Palli Chiranjeevi is no ordinary artist. To view his work and his canvas, one would need a magnifying glass.
With a paintbrush and watercolours, the 26-year-old from Andhra has been painting portraits and landscapes for the past eight years, using rice grains as a canvas, and is slowly gaining popularity.
(An image to scale)
"When I was in school, I always had an interest in art and I used to try and fit as many letters as I could, on a rice grain. I kept doing it as a hobby and one point, I was able to write around 150 letters," says Chiranjeevi.
(Art on a tamarind seed)
He adds that his friends and his well-wishers encouraged him to try and refine his skill, which prompted him to move on to portraits and landscapes.
"I had to practice for a year. I hold the rice grain in my hand only and don't use any special equipment. Only viewing my painting takes a magnifying glass," Chiranjeevi says.
Born and brought up in Tirumala, Chiranjeevi also uses tamarind seeds and sapota seeds for his art and presently makes a living with his stall at Tirumala, where he writes the names of pilgrims that visit the holy shrine.
Chiranjeevi's art is usually theme-based and he has sketched portraits for many causes. He has even sketched portraits of Andhra's new logo and of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the occasion of Amaravati's foundation stone laying ceremony.
"I am now able to frequently hold gallery exhibitions and I love that people of all generations come and enjoy the artwork. The fact that art has no barriers, is what makes it special for me," he says.
(A child looking at Chiranjeevi's art through a magnifying glass)
When asked about his future plans, he says "I want to take my art national and do something big. Maybe, I'll hold an exhibition in other parts of the country as well. I also plan to do something for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Digital India campaigns."