Architecture student and artist Salmaan Mohamed’s drawings are helping people appreciate the city’s historic buildings, unexplored nooks and crannies.
“Initially, I began sketching with people’s portraits like most other artists. But, when I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in architecture a few years ago, I began sketching the buildings in the city. This allowed me to inspect the buildings closely and learn different construction styles. For the past three years, I have been sitting in front of one of the city’s public buildings every Sunday to sketch it live,” recalls Salmaan.
Temples in Mylapore, Ripon Buildings in Periyamet, the Government Museum in Egmore, and Loyola College Church in Nungambakkam are some of the popular buildings that gave inspiration for the young artist’s sketches. Over the past two years, he has sketched over 50 such buildings, which he shares on his Instagram page. Salmaan is also in the process of getting these drawings published as a book. “Unlike in other cities of the country, I have noticed that we do not have a community of live sketchers. So, I decided to bring out this book hoping to inspire other artists to take up architecture-inspired sketching,” he adds.
Before visiting the buildings, Salmaan does his research on which angle of the structure he wants to highlight, along with the history of the places. “I look for some shade around the building as I spend anywhere between an hour and three hours at the spot. When I began sketching, I used to sit down with my headphones on. Later, I started noticing a lot of passers-by standing around me and complimenting my work. It keeps me motivated even if I’m sitting under the sun on the sunniest of days,” asserts Salmaan.
The artist, who is keen to go on a world tour and travel to cities while creating sketches of architecture, is also working on highlighting some of the not-so-popular buildings of the city, like the age-old houses. In the past, he has travelled to Agra, Delhi, Chandigarh and Kerala to sketch some of their historic structures. “I remember travelling to Agra, eagerly wanting to sketch the iconic Taj Mahal. When the security didn’t allow me to carry my sketch book in, I had to make the sketch on a small piece of paper that I had in my pocket and have kept it as a memory,” he recollects.