Until October 28
Project Contemporary Artspace, Wollongong
Many people would put a red Ford Mustang or a powder-blue MG at the top of their list of dream cars.
But not artist and car lover Shaunak Mukerji. Though these two vehicles have been brought in to decorate the gallery the 23-year-old’s car-centric exhibition – Shaunak’s World – is displayed in, he still prefers Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores and refuses to depict any car built before 1980 in his artworks.
The exhibition features digital paintings of cars Mukerji’s family and friends have owned, as well as ones he has seen on the street and found interesting, created using a paint program on his laptop.
Mukerji, who has autism, was born in Delhi but raised in Wollongong and attended Edmund Rice College.
He has been playing with digital painting for the past eight years, but only wants to do art as a hobby – he would prefer to pursue a career as a history teacher.
He paints the body and interior of cars in close detail, though he often changes the colours to more vibrant yellows and blues and says he often completes two pieces a day, each taking him about 10 or 15 minutes.
With a lightning-fast memory, Mukerji can tell you the year and model of every car he has painted, as well as how the features of each car have changed over the years.
‘‘It was all square shaped in the ’90s, but in 2001 it became more round shaped,’’ he says.
‘‘I prefer the square shape.’’
Many of his works also include a date or year as part of the painting, though it is not always clear what it stands for.
Mukerji says that some refer to what year the car was sold, though this doesn’t hold true for every artwork, making their inclusion a mystery to everyone but him.
Curating the show was a marathon task for Deirdre Arthur Armstrong – who also put together an exhibition for the artist’s 21st birthday – and Nicole Halls, because of the sheer number of digital paintings Mukerji has created over the years.
Halls says Mukerji rarely erases any of the lines or colours he adds to the image, so sure is his memory of the original object’s looks.
‘‘I like that you can see his thought process, that you can see every line, that he says he changes the colours of the cars just to spruce it up,’’ she says.
While the exhibition focuses mainly on vehicles, there are also many paintings of cities and architecture from around the world, a topic Mukerji was fascinated by before turning to cars.
Based on memory and images he has sourced from the web, these include the Beijing Olympic Stadium, the Colosseum and the New York City skyline.
Also featured in the exhibition are several car-inspired pieces by Thirroul-based artist Tanya Stubbles.