Mention remote controlled cars to most of us, and naturally, we would hark back to a bygone era when we blasted them around the house or garden, crashing into the footwear of innocent bystanders and occasionally, building a ramp and attempting an Evel Knievel inspired jump or two.

However, for British artist, Ian Cook, remote controlled cars have replaced the traditional brush as the preferred method of choice in order to paint amazing pictures.

At school in Birmingham Ian wanted to be a car designer but after studying at the Winchester School of Art and lecturing in fine art at West Midlands College, he decided to combine his artistic talent and his love of cars in a different way - becoming a full-time automotive artist.

Ian explains that his unusual method of creating art began when he was given a remote-controlled car as a Christmas present and told; 'not to take it down to my studio, and not to get paint on it'.

He's been creating art using this unorthodox process since 2008, which means he's gone through a plethora of batteries!

His unique painting process involves between 20 and 30 different cars per picture but who washes them afterwards?

One of Ian's paintings will usually take between six and 12 hours of solid work to complete. He hasn't calculated how far the cars travel in that time but it must be quite a distance. As well as the radio-controlled cars, Ian uses normal toy cars and toy car wheels to paint his pictures but he never reaches for a traditional paintbrush.

Not that he can't paint with a brush. In 2009 Ian was commissioned by Vivian Westwood to paint a rocking horse for charity and it raised £10,000. Cars are his first love though. He creates a lot of his paintings at race circuits and events where members of the public can watch the man and his toy cars in action.

When he isn't out on the road, Ian is the artist in residence at the National Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire, the home of the world's largest collection of British cars. He's painted at British Touring Car Championship events held at circuits including Sliverstone, Rockingham, Thruxton and Brands Hatch.

Top Gear featured Ian's work on the show's 'art special' where it took over an art gallery in Middlesbrough. One of the most heavily featured pictures was of the Audi R8 - one of Ian's favourite works.

His largest work was a portrait of Lewis Hamilton commissioned by Reebok. At 12 metres tall and eight metres wide it was unveiled inear Tower Bridge in London, and was the size of the three-storey building.

However, his greatest work would no doubt be a portrait of Afzal Kahn along side his vast array of Kahn vehicles - now that would be something else!

Click the link below to view Ian's web site

Image (c) vicki isted photography