Uncovering masks through the eyes of witness

Uncovering masks through the eyes of witness

An artist drawing a portrait of a ‘wanted criminal’ is a most common scene in most of the crime series. Most of the time, the portrait matches with the culprit perfectly.

However, in reality, drawing a person's face based on description narrated by a witness, has its own challenges.

Realist artist K Laxminarayan, who sketches pictures of wanted criminals for police department, reveals the difficulties of sketching a person based on description to Deccan Herald.

"I used to feel very funny, when I used to watch crime series. I used to wonder, if such art is possible in reality, until I got an opportunity to work with the cops, around two years ago. From then, I have sketched portraits of five wanted culprits," says Laxminarayan.

A realist artist and an expert in spot portraits, Laxminarayan was contacted by the police department to sketch the portrait of a culprit.

"I was hesitant, but I decided to give it a try. The witness started describing the person and I drew accordingly. Finally, the witness said that my sketch looks like the culprit. A few days later, the cops informed that the culprit is caught, and appreciated the culprit’s resemblance to my artwork. However, I appreciated the memory of the witness, as remembering and describing a person's face is not an easy task," he said.

Most of the times, the person who describes is confused. He can give vague features but cannot point out fine details. In one such case, a person described the features of a chain snatcher, and I ended up drawing my own portrait.

"The witness had described me," laughs Laxminarayan."My portrait may be 40 per cent accurate to the actual person. I can draw anything but the witness is the key to my portrait. If he describes wrong, the portrait may change. Most of times, I fear that an innocent person may fall in trouble, due to my sketch. Hence, I ensure that I tell the cops every time, that my work is not accurate," he adds.

10,000 portraits

Laxminarayan's interest in spot portraits started right from his college days. "Most of the people, love to see their own sketches and I love making people happy,” he said.
In one art expo, many people asked me to do their portraits. They appreciated my work and that  acted as a motivator. I have also put spot portrait stalls in Karavali Utsav and also in Bharath Mall.

“I have sketched over 10,000 portraits and it roughly takes me 10 minutes to complete a portrait,” reveals Laxminarayan who adds that his experience in drawing portraits makes it easy for him to draw from description.

Artist family

“We hail from a goldsmith family, and I can say that art runs in our blood,” said Laxminarayan. The artist’s father K Chandraiah, and his two brothers K Ganesh and K Prakash are full time artists.

Professionally, I work as a medical artist for KMC hospital. I have to sketch different diagrams of anatomy, physiology, microbiology and others. My father retired as a medical artist from Fr Mullers. My brothers also work as medical artists in reputed medical colleges.

My father is my true inspiration, who motivated me to take up art. I have been working as an artist for the last 23 years, he said.

Realist artist

“I am fascinated with realism and I try to reflect reality in my artworks. I do many realistic paintings, cartoons apart from portraits. I am happy with my profession. Art gives me my daily bread and has brought me fame,” he concludes.

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