Making a big mark in the world through his small sized wonders, Dr Venkatesh Gattam of Vizag wows with his miniature art and carves his masterpieces on pencil lead, chalk pieces, bangles, matchsticks, and even toothpicks.
After his 10th board exams, what started off as a hobby turned into a passion, with his parents lending him full support. Using a surgical blade and needle, Dr Gattam has created a chessboard, buildings, ships and carved names on pencil lead tips. At the age of 19, he became a Guinness Book of World Records holder, an honour he received for intricately carving the Empire State Building on a toothpick in 21 minutes.
Art has always been his passion. As a young lad, he spent his time watching traditional sculptors at work. He would enjoy watching the skilled artisans shaping blocks of wood into beautiful works of art. His interest took off as a serious skill after he playfully created a motif of Lord Ganesh with broken bangle pieces. This was just after his tenth grade. Impressed with his imagination and skill, his parents encouraged him to pursue this talent. “My father is a farmer and my mother a homemaker, but they have always encouraged me and my art,” says Venkatesh.
From broken bangles, he began experimenting with various other mediums. Eventually, he learned that many of his works of art came under the category of miniature art. Spurred by the fact that it was a recognised work of art, he proved his prowess by coming up with more complex art exhibits. His work did not go unnoticed as he has over 100 awards and accolades to his credit.
A student of architecture from GITAM in Vizag, Venkatesh was conferred with an honorary doctorate in the field of Fine Arts from the International Peace University in Germany. He also was invited to meet the then Hon’ble President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. He received the Ugadi Puraskar in 2018, from the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu. Additionally, Venkatesh is also the holder of the Guinness World Records title in 2017 and Limca Book of Records title in 2016.
Taking it forward
Coming from a rural background, Venkatesh has taken upon himself to introduce art, and its various forms, to government school students. Keen to share his knowledge, Venkatesh spends all his free time teaching his art to interested students in government schools as a part of art awareness camps. Through his classes and art camp which he organises in regular intervals has helped about 10,000 students till now. His aim is to bring awareness about art and encourage young students with raw talent.
Venkatesh believes that art knows no bounds. And we at Yo! Vizag are appreciative of his art and his initiatives in exposing young children from rural backgrounds to the fascinating world of art.