Truck Art

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What do you normally expect a truck in North America to look like? Mostly white with the name and logo of the company they are owned by. The most colorful truck I have seen in America so far is the Jewel Osco truck that has the pictures of the produce on it. In contrast to American trucks, trucks in Pakistan are extremely fancy, very well decorated and painted with all the colors you can imagine. Its not like all trucks in Pakistan are fancy only the trucks that are used to transport crops and farming products are like that. The owners of these trucks are usually poor. Their monthly income is approximately $200 with which they have to feed the family and pay their bills but still manage to decorate their trucks. The pictures above show the differences between the appearances of the trucks in America and Pakistan.

Truck Art can fall into many categories; Street Art, Moving Art and Jingle art. I love street art, it is usually very colorful, funny and has a message from the artist that depicts his/her beliefs. Trucks are the best way for poor people to share their ideas and beliefs in Pakistan. It is like a social networking site. They just don’t randomly paint or decorate their trucks. Their trucks show their personal, political and religious view. They paint poetry for their wife, mom or even for public in general. The poetry sometimes is very funny. I used to purposely drive slow just to read the poetry on the trucks, it is so entertaining. They also paint pictures of their children, political leaders or favorite actors or actresses, holy Kabah and holy mosque etc.

This is a line from a poem written on a truck: “Haaran ahista bajain kaum so rahi hai”

Translation: Don’t honk, the nation is sleeping.

The owner of this truck was probably tired of the political instability and the reaction of the people towards the unfair treatment by some unfair leaders. This was intended to sound funy but it has a serious message for the people in Pakistan, which is wake up and fight for your rights. Some people could also take it as revolutionizing.

I chose “Truck Art” for three main reasons. The most important one is, I never let go a chance to show how wonderful Pakistan is and how creative the people are. Second, one thing that I really appreciate about art is the way people can express their feelings, views, thoughts, and beliefs using their own unique way. Third, I love street art, I enjoy seeing all these colorful vehicles and reading funny and sometimes inspirational quotes on them.

  • Should the drivers paint their trucks with such a low income? Would you consider it waste of money?
  • What do you feel about sharing your personal views that openly?
  • Do you think poetry on the Trucks or on street art in general could have revolutionizing affects on the population?

Mahnoor Cheema

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18 thoughts on “Truck Art

  1. I have never seen any trucks like this. In highschool I took automotive and we had a demonstration on car paints. Later tht year me and a friend took apart my car and painted art on to it. It wasn’t as complex though.

  2. The detail in the roof of that one truck is so intriguing. The mass amounts of detail makes me question how long did it take to get done and how long will they have the truck.

  3. It is hard to say weather you should or shouldn’t paint the trucks. The truck gives the driver a chance to express himself and allow him to show how he feels. So I would paint the trucks, even though he doesn’t make that much money, I definitely wouldn’t say its a waste of money.

  4. Thanks for sharing this part of Pakistani culture with us, at least for me I doubt I ever would have seen or heard of this art form otherwise. The art appears to be very heartfelt by the drivers—an expression of what is important to them personally, whether it is family, a political or religious point, or just artistic expression for its own sake. North America may not be ready for this kind of art, but from my perspective it’s a far more interesting form of expression then the typical messages you would see on a truck, like: “how’s my driving,” or “real men love Jesus,” or “wash me.”

  5. I feel like that fact that these truck owners are mostly poor is very important so people know that every single detail put into these trucks was very thought out and has a meaning behind it. This also makes the truck all the more special and personally valuable, versus other people tuning up their car’s appearance simply to gloat and show off.
    I would love to be able to share my beliefs in such a public way, but I believe once Americans go further than bumper stickers, things will start to get messy on the streets. Most people can’t handle a differing point of view without getting upset and confrontational. That’s what makes these trucks even cooler, is that no matter how different the trucks are they are still managing to share the road,

  6. I think this type of art is really entertaining to look at and that people of the country enjoy it. Although the drivers make barely any money i still think they should continue it because it makes others smile and entertainment. I think the poetry does speak to people especially in a creative way which makes them think even more about things.

