Seen & Heard: MOA art installation makes a proud Marines

Rochester artist Bobby Marines is getting more public exposure for his work.

Rochester artist Bobby Marines has artwork on display in a place where about 40 million people walk through every year — the Mall of America.

More specifically, his work is in Starbucks on the first level, right by the Nickelodeon Universe Amusement park.

Marines was commissioned to paint a 6-by-10-foot mural that shows a map of the world.

"A design coordinator from Chicago approached me to do this, and I was planning on simply projecting the image onto the wall and just trace, but none of the equipment was working out, and the stencils weren't either, so I did it all free-hand," Marines said. "I just eyeballed stuff to measure it, and I worked on the project from 9 p.m. in the evening on Oct. 23 until about 1 p.m. the next day, pretty much nonstop. I just took a few short breaks."

If that's not the longest Marines has worked nonstop, it's pretty close. The only other project he worked on for so long was repainting the electrical boxes outside Mayo Civic Center. Another piece of his work, a mural, is on display on the Rosie Belle building, on Fourth Street and South Broadway in Rochester.


Besides being a huge honor, the Starbucks commission was, for Marines, fulfillment of a childhood fantasy.

"I had always imagined what it would be like to hide out in a store in a mall until it closed and then just creep out and wander around, you know, kind of like in Back to the Future," he said. "Well, this let me do that in a way, although as much as I daydreamed about doing that as a kid, I never imagined I'd be able to do it at the Mall of America of all places!"

Marines has been drawing as long as he can remember. He's taken a few art courses, but his talent is mostly self-taught and from practice.

"I still can remember my mother buying me my first how-to-draw cartoon book and a big sketchbook, and I would just sit around sketching and drawing cartoons and comics and even drew my sister once," he said. "Then I stopped for a while and put it on the back burner and just thought of it like a hobby.

"One day my passion for art was reignited," he said. "I was at a point in my life where I was trying to figure out if I had anything to offer. I wanted to do something where I would have something more valuable to offer to people."

When he rediscovered art, Marines promised himself to always pursue it with the utmost passion. He shares that passion with others, as he did when he left the Mall of America after finishing his mural.

"I hopped on the train to downtown Minneapolis and met this lady with really bad tremors who said 'I USED to be an artist, too,'" he said. "I told her that she still was and always will be. Then I wrote something in the back of the painting I had and gave it to her and told her to NEVER stop creating. Gave her a hug, and we parted ways. She left with a smile."

Marines is an organizer of the "One Night of Art" shows in Rochester, held periodically throughout the year. The next show is Nov. 16 at the Creative Salon, 324 First Ave. S.W.


"This next one is our fifth installation, and it's going to be our one-year anniversary edition," he said. "It started from an inspiration at the St. Paul Art crawl; I just felt that it was so grassroots, and Rochester could use something like that, so I talked with Annie from C-4, we got some friends and artists involved, and each one has grown ever since.

"I just want to show Rochester — and the artists — how far we've come as a community, and as a creative community and artists helping each other in the past year, and just celebrate the progress over the last year," he said. "I've been able to put a lot of work and preparation into this upcoming event. We are going to have five bands and 40 artists, and it's going to be a great show."

For more information or to see more of Bobby's art, check him out on Facebook (search for "Bobby Marinez") and Tumblr .

Megan Kennedy is a longtime midday radio personality on KROC-FM. Seen & Heard highlights local people with interesting stories. Send tips to

Bobby Marines' artwork is featured at a Starbucks inside the Mall of America.

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