KOCHI: For Mohammed Salih, his portraits aren’t just visual representations. The 23-year-old unboxes his creativity through digital illustrations that represent people or events that have left a deep mark on him. Through meticulous doodles and lines, he weaves profound stories that will leave us in awe. “Art has always been an integral part of my life. Though my journey started with painting, I would choose illustrations over any other medium now,” says Salih, who is working as a freelance illustrator.
The final year BA Fine Arts student started doing illustrations for a part-time job that he took up with a creative agency. “Before that, my idea of art was limited. There, I learned more about the medium and developed confidence to draw and express myself better,” says the Thrissur-native.
Without dialogues, Salih’s artwork captures social issues, interesting movie posters and representations, and portraits of those who have inspired him. The first look will only give you the tip of the iceberg, but as you zoom in, you will find hundreds of details that will make his artwork and experience.
Emirati couple vloggers Khalid Al Ameri and Salama Mohamed’s life, where he has summed up their family, places and things they have done and his portrait of traveller Parvez Elahi are few such visual tales. “The adventurer’s artwork was the one that gained more traction online,” adds Salih. He had made the piece ‘Vision, and mission’ for Sheik Zayed, a portrait for designer Sabyasachi too.
“I want people to recognize me with my style. I do detailed research before sketching. By including their interests, work and past, I unfold many layers of their life to the world,” says Salih. When it comes to conveying current affairs and societal issues, Salih takes a unique approach.
“To address the Israel-Palestine conflict, I featured chef Burak Ozdemir. Popularly known as the smiling chef, his smile is the highlight of his vlogs. In the artwork, I illustrated a sequel from one of his vlogs during the crisis period. The man who is always seen smiling didn’t have one on his face then,” says Salih.
Salih’s earlier work for the movie Sudani from Nigeria had fetched him an opportunity to illustrate a poster for the Malayalam movie ‘Thamasha’.