THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: You might have heard about artists working with media such as acrylic colours, shells, rice grains and even some other creative materials to make their work look unique and stand out from others. But, have you ever heard of anyone using human hair as a medium? Midhun R R from Nellimoodu uses human hair to make beautiful portraits.
Three years ago, when Midhun was doing his architecture studies in Puducherry, he had to test the strength of mud and human hair to be used in constructing buildings for a project. This is when he thought of creating something unique using human hair. “I thought of collecting human hair from the barber shops in my locality. My first work was a portrait of Madonna, for which I got mixed feedback. Some even commented the art was awkward. I just wanted to spread the message to people that it is just human hair and nothing weird,” he says.
This 24-year-old artist experiments with human hair and has created portraits of many famous personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi and Sachin Tendulkar. The artist, however, shares procuring the hair for the art is difficult. “I usually work with small hair and it’s not always easy to procure it from barber shops as some people find it weird. When it became difficult for me to get enough human hair, I started growing beard and using my own hair,” says Midhun. He has made more than 10 portraits using hair which was procured from his close friends.
Talking about the challenges that he faced making his masterpieces, Midhun says, “When I started using hair, I got some allergies. Hence, I had to take precautions while using it as it could enter my nose and eyes, which is dangerous.”
He explains the procedure. He spends time cutting the strands of the hair into different length to give perfect detailing and then chemically treats them by spraying formaldehyde. After drying it for 20 to 30 minutes, the strands are cut in different lengths and arranged using a needle. Only in his ‘Last Supper’ work did he use glue to stick the hair. No other works were done using glue. He usually takes a picture or video of the artwork created and then dismantles it.
Currently a professor in an architecture college in Ooty, Midhun also does clay modelling, coconut shell carving and other forms of model making. He has even sculpted many models in rice grains, which include the multi-stringed musical instrument veena which he has created using 87,457 rice grains. He is now planning to make a world record in the biggest human hair artwork ever made. “For the record, I will create something that will convey the traditional beauty of Kerala,” he says.