KOCHI: There is beauty in metals. Welding them to your wish, to create something profound out of it is an art. Manuel Justin, a sculptor and interior decorator who specialises in creating wonders out of metals, came into this vocation quite accidentally. After just a few years, he is making a name for himself and his studio.
“I was an electrical worker before. After I finished my schooling I started tagging along with my father, who is also an electrician. Later, I became better at it. I was quite successful too, in my opinion, “ says Manuel. But when he met with an accident in 2015 and had to rest for more than six months after suffering a head injury and broken limbs, he found peace in it. Making things out of metal.
“When I was a kid, I used to create things out of metal for festival seasons. For Christmas, I used to make baby Jesus’s cribs and other bobbles with metal. But I never explored any other artistic options beyond that. It was only during my bed rest that I found a passion for it,” says the artist.
As an electrician, Manuel has worked with many interior decorators and architects. His artistic eyes learned as much as he could while working with them. “I used to keenly observe the kind of designs they used. That is when I got attracted to minimalist designs and abstract concepts, “ says the sculptor. This interest of his later led him to conceptualise Creative Art Studio with his wife Elizabeth, after recovering from the accident. He then completely devoted himself to metal arts - making sculptures and decorative items.
Like the Budha sitting on a tree branch, a loving family of four in front of an apartment building, a massive metal statue in front of The Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce all point towards this self-taught artist’s immense creativity. The minimalist designs, offer more than just a beautiful piece to glance at; they also inspire you to think, figure out the secrets of how to wield metal to your wish.
“The sculpture in front of the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce in Kochi has three humans in it. They are an integral part of the film world, the director, producer and distributor. The statue looks like it is holding up the building, “ says Justin. Most of his works has been according to clients’ wishes. He mixes his own ideas and creativity into them and crafts original pieces for his customers or patrons.
The artist loves the theme of nature and the harmony of humans. He spends his personal time creating anything from leaves to little creatures in nature like butterflies out of metal. “Most of my works reflect these themes - loving family, the love and friendship of people, the small elements of nature etc. My home and small workshop are filled with my tinkering projects and many experiments,” he says.
He also creates lamps and other decorative pieces like mini statues and bowls. “While starting off, the architects and interior designers used to extend their support by reaching out to me for my designs. This gesture had been of a huge help. Now, I’m working towards my dream of starting a gallery for artists like me- people who never got a chance to learn or explore the artist in them. I came into this profession by chance. So, I want to help others, especially the less established artists,” says the Kochi-native.