Local stories from Kanjirappally

For Vidhumon, his hometown and the people there are all the inspiration he needed to start a digital art series
The Local Stories
The Local Stories

An old man is riding a speeding, worn-out Kinetic Honda. His floral print dhoti fluttering in the air. For Vidhumon T, a young illustrator, something as trivial as this, is a sight to behold, a frame he could weave nostalgic illustrations out of. His series on social media, named The Local Stories, is all about what goes on in his hometown Kanjirappally.

The place, a village with its simple lives and innocent faces always inspired Vidhumon. That is why most of his artworks reflect the memories of the countryside — the green landscapes and portraits of the laymen. An MFA student at RLV College of Music and Fine Arts, Thrippunithura, he has been publishing artworks that stem from the world around him, his hometown to whatever he comes across while travelling across the world in his old ambassador car.

His keen sense of observation, humour sense and love for puns make The Local Stories stand out. “I have a certain affinity for my hometown. I make deliberate efforts to sketch people I come across there. The idea came to me one day when I saw Sukumaran, an age-old coconut climber in my area speeding in his worn-out scooter. His lungi was flying in the air. His laid back attitude and strong facial features made me want to illustrate a series based on various unique characters around me. Also, it is a way to portray these simple hard-working people who brighten up our village,” says Vidhumon who was motivated by his teachers and friends to work on the series.

The Local Stories is almost a year old now. To make it more relatable to the audience all over the country, Vidhumon adds little anecdotes with the illustrations. The series has around eight caricatures, and the first of them is the mechanic in his village — a balding man with spectacles holding spanners under a dim yellow-lit bulb. Such illustrations expose the quintessential working population in most Malayali villages.

Then comes the handsome cobbler who is calmly engaged in his shoemaking job under the shade of a large umbrella. Tea shops have a special place in Vidhumon’s illustrations. “I add their subtle mannerisms and expressions to the illustration to make them original and add a certain element of humour. I try to prioritise action or movements to make my frame vibrant. My love for warm colours tone is reflected in the series. You will find a common shade of yellow everywhere,” adds Vidhumon who spends around three days on an illustration.

The illustrator plans to add more stories to his series and wishes to publish the work as a book or as digital episodes. “I believe an artist’s signature is his individuality. The Local Stories is more like my identity,” says Vidhumon.  

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