From Pratik Sharma’s sea-facing studio on the 16th floor at Hughes Road, the cars below look like miniscule remote controlled toys. But, for the artist these are more than just vehicles. “For me, cars are living entities. They are characters with a mind of their own, who simply love attention. The more you take care of them, the longer they live,” he says with much earnestness. Sharma will bring these cars to life on his canvas at his upcoming solo show, Motorscapes that opens tomorrow at Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda.
Sharma at his Hughes Road studio. Pic/Onkar Devlekar
The 28-year-old’s automobile paintings that line the walls of his spacious room, are in direct contrast with his father artist Charan Sharma’s Buddha artworks that hang on the adjacent wall. Using pen and ink to draw the automobiles, Sharma chooses to fill the background with contrasting colours of blue, mustard and red to give the paintings a vibrant feel. “I chose to keep the sketches black and white because it opens a window for interaction between the viewer and the canvas. He can choose to fill it with the colours he/she wants,” says Sharma, who is an alumuni of the Raffles Designing Institute in Singapore.
Pratik Sharma’s artwork
Pointing out to a painting of an old Chevrolet classic, he says, “Here, I’ve concentrated on the frontal features of the car to give it a ‘face’. The focus is on the heated bonet to show that is an old, experienced car that has run miles and is now in its sunset years.” The forms range from comic vintage ones to swanky, edgy automobiles that appeal to the Gen X. “I still love the classics,” he smiles.
Like most boys, Sharma grew up with an incorrigible love for cars. So much so, that as a child he could not sleep without a hot wheel in his hand, and if somebody would take it away from him, he would wake up. “Even today, I check updates and news on cars first thing in the morning, instead of newspapers,” he laughs. Being the son of celebrated artists, Nimisha and Charan Sharma, painting came to him naturally. Infact, his first exhibition was held outside Jehangir Art gallery as 7-year-old. “I sold the paintings in exchange for ice-creams,” he fondly recollects.
While his parents dabble in artworks that are rooted in India’s past like the traditional paintings of Krishna and ruins of Rajasthani havelis, the 28-year-old feels no sense of connection with those themes. “I wanted to create my own path that was unique. The only elements I have imbibed is my mother’s energy and my dad’s discipline,” says Sharma. For now, he is in a phase of experimenting, which is evident from his sketches of bikes on canvas. “I find that bikes are feminine. I’m still in the process of discovering them.”
Where: Jehangir Art Gallery, 161 Kala Ghoda
When: Till Feb 28, 11 AM – 7 PM