Begin typing your search...

Young artiste bags ‘props’ for lifelike cinematic replicas, miniatures

Arunmani, a Masters student in fine arts makes realistic dummies for movies, set miniatures, clay models, sculptures, paintings with cow dung, and sketches.

Young artiste bags ‘props’ for lifelike cinematic replicas, miniatures
Young artiste Arunmani

CHENNAI: Walking down the streets of Vettavalam, a small village in Tiruvannamalai, onlookers looked at him carrying a life-sized pencil that could actually write, made out of shuttlecock boxes and an eraser to school. It got their attention and definitely piqued their curiosity. Arunmani, now 22 years old and an art student says this memory remains very special to him because from that day on the villagers knew him for him.

Arunmani, a Masters student in fine arts makes realistic dummies for movies, set miniatures, clay models, sculptures, paintings with cow dung, and sketches. Talking to DT Next about his journey in art, he says, “I began sketching and painting in school. I was very private and shy about my art. No one knew that I could paint or sketch, not even my friends. My science teacher, Rajadurai, somehow found out that I was good at painting and persuaded me to attend an AIDS awareness painting competition happening in another district.

“I attended and won first place. That recognition for my art is what motivated me to do more and I decided that I wanted to do something in the field of art. I left Tiruvannamalai and came to Chennai and have been staying at my uncle’s place.”

He says getting himself enrolled in the government fine arts college was a task because training was compulsory to be eligible for the entrance exam. Not having any contacts or any idea what to do, Arunmani turned to Facebook for help. He direct messaged every artiste and alumni of the college and asked if they could train him for the entrance. “One person was ready to train me but the fee was too high. We could not afford it. That’s when I saw Raghu anna’s profile. I got in touch with him and he was teaching the basics of sketching, shading and other aspects of art to students at his residence in Urapakkam,” Arunmani says.

Dummy knives made out of thermocol

After staying for a week at Urapakkam, he was ready for the exam. He cleared the exam and got a seat in the college. While at college, he took up a part-time job as a delivery executive for a logistic company to support his family and also helped his uncle financially. “I collaborated with event managers and did live portraits and painted tattoos for kids. It was going well. I built my contacts and made a decent amount of money. But then the lockdown happened and all of it stopped,” he says.

Talking about his custom-made miniature for VJ-actor Ma Ka Pa, he says, “I had made a sketch for him. It so happened that we both were at the same event. I showed him my art and he remembered my work and appreciated me for it. He took my number and asked me to make a miniature gun for his channel. That’s how my profile gained traction. He has been very supportive of my work.”

With the lockdown weighing down on all of us, Arunmani had a burst of creativity. He made realistic knife dummies out of discarded thermocol he found on the streets. This paved the way for him to work on miniature set designs for a film produced by Kalaipuli S Thanu and also landed him the opportunity to work in the art direction team for Parthiban’s Iravin Nizhal.

“My art is what I am known for. That’s the name I made for myself, with it comes respect. To many, art may seem intimidating or difficult which is why they don’t even try; which is why I am working extensively on my YouTube channel and post DIYs showing them anyone can do it,” he says.

Are you in Chennai? Then click here to get our newspaper at your doorstep!

Visit to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Next Story