Published: 20th May 2020
This Coimbatore-based illustrator puts a face on every mundane object you see around you
Thinking out of the box, Akshaya CR illustrates faces on everyday objects in the hope that these will inspire imagination in children
When I was a fourth grader, back in simpler times, an English lesson about a rabbit living on the Moon thoroughly fascinated me. I don’t remember the details of the story anymore but what I do remember is that, back then, it had truly sparked my imagination. 26-year-old Akshaya CR is trying to do something similar for kids today through her series FACE'ing Things. However, she isn’t using stories but illustrations to tell these imaginative tales.
Are you wondering yet what's so special about her brand of art? Akshaya puts a face to everyday objects one can see around them. Just imagine a cartoon man with French fries on his head for hair! Or Peppa Pig with a button for a nose! Interesting and amusing, right? “Since childhood, I have always visualised inanimate objects having faces. I assumed that everyone my age thought the same way but I was wrong,” says Akshaya who goes on to recall how it all started for her as an adult, “I once told my colleagues and friends that I thought that the antique table clock in my office was sad as it is was not being taken care of properly. They couldn't really understand or imagine what I was talking about. So, I immediately took a photo of it and drew an expression on an iPad and they gawked at what I had drawn."
This marked the beginning for the professional architect who started the FACE'ing Things series on her Instagram page @akshaya.cr in September 2017. “I started illustrating on various photos on my iPad every day and posted them on Instagram. A few months later, a company approached me to illustrate for their calendar with a photograph of a leaf, representing 12 different concepts suggested by them. Although it was challenging, I completed it successfully,” says Akshaya, whose Insta profile encourages people to DM her for commissioned work and for collaborations.
Akshaya laments about how she wishes someone had identified this potential in her as a child. Today, hoping to be that 'someone' for kids around her, she is guiding them in using their imagination to the fullest through workshops. “In my workshops, I don’t teach kids to draw nor do I instruct them on how to think. Instead, I try to ignite their innate imagination. This increases their confidence. By the end of the workshop, they would definitely start drawing to express a part of themselves,” says Akshaya who works as an assistant professor at Sasi Creative Institute of Design in Coimbatore. Akshaya also takes parents’ feedback after the workshop, where she talks about their kids' strengths. She plans to conduct such workshops in government schools and orphanages soon.
Akshaya loves spending time with kids and that's a huge reason her products are focused on things that she wished she had as a kid. “I sell fridge magnets made of cement with funny faces, posters, doodle kits with frames, cartoon gift wrappers and so on. I never saved any of my drawings from when I was a child, so I sell my doodle kits with frames so that kids can treasure their art forever,” she shares. But adults, don’t be disheartened! She's got something up her sleeve for you too. “I might start similar workshops for adults. Apart from the products available for kids, I also design products like wedding invitations, illustrate calendars and so on. Also, anyone can send me a photograph and I will illustrate an interesting face on it,” she laughs. Though she is yet to start selling online, her products sell like hotcakes at exhibitions and are priced at `200 to `1,000.
Some of her other works: