Sticking Wealth To Waste: Story of Vyga’s Ottusootharam

What if we never had any scrap? What if we could make use of all that we throw as waste somehow? Does it sound impossible? Well, maybe not for you, but for Vyga, all those unused or thrown away scrap are an addition to her treasure trove.

In a light-hearted conversation with Anagha Prasanth, for the #VoLocal Campaign by the News Aur Chai Media, Ms Vyga Viswanathan, the young scrap artist, talks about her journey.

Born in the Thiruvananthapuram district, the capital of the God’s Own Country- Kerala, Ms Vyga is now based in Kochi. After completing her diploma in Fashion Designing, which she chose purely based on her liking, Vyga took the first job opportunity offered. It was a part-time job as a voice-over artist for a Kochi based company–C-Ima Studio, which was a turning point in her career.

As she was looking for a full-time job and further growth in her career, she switched to various companies. However, her aim to improve and fly higher was always pushing her to give the best even when she took up freelance work. Ms Vyga has made her presence in almost all media fields such as Voice-over, Anchoring, Scriptwriting, Content Creation, Vlogging, and even worked as an RJ for a US-based Radio Station.

She even had here very own unique YouTube channel know as Vyga’s ThalluVandi, a platform she expressed her thoughts and ideas.

Despite her talent, no good opportunities came her way, and gradually she started struggling with her finance. When asked about those days, she says with a smile, “Yes, 2020 is the worst year for all, but for me personally 2018 and 2019 were my years of struggle. Everyone appreciated me, supported me concerning my work, but I was not getting a breakthrough. Like, I was continually getting rejected at the last stage of the interviews in many big media firms stating various trivial reasons. It was like I was being pushed down from the mountain of hope they build up initially.”

“I was in a helpless stage; even some of my friends turned their back on me, when asked for help. It was like a total emotional draining phase. Life seemed to come at a stand-still for me.”

Personal problems, along with her career struggle, made her anxious about her future. “I literally walked into depression. I had heard from people before about depression, but understood the intensity when I had to go through it. It was terrible; there were days when I wanted to give up my life,” she said.

Nonetheless, she was a fighter and never let her guard down and was always hoping that she would come out of all these mess one day.

“Though people appreciated me, but lack of opportunity made it difficult for me to continue my life. That is when I decided to look for a job abroad; it was a time when I was basically ready to take up any work that came my way, and it was then I met Mr Surej Sherif, a businessman based in Kochi. He was kind enough to listen to my story; While talking, I mentioned about my craftwork, he suggested that for the time being, I should add my then unpolished scrap art to the list of professions I already was working,” she said.

However, due to some reason, she could not travel abroad for a job, which added to her struggle.

To kill her time and earn something, she started watching all the available YouTube videos regarding scrap art to get an idea about how to work on bottles and give her bottle art the perfection it lacked.

When asked why she doesn’t draw or paint on bottles, like all other artists, she said: “It’s not that I don’t want to draw, but somewhere around the age of 16, I accidentally was electrocuted, because of which whenever I try to hold pen or pencil or try to draw my hands starts shivering. Also, I never wanted to do the usual when it comes to bottle art; It was the thought of doing something different that ended me with the idea of scrap art.”

She further continues: “Whenever and wherever I go, I started collecting scrap, basically from the roadside. Anything and everything that came across me was put into use some or the other way. I collected, use these scrap items in my work; around 99% of items are made from the scrap collected. Initially, it was a one-man show, where I only collected all the scrap and worked with it. Now people who know me and appreciate my work do collect and bring things to me.”

The creative craftwork that Vyga makes with scrap materials will perplex anyone. The arrangements in her crafts are brilliant; She named her craftwork as Vyga’s “Ottu Soothram,” which in the native language, means Sticky Technique. She even went to the extent of keeping a tagline “art from scrap,” which depicts her work.

Initially, she did her promotion through Facebook and Instagram pages, wherein she received much appreciation for her work. However, she was not getting enough reach and inquiries.

“For almost a year after starting this scrap art, I didn’t receive much inquires.” She further facetiously said: “Pandemic was actually boon to me, I must say; as people were locked inside their home, the fast pace of life just slow down, the online footprint increased, and that is when people started noticing my page. The only problem I had to face was the availability of colours, as I have to place an order to get it.”

“Now, I do get some order and inquiries; I would say after bouncing back to life, I’m in my initial stage of earning, and solving some of my problems. Moreover, this work gives me relaxation, mental peace, and satisfaction.”

Though she says friends and family support a lot, her biggest supporter is her paternal uncle–Mr. Vikraman, who, after seeing her work encouraged and even helped her collect scrap.

When asked about where she gets the idea and her plans, she said: “People have never approached me suggesting what I should do with a given work, rather it was always asking me to do something similar to what I have done. About my plans, I want this craftwork to be turned into a brand right now, and my personal goal is to be an art director; however, I would also like to continue my previous professions and want to be like the saying–Jack of all trades, master of none.”

“It was never a cakewalk for me. I worked in various fields and added them to my list of professions; I never left one profession and went behind another. It was merely hard work that made me reach where I’m now.”

She concludes by saying, “never give up on yourself, there is always a way if you work hard, and believe in yourself.”

Check out her Instagram and Facebook page.

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