Express press service
KOCHI: Ajay Purushithaman (aka Ningal Malayali Ano) has created a unique artistic series. His current area of interest is toy face profiles, a very popular style in the world of NFT (non-fungible token) trading. With around 600 works in his collection, Ajay has created waves on various NFT platforms.
The artist has been a big fan of cartoons all his life. After completing class 12, he immediately joined a diploma course in graphic design and animation at an academy in Kannur. His inspiration? The release of the movie Avatar, an epic sci-fi that was released around the time.
“I started collecting toy faces in a very organic way. Before that, I was doing 2D illustrations and animations. When I heard about NFT, I released some of my new works, and it’s “These were toy face profiles. When they gained popularity, which I didn’t expect, I decided to stick with them,” says Ajay.
The 31-year-old quickly started producing 3D animations with his characters. Former U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader dance to a hit hip-hop track, Keanu Reeves as John Wick on the verge of revenge and most notable – the movie characters Bollywood Sholay evergreens dancing together.
Profiles of people of all ethnicities and colors, religions, tribes and genders get their adorable avatars at the hands of Ajay – fishermen, divers, gamblers, ninjas and magicians. “It’s hard to draw such a diverse set of characters as toy faces. The basics are pretty much the same. I have to find ways to channel my imagination into a limited space. I’m determined to create 1,000 characters in a similar style. It will be a real challenge for me,” says Ajay.
“Every day, after a busy day at work, I decide who I’m going to create that day. It’s my first decision before drawing. Since I started the series, I draw at least one character a day I will finish the collection at least by 2023, I think,” he quips.
Ajay, who currently works as an art director at a Bengaluru-based advertising agency, had been working from home since the pandemic began. “That’s why I was able to draw every day. Otherwise, none of this would have happened. After playing with my baby, I work when my family sleeps. Even if it’s as late as 3am, I only sleep after I finish my drawing,” says Ajay.
Her unique tag, Ningal Malayali Ano, is a hit among the artist community. “It is a great tool to connect with Malayalis across the globe. I am a living poster boy promoting Kerala,” he jokes.
Ajay’s works have an overall quality. It’s this cosmopolitan attitude that makes her work sell out fast, even on international platforms.