Turning cars to cots: Meet the man making furniture from old automobiles

Himanshu and his team also conduct a moving art festival which features colourful automobile artwork and they were in Bengaluru and Visakhapatnam this year.
Turning cars to cots: Meet the man making furniture from old automobiles
Turning cars to cots: Meet the man making furniture from old automobiles

Ever wondered the fate of used cars in India? For car lovers who have a hard time letting go of their ageing beauties, selling your vehicles to a scrap parts dealer or secondhand shop can be hard. However, thanks to a Jaipur based car restorer, you can now make your car a part of your house by turning it into cosy yet quirky furniture.

The Cartist, a 5-year-old automobile art initiative based in Jaipur, has now begun converting car parts into tables and watches which they plan to sell. The team has so far converted a lovely Merc and a Nissan RD 280 engine into colourful furniture in the last year.

 “We turn 90% of the cars into usable furniture. The chassis into beds, the car doors into dining tables, the suspension arms into a centrepiece and the radiator assembly of the vehicle again into a showpiece. We have even turned the piston into watches and the engine and rear door assembly into tables,” Himanshu, founder of Cartist and the brain behind the unique venture, tells TNM.

Though not an artist himself, Himanshu was responsible for popularising automobile art in India, which he says did not have many takers in the country.

“My primary motive when I founder Cartist 5 years ago was to give young artists and designers a platform through automobiles. As I am a vintage car restorer myself, I wanted to collaborate in art with automobiles and make it a young artists' collective. This is how Cartist was born,” Himanshu recalls.

Cartist Yatra

Himanshu and the rest of his team, which includes designers, restorers and artists, have been touring different cities in the country to promote their work every year. In December 2018, they began their second Yatra and covered nearly 9000 kms and 10 cities all over India, including Bengaluru and Visakhapatnam in the south.

Once they reach these cities, they halt for a few days to showcase their artworks and even collaborate with local artists to create new auto art during the exhibition. 

“We traveled in 2 trucks, 8 cars, 1 support vehicle, 1 Innova, 1 tempo traveller. One of the trucks was converted to an artists' home to house the traveling artists. In Bengaluru, we collaborated with over 25 local artists to create new work. Our most exciting project included painting a 1964 Volkswagen Beatle and painting pictures of wood craft - which is Karnataka’s dying art work - and Jaipur dolls on it,” Himanshu adds.

In Visakhapatnam too, the team was joined by over 100 locals artists who created a dolphin using tyres and car parts on the RK Beach.

“The dolphin was later donated to the Visakhapatnam marine museum. We even painted an Innova car during the exhibition,” he says.

Today, as the Cartist finds ways to sustain itself due to a lack of funds, it has launched a line of auto furniture and Cartist merchandise for sale.

“We are looking to catch the eye of automobile manufacturers as our initiative is only about automobiles and art. Next year, we are planning a Yatra and will be ending it in the famous automobile expo which will take place in Delhi in the end of February,” Himanshu adds. The group is also eyeing an International Yatra either via the ASEAN route (newly opened) or the Road to London route.

“Eventually, Cartist should be a globally recognised brand which breaks barriers, includes local and traditional crafts and automobiles to create unique designs," says Himanshu.

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