KOCHI: It was in 2015, Narayana Bhattathiri decided to create calligraphy art daily. The decision was spurred by the thought of making calligraphy practice a regular affair. Each day the artist created an astounding piece of art, which he would then share on his Facebook page.
On Friday, he completed 3,000 calligraphy works in Malayalam. And a beautifully ornate 3,000 written in Malayalam graced his Facebook page ‘Narayana Bhattathiri’.
Under his brush, even poetry verses get transformed into art. His style of hand lettering juxtaposed with geometric patterns strikes a new chord in calligraphy art. Bhattathiri wields his brush to create letterings ornate with strokes, curls and loops, with each alphabet earning its own personality and personal space.
At the break of the dawn
His day begins at 3am. Every morning, the artist sits at his desk with his pen, brush, paper and ink. When it involves poetry, Bhattathiri renders the verses as he makes the art. And the art just flows, he says. “I don’t think and when I put the brush on the paper, it just takes its own course. Thought doesn’t play any part. I don’t have any plan ahead or approach it with any preconceived notion. It just develops on the go,” says the 62-year-old artist.
Bhattathiri prefers the quiet of the mornings to work on his art. “It is very silent and no one calls at that hour. So it is the most peaceful time to make art,” he says. One calligraphy art may just take about half an hour to be completed and he creates two art pieces daily.
The art of letters
Bhattathiri says calligraphy isn’t all about understanding what is being written. “Some people say they aren’t able to follow the lettering and are unable to read. One just needs to see it and enjoy it. I can’t read Arabic but I enjoy Arabic calligraphy or Chinese calligraphy,” says Bhattathiri.
The pandemic and lockdown have given him more time to invest in art. From July, he has started exploring another style of English calligraphy. “The Copperplate style is extremely beautiful and the pen used is also very different,” says Bhattathiri.
Nothing brings him as much joy and satisfaction as creating calligraphy art, he says. “The sense of satisfaction I get cannot be explained. Whenever I need a break or beat the stress, all I need to do is work on a letter and I am good,” chuckles the artist.