Q: Can you fill us in on a few biographical details about yourself?

A: My name is Ian Cook & I was born in 1983 in Birmingham. I have a First Degree in Fine Art Painting from the Winchester School of Art, graduating in 2004 and I am now a resident artist at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire.

Q: What was it that inspired you to start painting with radio-controlled cars?

A: I have always been an artist and always been a car enthusiast, in 2006 I was bought a radio-controlled 'Lightning McQueen' car as a Christmas present, and was told “not to take it down my studio, and not to get paint on it” - so I listened to a bit of that conversation.

From university my artwork was always about cars and using toys as a theme, whether this was with to paint with or use as a subject. I once built a sculpture entirely out of cutting up toy cars.

Q: Can you explain the process of painting with cars; is it simply the case of dipping them in the paint and seeing what happens?

A: The process can look quite simple and can be explained easily; the paint is applied to the paper and then the cars are run through the paint.

Prior to any painting being created there is a great deal of preparation in choosing the correct image (even with car companies, some images won’t look good) and then there is also the timing, if an artwork is done at the wrong time.

Artworks are created to appeal to the audience who are likely to be at the event, whether this be WRC, BTCC, WTCC or F1.

When I first started they were done because I liked certain cars, now they are done commercially so prints/.reproductions and merchandise can be produced.


Q: When did you get your 'big break'?

A: In the scale of things it’s all happened quite quickly; the ‘big break’ was probably more of lots of little things that meant that bigger things happened - a bit like climbing the rings of a ladder.

The first artworks were created in a Wolverhampton shopping centre, this meant people saw me creating, which led to local media and then on to national media coverage.

Following this I approached the Heritage Motor Centre, to attend a Land Rover event. From doing this I then approached other events to create as a feature and an idea was born.

Following Goodwood Festival of Speed 2008, I painted a portrait of Lewis Hamilton which was seen by a guy who worked for M&C Saatchi; they got in touch a few weeks later...

I was commissioned to create a giant portrait of Lewis for Reebok, which was the size of a three storey building and hung next to Tower Bridge in the run up to the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.