Cartist art festival brings car artists and automobile enthusiasts together on a single platform.
Cars are not just about the blend of technologies and design, but about passion and culture as well. Car art has been a form of artefacts that garnered pretty much attention around the world. However, despite being popular, it is still not considered as a mainstream art form.
The car art across the world has been heavily influenced by the 1960’s counterculture movement, popularly known as hippie culture. We all probably have seen images of those vividly coloured, painted Volkswagen Type 2 or Kombi, which used to be the living room on wheels for the members of the counterculture.
Not only that. rickshaw art has been a very popular art form involving automobiles, including rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, trucks and buses in the South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. A form of neo-romanticism, it consists of oil paintings on the exterior of the vehicles, painted by local street artists. The paintings often come in form of landscapes, portraits or personal statements of the driver.
The Cartist Art Festival is one platform that has been working to bring art, automobiles and artists under one umbrella since 2015. This unique platform unites artists and automobile enthusiasts through car art.
Himanshu Jangid is one person who is at the helm of this festival. Autofintechs spoke to him during the recently concluded 2020 edition of the festival to learn more about the community, its goal and more about car arts.
Edited excerpts below.
Q. Car art across the world has been heavily influenced by the 1960’s counterculture movement. Is that the source of Indian car art as well? Can you shed some light on the origin of Indian car art?
India has a rich heritage of automobile, which was imported by Maharajas before independence. After independence, it took only a few players to produce cars in India. It was only after liberalisations in 1992, Indian middle class started to adopt cars as a transport medium in India. So we are quite new to the automobile itself in India.
Coming to Indian car art, a few artists like MF Hussian, Subodh Gupta, Jitesh Kallat and others have used cars to express themselves. But Cartist has given artists a new canvas and vision to create Indian Automobile Art World.
Q. Despite being an interesting form of art across the globe, car art has never been recognised as a mainstream art form. What’s your take on that?
Car Industry across the globe has taken the advantage of artists to promote their car sales, not to promote art through cars. But we at Cartist are trying to build a culture where we have artists and designers come together to build something unique for the next generation to cherish, along with sustainable solutions.
Q. Do you think car art can somehow promote lost or endangered Indian art forms?
India was rich in art and culture. The Maharajas of India have always promoted artists, architects, designers and other creative people so we have a rich heritage of Indian arts. Today, Maharajas are corporates, it is their responsibility to help and promote Indian art and we believe cars can be one medium to promote and showcase Indian art.
Q. ‘Rickshaw art’ has been very popular in the sub-continent, especially in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Despite being the biggest country in the region, India still shies away from this. What’s your take?
I would not say we don’t shine as we have a rich truck art culture, we have different regions with different art forms on trucks as well autorickshaw driver also in a small way contribute to the art of India but still, hard work is needed to reach a stage where we receive the recognition we deserve.
Q. What brought you to car art?
I come from a middle-class family. I was never shown art or museums in my young age but restoring cars gave me the advantage to see art in palaces, corporate houses and walls of collectors. I fell in love at first sight. Since then, I started collecting art from young artists of India and then in 2015 we started Cartist to support artists. Now, it is a movement to build a culture for automobile art in India.
Q. What’s the goal of Cartist Festival?
To bring together automobile and art communities in India at one platform, with a special emphasis to promote the culture of art among youth.
- Share learnings from the art and automobile community on the value of art and especially in these trying times amid pandemic.
- Highlight emerging trends in the area of art and automobiles through plenary sessions by renowned industry leaders.
- Build skills of youth on a range of art projects, through organizing a set of workshops and learning sessions.
- Provide an opportunity for young artists to connect with a wider audience and showcase their work on automobile art at the virtual festival.
Q. In several movies, we have seen art cars. Your top 5 choices among them.
- Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
- Pink Cadillac
- The Love Bug
- Fast and Furious
- Ford vs Ferrari