Shankar Silaparasetty is an artist who uses eggs to showcase his creativity
In the early 2000s, Shankar Silaparasetty was a fitness coach. Little did he know that one day he’d be using eggs (that he recommended to his clients) to make art! He uses egg shells for his works of art. From Gautam Buddha to Spider-Man, he has rendered them all.
Thirty-seven-year-old Shankar comes from a family of artists and sculptors. His Dad was his guru.
He uses eggs of chicken, duck and emu as his canvas. Explaining the elaborate process of using egg shells in his art, he says, “The first step is to make a hole at the top and bottom of the egg using a pin. Then blow from one end to push the yolk out. Rinse the egg and when it is dry I use a pencil to draw on it which I later carve out with a drill.” It is a long process, admits Shankar. For instance, the model of city’s first steam engine took him almost two years to complete. This has taught him patience he laughs.
Eggs over the bread
He has made egg replicas of the cricket world cup trophy of 2011, the housefly from the Telugu film Eega in 2012 and a naval ship during the International Fleet Review 2016.
The most common request he gets is to make mementoes for birthdays and anniversaries. Since he started he has sold over 200 customised eggshells. “Artists like me don’t have a fixed source of income,” he shares. He charges depending on how much time his art work takes up. Recently, he sold an eggshell with the face of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar from Art Living for ₹18,000. It took eight months to complete that. However, there are times when he is tight on money since eggshell art is not mainstream. All his work is stored at a friend’s apartment, which he uses as a studio.
“I’m humbled by the support I’ve received from my friends and the media. I have met so many people who I would otherwise not have met, he says. In 2016, during International Fleet Review (IFR) he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the IFR Village.
Now and then
Shankar feels an interest in art is growing in Visakhapatnam. Today there is more demand for art workshops and art teachers in schools. According to him, access to the internet has been a game changer. He says, “Artists longer have to carry around a portfolio trying to sell their work. Social media is doing it for them and their portfolio is available to so many at the click of a button.”
He found the World Egg Artists Association on facebook which has helped him connect with more than 300 such artists across the world.
He fondly recalls his the first time he displayed his egg art. “Sometimes fate holds the key to your destiny. But fate never works in isolation. That exhibition put me on the map,” says Shankar.
He says, “There isn’t anything that I can’t make using eggshells. But I have little incentive for it.” Only a small section can afford his work. But the art form cannot do without appreciation from the masses. May be making eco-friendly jewellery with it may help, he feels. It will also generate employment, he says.
Shankar dreams to build an egg-shaped museum and set-up an art institute in the city, “I’ve made the blueprint of the museum and sent it to the State and Central government. But there hasn’t been any breakthrough.” He wants Visakhapatnam to be first the city to display egg artwork from different parts of the world in a massive scale. “Did you know some artists work on lizard eggs? Along with legitimising egg art, the museum will also be source information on different species of eggs,” he adds.