Interview     Sculptor Stop motion Animator    

Drawn to drawing from his earliest memories of childhood, Vineesh Vijayan is today a sculptor and Stop Motion Animator in his own right.  17 years was not a thinkable age for a child prodigy to do an independent exhibition of his own solo sculpting arts, but Vijayan did it, and never looked back.  From clay modeling to music, drama, signboard artist and film maker, Vineesh Vijayan presents himself as one role model that artists would not stop emulating.  His work has been portrayed in very reputed Indian and International feature, advertisement and animation films.  Let us see how Vineesh describes himself, his work, inspirations and achievements in his own words.  Read on…

Vijayan, how did you get into sculpting combined with Stop Motion?  How does your background fit into it?
I was born in 1988 in Kollam District, Kerala.  I was more-or-less a silent kid, and took to drawing at a very young age to express myself.  When I was 10 years old I found some clay on the roadside.  I shaped into a saint.  My mother noticed the art in me and brought some more clay, encouraged me to do more models and thus started my pass for sculpting.  I created a lot of clay models – mermaids, elephants, Indian gods – learning and improvising with each creation.  It was a God-given gift as I never got an opportunity to learn the techniques of sculpting from a professional. During my school days I participated in numerous clay modeling competitions and won prizes in each one of them.  This not only made me more enthusiastic, but also strengthened my resolve to do something really challenging in sculpting.  With every model that I made I tried to do something unique. I am yet to come across anyone who tried it at my age.  I was alone in attempting to polish my learning experiences.  While studying in Plus one I made a life size portrait sculpture of Mona Lisa and in Plus two, I did life size statue of a dissected human body for my School’s Zoology Lab. At the age of 17 I did my first solo exhibition.  Sculpting wasn’t my only passion during school days, I learned to play Tabla, Keyboard, Kathakalichutti (make up), directed and acted in dramas, orchestrated a music group, tried my hands on special effects make up, and many things that could stand in good stead with my artistic abilities. Yet, money was difficult to come by.  To find pocket money for buying materials for sculpting I did many odd jobs – as studio manager for a music band, sign board artist, tabla player for music programs, and such works.  After my school hours I would be really busy with all this work and during vacations I devoted all my time to sculpting.

My passion for directing and writing drama inspired me to study film-making and I joined AAT Media College, Chennai. During those college days I become a part of a music band called ERA 7 and also directed visuals for few music videos, in which I did clay animation for one album song. Later I worked as Faculty in Animation department for 1 year.  But I didn’t do any sculpting for more than 3 years which made me realize that I missed something really important in my life. So I took a conscious decision in those days that my destiny lies in becoming a sculptor.

I joined BFA (Sculpture) at Govt. College of Fine Arts, Chennai and worked as part time Stop Motion Animator and Puppet modeler at Ideaheavens Experimental Animation studio.  College life was the most challenging and those were tough years in my life.  Presently I am working on a series of hyper detailed statues of spiritual leaders and will soon start a company to market it.

Which projects would you call your recent favorite ones?
I have finished hyper detailed statue of Shirdi Sai Baba, the biggest challenge was only very few real photographs of Baba were available.  No pictures of his side view were available, which is very important for reference while sculpting.  It took more than 8 days to sculpt the face alone and many times I had to rework the same statue to get a perfect resemblance.

I worked as Animation director for several Indian and International stop motion Animation projects at Ideaheavens.  Few that I would like to mention are – Chennai City Gangster song from movie Vanakkam Chennai, Secret of True life-Stop motion Film, Advertisments for Seven Islands, Lionbridge, Salvation TV etc.

Which artists inspire you the most?
Hyper Realistic sculptor Ron Mueck and Contemporary SculptorAnish Kapoor, Kanayi Kunjiraman, Installation Artist Ai weiwei, Raja Ravi Varma, A R Rahman … The list is long and still incomplete…

What does “being creative” mean to you?
Being creative is all about creating something new which nobody has made or seen before, but it is not easy as we tell.  My endeavor is to do experimental projects which people can connect to themselves.

