CHENNAI: From ‘Thambi the mascot’ greeting you on the streets to the chess kolams in front of homes, and selfies on the Napier bridge, with hashtags #ChennaiChess2022, chess is the flavour of the season across Tamil Nadu. Taking this enthusiasm to another level, a few artists have carved their creativity as a homage to the 44th Chess Olympiad.
Madan Singh Yessian, a visual designer by profession and an illustrator by passion, from Coimbatore, joined the rally of artists offering their unique strokes to the chess fever by creating a welcome illustration for the participants and the viewers.
Parallels of chess and Chennai
Madan’s vision was to recreate a monument of Tamil Nadu with chess pieces. What’s better than the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr M G Ramachandran Central Railway Station, says Madan. “I wanted to create something to pay a tribute to the Chess Olympiad 2022. Incorporating minimalism in the design, I recreated this iconic structure with chess coins.” In Madan’s design, the main building is the king which is guarded by two rooks on either side, coloured in red and white. He first drew it out with a pencil and created a rough sketch using chess pieces then gave the final touch in Adobe Illustrator.
Speaking about why he chose Chennai Central, he says, “I cannot think of anything other than the railway station to welcome guests from other places. As a Coimbatorean, my first memory of Chennai is the Central station. There, you can see the culmination of everyone walking into the city with awe and wonder. The warmth and the peacefulness imparted to the people visiting the city are reflected in the building’s colours — red symbolises the revolution of Madras, the excitement and energy of the people in the city and also it draws attention, White symbolises peace and innocence, and is ideal for dressing up something that is happening for the first time. The colours reflecting the city also matched the vibes of the Olympiad, so I painted my work in red and white.”
When inspiration strikes
This 32-year-old artist prefers to illustrate events that have a personal connection. “Chess is one of my favourite games so I couldn’t not do anything for the booming chess craze. When Dr Kalaignar Karunanidhi passed away, I created a poster depicting his face as the map of Tamil Nadu, the idea was to show that he was the face of Tamil Nadu."
'For AR Rahman’s birthday, I portrayed his face with music symbols. The clustered dump yard of the musical notes, when observed carefully, shows the legendary musician,” he shares. For the Chess Olympiad illustration, apart from the usual sharing and applause in the comments section of his social media profiles, Madan received an appreciation from the Tamil Nadu Tourism office, seeking his permission to use it as a poster, making it his favourite work so far.
Follow Madan Singh Yessian on Instagram @designbymadan