Konda Srinivasa Rao, whose paintings on autos are on display in the city..

One of the popular art galleries in Banjara Hills is now showcasing a bunch of unusual paintings — that of autos! The one simple theme of the show is autos. This solo exhibition, titled ‘Auto! Chalte Kya’, has paintings by 34-year-old artist Konda Srinivasa Rao. But he’s no ordinary artist — before becoming one, almost 10 years ago, he was an auto driver!
“And hence, the exhibition,” explains the artist, who hails from Peddapudi in East Godavari district. “Each subject I choose pertains to something in my life. My other paintings include landscapes, urbanscapes and cityscapes,” explains Srinivasa Rao. Ask him if he studied painting at an art college and he replies, “No, I’m a self-taught artist. And I create abstract and semi-abstract paintings.” 
Born to parents who are both weavers, Srinivasa could never sit in class due to his lack of interest in studies. He dropped out of school after studying till Class X, and dabbled in numerous odd jobs, such as working at a clothes shop, painting houses, doubling up as a coolie and even as a daily wage labourer — and of course, as an auto driver. “Even though I worked for just a month as an auto driver, I liked the job because you can be your own boss — you can start when you want and get back home when you want. But in none of the odd jobs did I find satisfaction — something was always amiss,” explains the painter. 
Srinivasa then came to Hyderabad to work in Ramoji Film City in 1997. “I worked there as a daily wage labourer for almost two-and-a-half years, and unsurprisingly, I wasn’t happy. That’s when I joined my friend and started making copies of the old masters’.” And who were the masters? “Raja Ravi Varma, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and the likes. We made the paintings based on orders that we got,” explains Srinivasa.