Vignesh, a Mayiladuthurai-born artist employs something remarkable to create stunning artwork — sunlight.
The 32-year-old who is touted as ‘Asia’s First Sunlight Artist’ says he never planned for art to be his full-time profession but turned to it during a depressive phase in his life.
Vignesh began his career as an electronics engineer in 2010. By 2016, things took a negative turn, causing him to experience back pain. To make matters worse, he also lost his mother that same year.
Recounting that phase, he says, “I was at a very low point in my life.” Looking for a change, he went to his native in Tamil Nadu to spend some time at his mother’s sister’s house.
“Over time, the back pain became so bad that I couldn’t walk more than a few steps. I was devastated, as my job kept me on my toes and with the pain, it was difficult to work,” he adds.
In 2017, the doctor advised him to take a sabbatical from work and take bed rest to allow his back to recuperate.
“I used to keep having negative thoughts — having to live in someone else’s house, not having a job anymore…After a few weeks of dealing with these thoughts, I decided I needed to divert my mind. I started drawing.”
It was during this phase of art exploration on YouTube that he stumbled upon the profile of Michael Papadakis, a celebrated sunlight artist who etches sunlight onto the wood.
Drawing using sunlight is not an easy task, says Vignesh.
“When you draw using a pencil, you know the points where the pencil is scratching the paper. You feel it. But in the case of sunlight art, it is all instinct. You need to be careful about the position and distance of the lens.”
He adds that the scientific method of this art is very similar to how kids use glass to burn paper in the sunlight.
It was around the time when the pandemic was peaking in the country that Vignesh’s art went viral. He received many orders from admirers across India.
Today, he charges anywhere between Rs 65,000 and Rs 1,00,000 for a portrait and ships his work to Canada and Singapore among other countries worldwide.