Imagine travelling daily for over an hour from your office to home, by train. Some of us while away the time flipping through a new book, binge-watching the latest TV series or scrolling through social media feeds, others kill the hour by staring out of the windows or by meeting new people on the train.
But, for Ajish Purushothaman, more commonly known as Ajish Ayikkarappadi, the daily commute from his office at Thenhipalam to home at Kuttipuram via train helped him create a career of his own through the invention of 'Kuthivara' or 'Mobile Fingerprint Art '.
Drawing without any rules or boundaries, that's the whole idea behind Kuthivara art. A smartphone and an inclination towards painting are all that you need for becoming a 'Kuthivara' artist. The paintings are not created on traditional canvas. The canvas here is the smartphone and the only tool required is your own fingertip for scribbling the images.
According to the artist who works as a proofreader and book store keeper at the University of Calicut, it all started when his wife Shiji gifted him a Sony Xperia M2 smartphone for their anniversary, in 2014.
The phone contained a 'Sketch' app, meant for photo editing and modification. "After I got the phone, I started exploring the Sketch app in it, during my daily journey in train. The app contained pen, pencil and colour palette tools and I began using them for creating random images," he said. Ajish, who had no formal training in art, but had a passion towards it, created around 50 mobile fingerprint images within the first couple of months of receiving the phone.
With the help of his colleagues, he printed all the images and conducted an exhibition at the University.
Following the positive responses the exhibition garnered, Ajish went ahead to host a second exhibition at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi in Thrissur with around 80 'Kuthivara' images.
"The exhibition was a huge turning point in my life. Until then Sony company authorities were not aware that the Sketch app could be used for painting also. They visited my exhibition and were surprised to see the results. Later on, they added a lot more features to the app, as per my suggestions," he said.
Since then Ajish has created nearly 286 digitally- devised paintings, has hosted several exhibitions in Kozhikode and has won numerous accolades. While he initially required around an hour for creating one 'Kuthivara' painting, now he takes hardly 10 minutes. Some of Ajish' favourite mobile fingerprint paintings
include portrait of singer S Janaki and that of Sharjah Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi.
"A couple of my paintings have been sold. But I prefer gifting it to my friends and relatives for their birthdays, weddings and other auspicious occasions," added Ajish.