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Sketching Smiles: The Caricature Journey of Sajjive Balakrishnan

Retired IRS officer Sajjive Balakrishnan's journey from numbers to sketches reflects his passion for caricature art, bringing smiles to faces worldwide. His knack for capturing the soul of his subjects in caricatures goes beyond physical resemblance, spreading joy and laughter wherever he travels.His artistic evolution and recognition, including a place in the Limca Book of Records, inspire others to follow their passions and embrace creativity in unconventional ways.
Indian Masterminds Stories

In a world often defined by routines and responsibilities, some individuals defy convention to pursue their passions. One such inspiring figure is Sajjive Balakrishnan, a retired IRS officer whose love for art, particularly caricature drawing, has transformed his post-retirement life into a vibrant canvas. With an unwavering zeal, he travels far and wide, capturing the essence of common people through his whimsical caricatures, leaving an indelible mark wherever he goes.

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, the officer who retired as the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, Kochi, spoke about his artistic talent and how he brings happiness to people’s faces through his talent.

A JOURNEY BEYOND BOUNDARIES

Having served in the IRS for several decades, Mr. Balakrishnan’s career was marked by dedication and commitment to public service. His journey as a caricature artist commenced long before he retired from service. Despite the demands of his professional life, he harbored an innate passion for art, which he nourished through caricatures, that he has been drawing for the last 40 years!

However, his retirement ushered in a new chapter where his artistic aspirations took center stage. The transition from numbers and audits to sketches and caricatures reflects his multifaceted personality and creative spirit.

“Everywhere I go, I carry my iPad. Earlier, I used to draw on paper and pen, now I draw on my iPad as it is portable. I love drawing strangers that I meet on my journey and giving them away for free. It brings smiles on their faces and satisfies me immensely,” he shared.

DISCOVERING THE ART OF CARICATURE

Ever since he was a child, he used to paint motifs and doodles of leaders and famous personalities on the walls of his home. The walls of his house were full of art. His father appreciated his art immensely and enrolled him in a premiere cartoon institute in South India. He kept on practicing cartooning and soon got them published in periodicals. He also made children’s illustrated stories during that time.

Mr. Balakrishnan’s interest in caricature art blossomed with time. As he joined the IRS in 1988, he shifted from being a cartoonist to a caricature artist owing to the demands of his job and the restrictions on drawing controversial or political cartoons.

What started as a hobby soon evolved into a profound passion. He found joy and fulfillment in capturing the unique features and personalities of everyday people through his art. Whether at social gatherings, public events, or even during his travels, Mr. Balakrishnan carries his iPad, ready to immortalize moments in caricature form.

CAPTURING ESSENCE THROUGH ART

One of Mr. Balakrishnan’s remarkable abilities lies in his knack for capturing the essence of his subjects. His caricatures go beyond mere physical resemblance; they delve into the soul of the individuals he portrays.

Through exaggerated features and playful strokes, he brings out the humor, character, and quirks that define each person, creating lasting memories in the form of art.

“I love to go around, talk to people, draw them, and bring a smile or a little laugh to their faces. I have recently completed my Kerala tour and will soon go on a complete India tour and draw as many caricatures of people as possible. I also love interacting with students, showing them my work, and making them understand that one should go ahead and follow their hobby or passion as they will like it when they love what they do,” he told Indian Masterminds.

SPREADING JOY AND LAUGHTER

Wherever Mr. Balakrishnan goes, laughter and smiles follow as he sketches caricatures of those around him. From family members and friends to strangers he meets on his journeys, everyone becomes a potential muse for his art. The joy of seeing themselves portrayed in a humorous yet affectionate light adds a unique charm to his interactions and leaves a positive impact on those around him.

“I like to observe and talk to people. I understand their personalities and draw their caricatures. The thrilling part is that I won’t be seeing or meeting 95% of the people that I draw, again in my life. I am seeing them for the first and last time as I draw them, which makes it even more interesting,” shared the officer.

ARTISTIC EVOLUTION AND RECOGNITION

Over the years, Balakrishnan’s artistic style has evolved, reflecting his continuous growth and exploration in the world of caricature art. His dedication and talent have earned him recognition and appreciation from art enthusiasts and admirers of all ages.

The officer has been attending several caricature festivals for the last few years and holds the record of drawing 2400 caricatures in just 14 days! He also holds a place in the Limca Book of Records for completing 651 caricatures in under 12 hours!

“I never make fun of others through my caricatures but I enjoy self-lampooning. I have drawn hundreds of caricatures of myself and added humor to it.”

LEGACY OF CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION

Retired IRS officer Sajjive Balakrishnan’s journey as a passionate caricature artist exemplifies the beauty of following one’s creative calling beyond traditional career paths. Through his art, he not only captures the essence of common people but also spreads laughter, joy, and a sense of community wherever he goes. His story reminds us of the boundless possibilities that await when we embrace our passions and share them with the world.


Indian Masterminds Stories

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