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Oct 30, 2012, 11:58 am
Living for art: Texan finds his niche in Rochester
By Simon Zais

Rochester artist Bobby Marines paints during Thursdays on First and Third in June. (Post-Bulletin file photo by Jerry Olson)

Bobby Marines, of recent Post-Bulletin fame, is the hot new talent in Rochester. But he’s more than just pretty electrical boxes. This all-around artist is poised to take Rochester by storm.

If you don’t know who Marines is, you’ve still most likely seen his work around town. Recently, and most notedly, he worked with the Rochester Downtown Alliance to paint five electrical boxes around downtown Rochester.

“I applied for three and got to do five,” he explains. “I showed them the concept and examples and they really let me go to town.”

If electrical boxes aren’t your thing, his work is making cameos everywhere else, too. He did live painting at Thursdays on First, he’s got a second round of art on display at Sontes, Broadway Jewelry and Visual Arts has an exhibit and, most recently, he did the 16-foot banner for The Venue Art and Music Festival as well as being displayed in their gallery.

And Marines has been staying as busy as ever. In fact, to get this interview, I had to catch him around his mural schedule. Marines took a vision with the Rosie Belle Performing Arts building and ran with it. By the time this article goes to print, you’ll be able to see his vision too. He had help on the project from an organization of Hispanic youth. 

I knew he used traditional mediums before the interview, but when he told me about the many, many different styles he’s pursuing, it was truly amazing.

“Recently,” he says, “I was in a phase where I was sticking to acrylic on canvas. But I started with house paints on cardboard. I’ve always done things with vibrant colors. Now I’m trying to change the subject matter up: making art with deeper narratives and a more cohesive stream. I want to create something that tells a story.”

“Lately I’ve been experimenting with a lot more stuff. I’ve been getting into photography and playing with makeshift sculptures. Pretty much anything I can get my hands on to create something.”

He tells about his inspirations: “I got a lot. Right now as we speak, I have like 12 books sitting next to my bed that range from photography to old picnicking drawings. I get a lot of seeing how other people work.”

He elaborates on “not just artists either, but businesses. They work like crazy. They do these things like 18 hours straight. People who succeed at what they do and love what they do as much as I love being an artist. I see everything in an artistic way, so I always have ideas and stuff. I’m living for it. To make art. To make whatever kinds. Every time I wake up I just have to do it.”

But the end goal isn’t to buy a jet, cut off his ear and punch a paparazzi. Marines has his sights set even higher. A native of Robstown, Texas, he has a worldwide charitable streak. He has helped minority kids rebuild bikes and hand paint them, but he wants to do more.

“Rochester has been phenomenal to me, but I want to give to my hometown as well. In my hometown, there aren’t any role models. There’s nobody pushing you. You don’t have too good of examples as far as following your dreams and doing stuff that might be unrealistic,” he says.

“I just want to be well off enough to give back, where people respect me as a really serious, diverse artist but be able to give back and make a differences. Someday, I will set up things for creative kids who don’t have money for materials. Workshops for free. For kids with fewer opportunities. They could be one of the best artists out there, but if they don’t have the tools, who would ever know?”

Having never seen snow before, Marines made the nearly 1,400-mile journey to the icy tundra we all call home and it seemed to work out well for everybody.

“As far as me being an artist, there’s a buzz about arts and culture here in Rochester. I am in the perfect place at the perfect time. There is nowhere else I would rather be.”

Simon Zais is a freelance writer from Rochester, Minn. 

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