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After Hours: Suresh Eriyat documents life as it happens

Many of us go through life in a daze but some among us stop, observe and take inspiration. Drawing inspiration from the seemingly mundane things that happen around him, Suresh Eriyat, Founder and Creative Director, Eeksaurus, is documenting life one day at a time

Roshni Nair | Mumbai | March 23, 2017

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(This is a weekly series on advertising professionals who have enriched their own lives and their audiences as performing musicians, artists, painters, actors, singers, mime artists. We will bring a new adman-performer every Thursday.)

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Suresh Eriyat Suresh Eriyat

Suresh Eriyat, Founder and Creative Director, Eeksaurus, admits that doodling has been his passion right from the very beginning.

"My uncle was an artist, even though I had never seen him draw anything in the house during my growing up years. But I think there was art in our genes. Even my two elder sisters took to painting and drawing. I think somewhere by seeing them I too got interested in arts."

Having been born and brought up in Kerala, Eriyat believes that God’s own country has provided a lot of creative fodder for him to work as an artist and someday wants to do a book on his hometown Tripunithura.

“Being brought up in Kerala, you get to see a lot of interesting visuals. My first subject was an elephant and then Hanuman. I really admire Hanuman as a character.”

Eriyat started maintaining a sketch book when he started studying at National Institute of Design (NID). The sketch book allowed him to hone his skills further but once out of college he only created art for work.

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“After 1997-98, I sketched only for work. I used to create storyboards at work but other than that I did not make any sketches. This all started in 2016 when one doctor told me that I was putting on too much weight and that I should start walking. I prefer to walk through general lanes than going to Jogger’s Park by car and doing rounds there. It is too monotonous for me to walk on a track.”

When Eriyat started taking his morning walks, he realised that there was a lot in the world that we missed in the hustle-bustle of daily life.

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“When you are in the car and going from office to home and vice-versa, you miss out on so many details. Walking on these random roads I came a little closer to reality. So once I started taking these walks, I would come back and draw what I saw. Slowly, your skill also becomes better and you start to enjoy what you are doing. That is really how the whole thing took off.”

Eriyat, who also uploads most of his sketches on his Facebook page with a brief write-up about the how the events transpired, says he got a lot of encouragement from people on the social media platform.

“Through Facebook I also found an audience that supported this thing very whole-heartedly. A lot of people told me that I must keep doing this and that I must publish a book. So, it was also good to get a feedback because I wasn’t putting my work anywhere else.”

Eriyat-5Much of Eriyat’s work is slice of life featuring everyone from his yoga teacher to his pet dog Doofy to random strangers he happens to come across in life.

“This has added spice to things in my life. Mundane things have become much more interesting. You encounter so many interesting people on a daily basis, this sort of adds a little more flavour to those events and the people who you meet.”

Eriyat has filled four to five sketch books in just one year.

Eriyat-4“I carry water brushes with me all the time so that I don’t have to wait till I get back home to paint my sketches. I always thought it was very cumbersome to carry brushes and paints so these water brushes are very handy and made it pretty easy for me. But I think the flip side is that you tend to take too much time doing this. Sometimes it happens that I have a meeting or some work and I get absorbed in drawing and it gets pretty annoying for people.”

Apart from being an observer, Eriyat often puts himself in his art as well. How did that happen?

“I think it is important to translate what I was going through at that particular time and I think it adds to the whole humour of the plot.”

Eriyat also sees his doodles and sketches as a documentation.

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“I think this is a good way to memorise days, places and events and immortalise them. When you flip through these old sketch books you can remember those times and sort of relive them. It is actually more like keeping a diary.”

Giving the example of his parents coming to visit him and losing their way in T2 (a terminal at the Mumbai International Airport), Eriyat says the discussions that some his posts give way to is something he would really like to save.

“Both my parents were coming to visit me. My father can manage travelling on his own quite well. But when T2 was built and my parents arrived there, it was the first time that he came and told me he might not be able to make these journeys alone. T2 was so huge that my parents couldn’t navigate their way around. I posted something on that and a lot of people liked it and could relate to it. So, the discussions that happen around some of these posts of mine are things I think I should save up on.”

Eriyat believes that his passion is also having an impact on how he does his work too.

“This is definitely reflecting in my work, you get a wider view of your work. Otherwise, you are so close to your work, now you have this other space to see it from. You don’t have to be married to your work, it helps to bring in a lot of objectivity. Earlier, it was very difficult for me to detach so much from my work but now I have another area which gives me enough entertainment and space. This distances me from my daily work and so my perspective when I come back to work is very fresh.”

So, what does doodling really mean to him?

“To me it is a release of energy and it is putting things to record.”

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