[Beginning of Fishmobile Tour | Aquarium]

All interior images of the Fishmobile were taken by Frank Bonita.

The Fishmobile is a 1982 International Harvester box truck with a registered gross weight of 26,000 lbs. I bought the Fishmobile from Bruce Wagg in 2003, when it was a Burning Man art car and essentially a portable bar. He and his theme camp had transformed the moving truck into an art car (which had no established name). Marilyn Bonita forwarded to me an email message she'd received indicating it was for sale. So, essentially, it is all her fault!

It turns out Parking was a big nightmare for a while, but after an article on the Fishmobile's parking woes appeared in the Oakland Tribune I was able to find a great place to park it. One cannot even park a vehicle this large on the street in Alameda for more than three hours! Insurance was a nightmare too. It isn't a moving truck any more, it is used only to deliver and retrieve artwork which I create, such as The Desert Nose. The Fishmobile itself is artwork which is occasionally delivered and retrieved.

I thought for a while about what I might want to do with it. The Burning Man theme in 2003 was "Beyond Belief" and as I contemplated that I came up with the notion that what lies beyond our own beliefs is transformation. Then I contemplated what that meant for me and saw many parallels to my own experiences in psychotherapy. I tried several times to come up with some way to capture the notion that our beliefs create our reality and that if we don't like our reality we'll have to get beyond some of our beliefs in order to get to a better place in life. In my own case, it was my own negative beliefs about myself and the world that were what I had to get beyond to be happier. It worked, by the way.

The text was impossible to write until I gave up on using a computer or sheets of paper. I used two 4x8 sheets of drywall as a drawing board so my work could expand in any direction. [ Big Drywall | Drywall Text | Drywall Fish ]

Once the text was written, I prepared the interior of the fishmobile to receive the artwork. Inside are four 4'x8' black painted panels, hinged, evenly spaced, two on each wall. When the fishmobile is on display these panels open away from the walls until they are perpendicular to the walls, turning the interior space into an intestinal-shaped labrynth. One enters and, always following the right wall, reads the messages, following the colored dots that always lead to the next message, even if they disappear through a hole in a panel to appear on the other side.

On the ceiling are blacklights which illuminate the messages and the many fish and sea creatures within the Fishmobile. While the outside contains tropical and surface fish, the deeper portions of the fishmobile contain deep-sea animals. In the series of messages, one is deep in the Fishmobile about the time that the reader enounters negative beliefs.

One always keeps to the right wall, which as it turns out, was impossible to view on the web! So, using Adobe Photoshop, I reversed the left/right sense of all the images Frank Bonita had taken and then reversed the text so it could be read in order to create the online version of the fishmobile. In many cases the result is a unique, new view of the Fishmobile material. But now the beginning of each view is in the upper left corner or at least on the left side of the page.

To light the Fishmobile I rewired the interior and added a 120v power system based on four deep cycle batteries and an inverter. I added a car stereo amplifier running from the 12v system so that it could operate continuously without external power for about ten hours, requiring one manual switch about halfway through, to use the second bank of batteries.

I added 4x8 hinged panels inside to increase the space of the 'canvas space.' I painted most of the interior artwork, but other contributors include Bridget Hardey, Marilyn Bonita, Franziska Jost and Michael Marx, who was is my mentor in all things artistic.

The artwork took a long time. I saved all the art on the right wall of the Fishmobile. I had to rebuild the left wall (it had been cut out for its former life as the fish bar) so all of the former art there was lost. I added art on the back wall, left wall and all panels. Then it was time to incorporate the text.

Once the interior artwork was done I created an Adobe FrameMaker version of the text of the Fishmobile and the printed the text on different colors of blacklight-sensitive paper. These were decopaged onto the walls to complete the interior.