FOWLER – Cameron Moberg had plenty of time 80 feet up on a boom lift – occasionally looking out past the wind turbines to Benton County’s endless horizon between putting spray-painted touches on a silo next to the county’s lone stoplight – to reaffirm what he learned a summer ago.
The San Francisco street artist has a thing for rural Indiana.
“I knew I had to get back,” said Moberg, who spent a big chunk of June 2016 working on a mural and putting on workshops in Rensselaer as part of a Tippecanoe Arts Federation project. “Man, this week proved why to me.”
Moberg spent the week in Fowler, a town of 2,300 nearly 30 miles northwest of West Lafayette, working alone to install stylized, 80-foot stalks of wheat on the side of a silo at U.S. 52 and Indiana 18, and then leading a community project that left a mural of monarch butterflies on the side of the Local Bar, a few blocks away on Adams Avenue. (The mural will be dedicated during an unveiling at noon Sunday.) He also spent an afternoon working with students at Kankakee Valley High School in Wheatfield.
THROWBACK:A look at Cameron Moberg's 2016 project in Rensselaer
The Fowler project was the final piece in “Art in Rural Places,” a three-part series spurred by a $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant won by Tippecanoe Arts Federation. Rensselaer, with Moberg’s “Wingin’ It” mural on the side of the Embers Venue near the Jasper County Courthouse, was the first. The second was a street art installation on the Diana Theatre in Tipton, 50 miles east of Lafayette.
How Moberg wound up with the Fowler gig was a matter of things just falling together. The original artist wasn’t in a position to do the project, so Tetia Lee – the TAF director who fell in love with Moberg’s work when he won Oxygen Channel’s “Street Art Throwdown” in 2015 – reached out, thinking she might need to grovel a bit to get him back for a second round of Indiana.
Moberg was already pining for flat terrain, itching for a break from the urban landscape.
“And here he is,” Lee said. “Who knew he was so in love?”
Here, let Moberg explain it.
Question: This is your second time in Indiana, in a rural setting, doing this kind of work. Give me your sense of that versus working in an urban environment.
Moberg: Two months ago, I put post online saying, “Is anyone out there in Indiana? Please bring me back. I want to work.” My last summer here was one of my favorite memories. I travel constantly for work. People always ask me, “What are you favorite places you’ve been?” I say, “Well, I did a tour through Europe. But then I also did Rensselaer, Indiana. And they’re equally exciting.”
Q: What made Rensselaer stack up against touring Europe?