  7. I do not think it is a wast of money to paint these trucks, These truck may need to be painted to avoid rusting or for other reasons and it may be cheaper to paint them in this way then to have an automotive paint job. Plus I also believe this may be very rewarding to the owner of the truck to show off there skills as an artist. Paint is cheap compared to other things and they may be using left over paint from other projects. Every one needs an outlet and I feel these people have found one. That showing off your personal views should be your right in some countries I not sure you you are aloud to.

  8. I do not think it is a waste of money either. In a way it makes the truck their own since it would be their job for quit some time. I thought the amount of detail in the artwork was intriguing itself and would be the type of artwork you would have to look at for a while to feel like you saw it all. It’s certainly different than the trucks with just the brands logo on it.

  9. These are fantastic. I think it is interesting that this type of decoration is only on the trucks of the (poorer) farmers and not on the side of corporate truck like the Jewel trucks you mentioned we have. Tthe purpose of art is to bring joy and beauty, to elevate the commonplace, to express personal and religious views; this type of truck art does all of those things. Any money spent on painting the outside of these trucks that are seen by everyone is money well spent. It is the inside of the truck that I find the most interesting, because that is decorated only for the driver(owner) to enjoy.

  10. I really enjoyed these images. All of the creativity and fine details that go into these vehicles is amazing. I also wonder if there are hidden images or messages in the details of some of these designs. My thoughts are that the owners should decorate as much as possible because this seems to attract attention; therefore, customers. I would not consider it a waste of money because each addition seems to enhance the attractiveness of the vehicle.
    I think that the poetry can have an affect on people. It could be positive or negative depending on where the individual is spiritually. Who knows, maybe the Higher Power of the decorator is guiding such a poem.

  11. I think it’s excellent to spend money on beautifying your place of work–where you spend a lot of time–even if you have little money. It shows pride in work and pride in art! And I just love the question about these types of art having a revolutionizing effect–I hope they do!

  12. Even though these drivers don’t make a ton of money, I think painting their trucks is a great business move on their part because not only is it drawing attention to their trucks but also themselves and or the company or business they are working for. The brighter and better looking trucks will obviously get more looks and attention, therefore perhaps increasing the marketing success of the companies.

  13. It looks as though the inside in decorated too. I like them. I like how detailed and colorful they all are. If they are so poor I doubt this kinda thing costs a lot of money. I once saw a truck this colorful in america. It was a jesus hippie kinda truck

  14. I hardly ever hear about art like this, it is so beautiful! I think its a great investment and something to be proud of as the truck driver. I think it has the potential to be revolutionary, but I don’t know that everyone would see it as professional.

  15. I think this is a great idea if I had a bus I would paint on it. Even though they don’t make a lot of money I don’t thing it is a waste of their money to paint it. It might even help bring customer or have more people want to ride your specific bus. Also they are very interesting prices of work all which have their own story giving the bus emotion.

  16. I love the self-expression that can be brought out in these trucks, especially, the political opinions and values. It’s an absolute shame that in many countries that’s something that wouldn’t be socially acceptable. The intricate detail both inside and out is extremely captivating.

  17. It’s always interesting to see how things are so different in other countries compared to ours. I’ve seen decorated vehicles in other countries before, but these trucks in Pakistan are on a completely different level. It seems as if the owners put in a lot more detail and effort into painting their trucks. It was also interesting to see how “don’t honk, the nation is sleeping” could be interpreted differently. I would’ve just taken it as a joke and nothing else.

  18. Mobile art gets my attention, and as a former truck driver, my thoughts started to flow as to what I would do with such a large canvas! That the drivers are taking their minimal and hard earned income to express themselves is a true definition of an artist. Regardless of cost, the art speaks of their passion and determination.

    I am more of a conservative person, so my public displays would be more decorative than personal. However, one message I would make loud and clear: The left lane is for passing only! So move it!!

    Yes, public poetry would certainly have an effect on the population. Some may stop and read it, some may glance and take in a few words, and some would ignore it completely. I believe those that do stop to read it or even glance may take something out of it, whether it be immediately or reflect on it later, and that is the importance of any message.

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