Imagine cutting paper to fine 0.8 mm strips. And then creating an intricate network of interconnected paper strips to form Buddhist and other motifs. This is what paper cutting artist E Vinodh Kumar does. It has taken him seven years to get here, and he relishes his work — this much is evident as he explains the importance of structural study.
“There is a delicate balance in place. If even one side becomes too heavy, the paper cutting will fold and collapse,” he says. For instance, you need an intricate oddianam (ornamental belt) on Lord Krishna’s hip to balance out the weight of his pullankuzhal (flute).
Vinodh explains, “I draw a mirror-image and then cut out the paper I do not want using a paper knife. I then put the cutting between two glass plates. If you throw light on this, there is a shadow, giving a 3-D effect to the painting.”
What started out as a hobby developed into a profession for the 33-year-old artist. “Through YouTube, I first learnt how to cut. Then, by sheer luck, I met a Chinese paper-cutting artist as he was passing through Goa where I had gone with my friends. I attended a two-day workshop and learnt a lot from him,” he recollects.
Using acid-free, imported paper, Vinod takes anywhere between a day and three to finish a piece. Each sheet of 30x44 inch paper costs him anywhere between `800-1,800. The trouble is, the paper cannot be folded and it has to be kept dust-free. While the Chinese generally use red paper, Vinodh says only black paper suits his work, most of the time. “Most Indian walls are light in colour, so black cuttings stand out,” he observes.
From book marks to paintings, Vinodh wants all his works to be unique. That’s why he gives every work of his a serial number and documents details of every sale. “There should be only one piece like this. Some people just take printouts and make several cuttings of the same thing,” points out the artist, likening this to mass production.
The artist recently showcased his works at Art Mart at Nageswara Rao park. Reach him on 9962480481.