A Creative Mobile Community Experience
By Aaris A. Schroeder
Felix, a mixed media visual artist, photographer and exhibitionist has been a lifelong evangelist in urban revitalization and transformation of art in communities for some time, when the idea of housing an art gallery on the inside and outside of an old bus came to mind from a colleague, he jumped to the notion.
Currently involved with several artistic fashions in the East Bay, the thought flowed naturally as a bus was purchased, art was hung on the inside and huge panels on the outside of the bus. Twenty people volunteered time to assist in building the art bus March ‘12. The ArtIsMobilUs Bus was launched April ’12. Art was commissioned out and the fun began.
“This is about making art happen,” says Felix.
In order to make an income, Felix rents out the bus to businesses, groups and individuals who want to host anything from bachelor parties to mixers. He gets calls from local galleries, businesses and festivals to come park the bus so that folks can hop on board an already designed outside-bus to see what is on the inside. It is the perfect ice breaker and a great community gift.
There is so much opportunity in the East Bay for local artists, boutiques and restaurants since 5-billion dollars is brought into the area through tourists alone. Roughly 20 percent of these monies are directly related around people purchasing art and enjoying the culture that the East Bay offers.
A lot of what is behind ArtIsMobilUs is also housed in Felix’s art studio, “The Esthetic Scientist Gallery,” which is open upon appointment. Felix philosophy is that people need to come together as a community and create art as a means to bind those who may not have been bound before.
There are anywhere between 20-40 thousand people who see the Art is Mobile Bus per month and roughly half take in a viewing at First Fridays in Oakland on Telegraph. The Bus has been involved in First Fridays for the last 10 months since the conception of Art Is Mobile Us began. Within the first year of production, the bus has shown over 40 artists, including urban-aerosol artists, Nomè Night Owl and Aware.
Felix and his crew will take on “City” tours around San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and other East Bay cities so that those who weren’t expecting or have not seen the bus will be introduced to something new and fresh. It offers the communities something to talk about and something to remember that is positive and uplifting.
“Instead of people finding art, we bring it to them,” says Felix who also is working on a project to bring ArtIsMobilUs to K-12 schools and after-school programs, “We would like to hold urban art tours around the city to show off local murals, galleries and museums.”
Felix and his ArtIsMobilUs group is also interested in receiving funding so that they can create visibility and continue support for programs such as, “Mobile Poetry” and “Art and Artists in Schools,” among others. There are even talks about purchasing a second bus constructed to perform digitally. A sort of “creative, rolling lab,” according to Felix.
Getting involved is what Felix and Art is Mobile Bus is all about, this is why his team has been supportive and present at Burning Man Project’s, “Reimagining Central Market,” “24 Days of Art,” “Earth Day” and “How Weird Festival” in San Francisco, “Subzero Festival” in San Jose, “Riverfront Revival” in Petaluma, “Super Happy B” in Palo Alto and “Harmony by the Bay” at Shoreline Amphitheater.
ArtIsMobilUs Bus showed up at a city-commissioned project to paint utility boxes and brought local and world-wide artists right to the bus. Infamous urban artists such as Bay Area-based Sean Merdock, Brad Bernha, Eddie Cola, Ave De La Luna, CrayOne and UK-based Ezra Li Eismont, Word to Mother and EINE (of Faster, Brighter, Stronger Art Collection) all took part in the project.
Felix is interested in reaching people at a level where the art reaches people. Art Is Mobile Us is a moveable art gallery, a local statement of renovation and community. Find out more about the Art Is Mobile Us Bus by visiting http://www.ArtIsMobilUs.com and socially online http://www.facebook.com/artismobilus and Twitter @ArtIsMobilUs.
“Anybody can paint,” says Felix, “We like incubating art ideas. No experience required.”