He didn't intend to be drawing custom car posters for people around the world, but that's become Douglas Peterson-Hui's pandemic pivot.
In May 2020 he graduated with a master's degree in architecture from Ryerson University in Toronto; shortly after he moved back to South Surrey, where he grew up.
"My plan was to start working in the field of architecture," he tells Vancouver Is Awesome. "Perhaps looking at a job at one of the firms in Vancouver, or perhaps out of country."
Like so many, the pandemic changed those plans and Peterson-Hui turned to his art, focusing on cars. They'd been an interest of his since he was a kid.
"My dad, he's not a hardcore car enthusiast or anything, but he's kind of a Volvo enthusiast," he explains. Volvos have shown up a lot in his recent art.
Peterson-Hui connects his interest in cars to his passion for architecture; he's interested in how things work and are put together.
"I'm a huge fan of the simplicity of the vehicles, both in the shape and the mechanical components," he says, noting that there's a similar design language with buildings.
Using apps like Adobe Illustrator he started creating drawings of cars using bold colours and stylized graphics with simple shapes.
Old travel posters were a source of inspiration for him, specifically the mid-century painted pieces. His love of architecture is integrated as well, as different structures show up in the background. Peterson-Hui says modern structures work well as a canvas for the cars.
"I had actually started this art page as a way to share my own work with friends and family," he says of the Architect's Garage.
However, others began to see it and follow.
Its popularity began to grow and it's become a source of income for him as he's found digital art a great way to reach lots of people. And it's not just locals. He's had sales across Canada, the US and Europe.
He estimates he's done around 320 commissioned pieces in about a year. While most are digital posters people can print out themselves (which works well for art travelling far) he's also done a couple of beer labels for a brewery in England.
While his art is a burgeoning business, it's not his intention to focus on it forever.
"I'd like this to be something I do on the weekends; I'd like to work as a licensed architect," he says.