KOCHI: Former Brazillian professional footballer and Barcelona ambassador Ronaldinho’s official Instagram following has just 300 something followers—an elite mix of former and current footballers and professionals, all graced with the highly prized and verified blue-tick. Recently, a 19-year-old from Malappuram made it to this list, and that has most football fans surprised.
Vivek P T, a first-year Fire and Safety engineering student, drew a pencil portrait of the footballer’s childhood picture two months ago. The picture went viral and garnered thousands of likes. He later followed it up with another work featuring a much-younger Ronaldinho and former footballer Roberto Moreira.
A few nights later, Vivek was astounded to see a comment from the footballer himself saying ‘Thank you for the art, my friend’. While a few celebrities are known to like, comment or share posts from fans, Ronaldinho went a step ahead and began following the youngster, much to Vivek’s surprise.
“Initially, I assumed it was a fan account. Later, I realised it was the man himself. I try to get maximum reach when I draw famous figures. Several sports accounts had shared the picture—I guess that’s how it caught his attention. My family has always been extremely supportive of my art. They were thrilled to hear this. As expected, my friends were slightly apprehensive and found it difficult to believe initially, but they have jumped on the bandwagon now,” says Vivek, who is an ardent football fan, which isn’t surprising, considering Malappuram’s affinity for football.
Vivek has always been inclined towards art right from his childhood. However, it took a backseat when academics came into play. The lockdown, however, reignited his love to draw. “While I also dabble in painting, I’m primarily comfortable with pencil sketch and portraiture,” he says. Vivek has also made portraits of footballer Lionel Messi and a few Mollywood celebrities including Mohanlal, Mammootty and Nivin Pauly.
Is there an added pressure to produce more art now? “Definitely not. At least, I don’t think so. Having said that, I’m more confident now and will practice and elevate my skills. I hope to take engineering and art forward together,” he adds. Vivek’s artworks can be found at _v_p_t_ on Instagram.