What is it that makes Rahul P. R. brush off the usual track and trace his passion for cars and motorcycles into art? It cannot be something in the genes for no one in his family (his father is a farmer and mother a homemaker) ever showed any inclination for colours or design. This Plus One student of Mar Kauma Higher Secondary School, Vengoor (near Perumbavoor) has been sketching cars and bikes from the time he was in Class Five. And interestingly this passion has grown with him.

Transportation art

Rahul, instead of being drawn towards the regular flowers, mountains and pretty homes, has been singularly focussed on what is popular today as “Transportation Art”.

Rahul’s art teacher in school, Prakash T. Paul, was the first to notice this talent and encourage him to pursue it. All his drawings, and he has more than a hundred of them now, are on ‘chart’ paper using watercolour, pen and sketch pens. His subjects are high-end, futuristic cars and modified bikes. “A huge part of my drawings, say more than 90 per cent, are my own designs. They are cars and bikes from my imagination. I have named them as new models of existing high-end brands. They are my dream machines,” says Rahul, who needs to be prodded to talk.

Out there in the vast world of art there are quite a lot of artists who specialise in transportation art. In fact, for a long time it was not considered good enough to be included in the realm of fine art. But things have changed and now this genre has found wide acceptance the world over.

Rahul is not really aware about this now popular art genre. “I’m not aware of this. My sources of information about new machines are television channels and magazines dedicated to cars and motorcycles. I’m inspired by some of the new models and I try to give them a futuristic, imaginative look.”

Most of the transportation artists are not just passionate about their art, but are also crazy about cars and bikes. Rahul is no exception. “I don’t know from when but I was always fascinated by cars and bikes. I used to have small toy models, but the moment I got them I used to open them. I can identify different models on road and try to keep myself abreast of the innovations going on in the industry.”

The sleek lines, precise proportions, the powerful look are some aspects that attract Rahul. The colours do not matter much and his drawings show that. He does not bother to give his ‘models’ rich colours and shine. Most of his cars are red, yellow and black. Some of the elements are exaggerated, so too are some of the names he has chosen.

Rahul’s cars have names and detailed captions. A mini SUV comes with 4 WD (wheel drive) features, a Nissan hatchback is named Juke and he has a Chrysler personal concept model. But Rahul has a predilection for bikes. “Maybe this is so because I ride a bike. Also while I have seen some amazing modified bikes, even sat on one, I have not seen any of these swanky cars on road.”

By now Rahul has exhibited his art in four schools in his neighbourhood. It has been a few years that he has been immersed in this art. But there is a creeping monotone to this works; the same black border and the machines on a pale white background. There is need for the artist to evolve. Transportation art places imaginative designs in exciting backdrops with bright colours and intricate detailing. Rahul needs to incorporate some of these elements and more into his art. “All this time, the only training I got was from my art teacher in school. I have now enrolled in an art school (Minerva School of Arts) and my dream is to graduate in the fine arts. Right now I’m working on different subjects, but cars and bikes will remain my priority. I have now moved on to draw heavy vehicles, like trucks. Yes, I will take further steps ahead to improve my art.”

Rahul’s cars and bikes are his own interpretations. They are products of his fancy, of childhood situations, visions, dreams; designs born in his mind, transferred in colour on to humble paper.