Story behind the art : The groovy rickshaw

11:45 AM


the story behind the most iconic Home Cyn Home design

This week on "Story behind the Art" I am going to let you in on how the most iconic Home Cyn Home design came to be : 

The Groovy Rickshaw

If there is one artwork that is to be associate with the brand it's this one. It has had many avatars and versions, and it is one of my absolute best sellers. Yet, you'd never believe how small and mundane the reason it came to be is. 

I live in Mumbai, and rickshaws are my prime mode of transportation. I don't drive, I don't plan on driving, be it a two wheeler or a car because I get road rage and traffic in Mumbai would push me over the edge. 
I am the type that is perfectly content and happy to be seated in the back of a rickshaw (aka Auto) or a taxi, so I have been commuting with them for as long as I've been in India (2003 for those not knowing it already). 

One day, circa 2018 when having a life outside the home was still a thing, I got stuck into a particularly big traffic jam on my way to run errands and meet a bunch of ladies for lunch. Traffic jams are quite common in Mumbai, but that one was particularly bad, and I was seated in my rickshaw, lost in a sea of other black and yellow ricks being submitted to a cacophony of honking and inhaling a lot of dust and fumes. 
That day I suddenly decided that traffic jams would be a lot more fun if there was more colors to look at, and imagined a sea of pink rickshaws. I realised immediately that it was going to be something fun to paint later on, so I made a note on my phone about it not to forget. 

A few days later I started painting it : 

I used a watercolor set from Prima marketing (affiliate link)which I love and use for most of my watercolor painting to paint it. Back then it was still new and the "reef", "sunset" and "pinapple" tones were the one I was the most attracted to (still am). 

The pink rickshaw idea evolve a bit as I was painting it, because doing it all pink with my watercolor set would have been quite overbearing so I contrasted the pink and purple roof with a bright deep yellow body. 
I added the leaves you see in the full design on the mousepad in the first picture but the beauty of editing things in Photoshop later means I have created several versions of that illustration both with and without the leaves so that I could sell it on different products. 
The "non-leafy" version of it first became a pattern which has enjoyed the same popularity as the full design : 

This pattern which is featured on a Redbubble floor pillow in the picture above is in fact the first one I noticed to be stolen from me and sold illegally on Amazon US. While I managed to get that bogus listing taken down, I realised last year that all of my rickshaw design, no matter which variant is being sold on Wish by a lot of different vendors and on many products, if I were to attempt to get them all down, which with Wish is quite impossible, it would take me days to hunt them all down. 

It's how popular that traffic jam inspired illustration became people! 

I have since then made several different color variation of the art work as well, last year I played with the gradient tool in Photoshop to get the ultimate pink rickshaw : 

This cute pink version is probably a lot closer to what I first pictured in my mind when I was stuck in the mother of all traffic jams in my neighbourhood, but it hasn't yet been as popular as the original one, probably because it is too pink, which greatly limit the audience it might appeal to. Featured above is the Redbubble bath mat

My rickshaw design have had several avatars, I even designed and sold it as a to-do list notepad in my Etsy store for a while, which was before the pandemic made shipping physical product a pain in the butt. 

A lot of my artwork is inspired by almost insignificant aspect of my daily life but this one is really the one that has stroke a chord with many and enjoyed the most popularity, and it all came from me being bored in a very monochrome traffic jam of all things. This all goes to say that an idea can really strike you at anytime and you need to be ready to catch them when they come. 

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