Carving ink-stained chalks into figurines and shapes was a past time for Thomas Jacob. Over the years, the school student who used to carve the chalks into eye-catching works found that what he enjoyed the most was micro art. From chalks, he moved on to pencils and painstakingly chiselled the soft graphite into pieces of art. Without depending on magnifying lens or glasses, Thomas is adept at crafting tiny everyday objects into works of art, including painting on grains.
“I always used to draw and sculpt during my school days in Raipur and Indore. With a compass, I used to chisel chalk bits into figurines. My artistic pursuits took a back seat when I was in college and during the initial years of my career. Three years ago, I found that graphite was ideal for micro art and began working in that medium. I have more than 25 years of experience in this kind of work,” he explains.
Recently, two of the self-taught artist’s works, both of which pay tribute to heroes of rescue operations during the floods that ravaged many parts of Kerala, have been winning hearts on social media.
One of the works, 5 mm wide and 45 mm long, pays homage to naval pilot Commodore Vijay Varma’s rescue of a pregnant Sajitha Jabil trapped in a flooded building while the other, which is 5 mm high and 35 mm long, is an ode to the fishermen who rescued thousands of people.
The 35-year engineer and business analyst quit his job last December to follow his passion and become a full-time artist. Since then, he has been busy like never before as a teacher of art and also as a practising artist. “I teach 60 students drawing and clay modelling. Once, their hands become steady, perhaps some of them might want to learn micro art. I also do portraits and commissioned pieces in different media,” says Thomas over phone. He has just finished a commissioned wall art at a café in Kochi.