Sunday, February 16, 2014

Trucking love

A vehicle sold as a chassis only from its manufacturer,  then custom built in numerous small and big workshops is a unique feature of the truck building industry in the Indian subcontinent. A  brightly coloured, desi truck bearing quirky messages and signature motifs speaks of the driver/owner personality and above all the love that goes into making it a spectacle of form over mere function. So when a dear friend contacted me with the idea of surprising his soon to be wed buddy with a custom 
made gift for his big day, I had to look no farther than a local truck building yard.

Here it is then, a true labor of love in more ways than one. The Truck Trunk!

Before starting the project I made a trek to a truck building yard in Masji Bunder, Mumbai.  To understand how a truck is a labor of love, one merely has to see crafts men spend days on an end building truck bodies and customizing them for their owners.   A well finished  vehicle has its  owner/ driver's personality all over it and unashamedly. For such a predominantly masculine profession and the ruggedness of a truckers life, the style of painting is surprisingly cheery, colourful and irreverent.

What better gift could there be for a biker? One that speaks of his affinity for the road and all things highway.. ? His black enfield bike called 'dug-dug' and his dreams of a biking trip to Ladhak for a honeymoon?!

Hence the Love Carrier .  Together with all the cheesy delight of the highway, bright kitschy colors, saying and one liners typical subcontinental verve and expressiveness.

The best trucks in the region come out of Pakistan. Meticulously detailed and painted in vibrant kitschy colors of the, these trucks and busses have plyed the Karakoram highway for long.   My own little truck trunk draws a lot from the tradition.

Not going too much into the details of the design history of the art form, it was easy for me to see in this small workshop in Mumbai that things are changing rapidly. A lot of the details that would be hand painted onto trucks in the past are being replaced by plastic sticker sinage. Most workshops prioritise delivering functional bodies over  individual custom finishes.  Above all , the master painters' are dwindling in numbers.

Painting this little truck trunk with  inputs and suggestions from the master painter Issar bhai has been a fantastic learning for me. Of course a detailed post about the workshop and its going ons is due.
It is a project borne out of love  and very fittingly tells a love story of sorts too! And since Feb 14th  just went past,  Belated Valentine's day folks!!!

detail of  road signs and graphics inside the box.

Detail of  a hand made  heart  tassel 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Home is where the inspiration is.

Announcing the winner of the giveaway posted early last month.  Canada based architect and entrepreneur, Liza Skaria's answer  bags her  this limited edition print signed in verso :

A detail of make shift , plastic and canvas tents that house pilgrims at Kumbh city, Allahabad.

On the subject of homes and what they mean to us,  a couple of conversations I have had with friends and readers recently brings me to today's  post..

In which what one surrounds oneself with finds organic and subconscious expression in what one does sometimes.
Its going to be a series of quick collages I posted to a secret Pinterest board recently.  One that a fellow blogger friend the inimitable Archana Srinivas of Rang Decor encouraged me to put together. Archana needs no introduction, but this much has to said, she is a major motivation for mine among a score of other blogs like ours . Read her lovely blog here.

That my  home is an expression of what drives me internally is something I  knew intuitively.  But to realise how much took this little exercise.. 

One morning for me, and an evening for Archana who currently building her nest in Minnesota, USA, many steaming cups of tea and a free wheeling chat about work inspiration and `style' prompted me to look into my work and  and inspirations.

With some thinking I juxtaposed work from the Photo+ series I launched last year against vignettes from my home and work, in collages and came to a realisation...

Like every book read, ever word written, every movie seen, every place traveled what you photograph, and what you curate as an environment around you has a say in who you are and what your inspirations will be. It matters what you say with your home..!

Have  shared the mood-boards I created for Archana with you via these hurriedly put together collages. Do leave me a word if this resonates with you at any level ( of agreement or disagreement both ) at all!


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin