KOCHI: A pair of eyes stare at you from the frame from the legs of a person. Another frame with two hands is interconnected but hang from the end of a fishing hook. An invisible hand has captured them and controls them.
These are excerpts from the artworks by artist Ajith Shaji. Most of Ajith’s digital works are about people — real, fictional and fantastical. The people in his frames seem to be occupying a different plain, a space where nature is deeply connected to humans sharing many mysteries to of the world. Each wrinkle of the skin, every curve of the body is drawn with utmost care.
“I love drawing human anatomy, especially the hands and the eyes. Even the hands have expressions in them — their position, the movement of each finger, the curves and bends of each sinew. I love the aesthetics of the eyes. More importantly, how all our senses can become our eyes through intense meditation, even our feet,” Ajith says. Eyes carry many meanings in Ajith’s paintings, depending on the context. They show the person’s subconscious, sometimes the consciousness of nature and then, the eyes turn furious.
“I have been drawing since I was a kid. My father used to draw in his free time. He was the one who moulded me into an artist. After watching him and learning from him, I decided to pursue art in my life,” says Ajith. To chase his dreams, he joined Raja Ravi Varma College Of Fine Arts in Mavelikkara. “Till then, most of my works have been rooted in realism. I wanted to draw the scenes from my real life as it is. However, by the time I finished college, I naturally started crafting surrealistic paintings,” he says. It was around the time he started experimenting with digital arts. “I am constantly learning about new and old methods, styles and colours,” says the artist.
Ajith’s oeuvre is an extensive study of different mediums, styles, themes and genres. From old Vermeer-like oil paintings to Japanese culture influenced paintings, pop culture and hip-hop references, his repertoire is vast. There are social commentaries too, like his work “adaya vilpana” — a sarcastic take on consumerism and capitalism. In the frame, a street vendor is selling organic brains categorised by their IQs. Under a bright yellow umbrella, he is awaiting customers. “It was a funny image inspired by a meme I saw,” says the artist.
Many of his works are attempts at learning better ways to make art, says the prolific artist. Hailing from Wayanad, having lived close to nature, wilderness is the main theme in his painting. One of them, a man listening to music, running his hands in the stream, is an image inspired by the time he spent in serenity.