In anticipation for Tire Fest our March 14th, 2014 mobile arts convergence we’re asking participating artists about what mobility means for their practices. One of our favorite artists DOMINIQUE MOODY and current artist-in-residence at Zorthian Ranch has given us some words on her NOMAD project which will be on-site at our Mobile Headquarters for the fest.

1. What is your mobile-arts project and what does it look like?

My mobile artwork is still a work in process but it already speaks to the idea of home as a storytelling portrait and a lifelong journey to creative freedom.

The structure is inspired by vernacular dwellings created by African Americans throughout the diaspora. Small, narrow, single story pitched roof abodes designed for simplicity. As an assemblage artist the materials used on it’s exterior are salvaged or repurposed. Washing machine doors as windows, a highway lamp post as a support beam, old barn wood and the universal building material of corrugated siding. Reminiscent of “row houses”, the iconic porch frames the entrance, below a suspended globe. Pared down to it’s most elemental forms the Nomad is very much like the drawings done by children for the symbol of home.

What will pull this mobile residence on a trailer is a 1950 Ford, a former tow truck now boxed out to shelter the driver and carry my tools for the road in anticipation of encountering found discards for site specific art making along the way.

2. What were the sources of inspiration or specific conditions that lead to you developing a project on wheels?

I have moved so far 45 times in my 50 plus years. In my family we always refereed to ourselves as nomads to explain our constant movement. My parents lived full time in a travel trailer during the 50’s going through the segrated south. Only recently my family has found that our DNA links our roots to the Fulani people a large nomadic tribe in West Africa. My families kinship to this way of being has deepened our knowing and trusting into our intuitive thinking.

The idea has now evolved into creating the Nomad as a mobile artist in residence that would house me as well, was a twenty five year odyssey in my process to explore assemblage art making. The slow process was challenged by life circumstances that arose like the development of an eye condition that left me legally blind and unable to drive. Vision, especially creative vision can imagine solutions that seem fixed, into solutions of flexibility. My mobility brings movement for me in the form of an idea that will allow the collaboration of a still to be found driver and a visionary artist to take the road less traveled.

3. Do you see mobile-arts as working against, in-conjunction or in some other way with brick-and-mortar situated art making?

To me it can only enhance and expand the dialogue of artistic expression. In many cultures art creation has an everyday function putting to practice the aesthetics that we live with. Also, the scale is both it’s bigness as an idea and it’s smallness as a livable footprint
speaks to economic, environmental issues that are so visible to the public.

4. How does mobility effect the audience of your work?

There is a sense of the familiar that draws people to the Nomad. But since so many people are transplants and migrants from places around the globe and the block, the Nomad seems practical even if they cannot see themselves living in one full time.

Many marvel at the idea of using objects and the materials used but the economics of living smaller is the direction we will all need to take and discuss and art can make that discussion more accessible.
But the greatness response I get is when people share with me their own stories of how their families got here or how they lost their home in the crash. Young people are the most excited about the idea of the freedom this way of living could afford them. And the very young seem to see this as an extension of the playhouse, but for adults too.

Dominique Moody
February 2014