There are two things that artist Vimal Chandran always carries in his bag: his drawing notebook and a set of watercolours. “I don’t know when inspiration may strike, and I like to be prepared. I get it from my travel, movies, songs and even from casual conversations,” he says. The Bengaluru-based artist recently launched Songs for the Birds, a calendar with 12 of his artworks for the year 2021.
Art from the calendar
“The works are from my series of illustrations called Unposted Letters. I drew them during the lockdown with soft and vibrant colours, to take away the lockdown blues,” he says. The paintings have two central characters, a young boy and a girl, as simple, colourless line drawings surrounded by a colourful world. “Each piece tells a story. While some of them might make you smile, others have a deeper meaning,” he explains. The tabletop calendar comes with a wooden stand in the shape of a bird, made by local artists from Palakkad, his hometown. “I designed it based on the little bird that comes in this series,” he says. “I started the series in 2016. From then on, I keep the best of my drawings of that year for the calendar. So far I have done around 200 works.” His illustration style is simple. “It fits my way of storytelling. I don’t believe that the work has to be complicated to reach an audience. Though simple, my works can convey serious ideas too. For example, my political series called Social Pressure talks about the inequalities in society.” Vimal is a self-taught artist who took up art as a full-time profession in 2013 after quitting his corporate job. So far, he has showcased his works in 10 exhibitions in India, Dubai and the US. He says that the most exciting thing in art is to get an idea to work around. “Every art created is inspired by someone else. The true talent of an artist is to put their unique perspective to it.”
Vimal recently did a collaboration with photographer Ajay Menon, Avial band and Vivo mobile to capture the monsoon of Kerala. “It was fun and I could bring the scenes of my village during monsoon into my illustrations. We hope to conduct an exhibition of those works in Kochi soon,” he says. “I also plan to release an illustration book with drawings from Unposted Letters.” Songs for the Birds calendar is available for ₹1,350. Visit https://www.unpostedletters.in.