What did you want to be as a youngster, and are you surprised where you ended up?
From childhood I really loved taking up challenging projects and turning them into success.  I am enjoying that life. My aim was always to experiment something different in any medium, I tried it in animation, film making and music, but realized Sculpting is my destiny and the journey is still on.           

Do you have any source of inspiration that is not art or design related?
My source of inspiration is nature and life’s pleasure and frustrations around me.

If you could collaborate with anyone in this world, dead or alive, who would it be?
It would be Anish Kapoor and Ron Mueck

What can we expect from your future works?
I am starting off a company which sells hyper detailed statues, and doing research to do a series of contemporary sculptures where Indian classical music is the subject.

Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
I am preparing for my solo show within two years.

What are the best and worst things about being an artist?
Best thing is I live my life as I wish. Ups and downs of my life I am enjoying and the energy to fight back tough situations is always high. Working really hard each moment to make my dreams come true is my life.  I experience so much of pain, restlessness, tension and tiredness during the progress of each project. But when I feel I am nearing my destiny slowly and steadily, I feel I am living a meaningful life.

I feel that there is no such worst thing in being an artist. Many of my friends used to tell they won’t get support from their family and friends to take their career as artist and many of them quit because of this reason which is really sad.  But in my life I really thank god for giving such loving and supporting parents and sister, trustworthy and understanding friends around me, they are my strength.

What advise can you give to artists who are just beginning?
I am not really a well-established or experienced artist to advise a beginner.  I am equally in an upcoming stage, but I would love to share a quote by Nelson Mandela which always gives me inspiration and strength.



Why are you so passionate about sculpture?
Simply because when I am sculpting I can be myself.

Are there other members of your family who are artists?
I belong to Viswakarma family and my forefathers were black smiths. So everybody says I got my talent for sculpting from my ancestors. Presently only I am into sculpting. My father R. Vijayan is a car mechanic working in Gulf, Amma, Usha Vijayan, is a housewife and my sister, Sreelekshmi V, also has talent in sculpting.  She won two Kerala state awards for clay modeling but her ambition since her young days is to become a doctor and violinist.

What is your average day like?
Actually I am very bad in maintaining a routine life and absent-minded about personal stuff. I always have a tight schedule of work, because I am handling Stop Motion Animation projects and Sculpting projects for my company at the same time – mostly sleepless nights.  After each project is over, I go for complete sleep for two or three days then again start with some new projects. For the past 10 years life is going on like this.

What do you like doing when you are not making sculpture?
I love to read.  I like reading books related to spirituality and philosophy.  Osho’s teachings always inspire me.  His book ‘Creativity’ has influenced my life greatly.  Going for music concerts and classical dance performance is my other interest. A R Rahman, O S Arun, Bombay Jayshree, Aruna Sairam’s songs are my favorites.  Other interesting things are “Facebooking” and I love roaming around all alone.

Which are your typical clients, who purchase your sculptures?
Recently only I started selling my sculptures.  Earlier I was doing it for my own passion, now I am sculpting series of Spiritual leaders’ statues and finished Shirdi Sai Baba statue.  I am getting orders from Baba devotees through my Facebook page.  I will be making Hyper-detailed statue of Srila Prabhupada, Sree Narayana Guru and Vivekananda this year.

What style of art would you classify your work?
I am doing both realistic and contemporary sculptures and tried hands in installation art also.

My realistic sculptures can be classified in to hyper realistic sculpting because of its minute detailing from hair strands to smallest wrinkle on the face and body.

How did your art works become famous?
My works are being updated in my blog and Facebook page through which I am getting audience.  In future I have to do more exhibitions of my sculptures.

Could you tell us some interesting facts about your life?
I think I shared almost everything about me in previous answers.  But apart from my career, I really want to work for old people who don’t have shelter and family to take care and help talented kids to realize their dreams.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
I really thank all of you for spending your valuable time to read my story. I need your suggestions, criticism and support to improve my skills. Thank you all.

Thank you Vineesh for sharing your experiences with us and all the very best for your future endeavors. 

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