Hail, a Sistine tram

WE’RE used to passively viewing art on trams.

But passengers on Bendigo’s talking tram No. 880 will be able to make art themselves while rocking and rolling along.

The namesake artist for Bendigo’s Art Series hotel, Mark Schaller, has splashed his talent around the vintage tram in keeping with themes that will soon grace the walls of The Schaller Studio hotel in Lucan Street.

Schaller has covered the tram ceiling with swirls of pink and cardamom yellow acrylic in a postmodern nod to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel  he's dubbed “the Sistine tram.”

While passengers can gaze restfully upon Schaller’s rabbits, flowers and other creations, they will also be able to sit at a workbench on the tram and draw their own art, using pencils provided.

A day bed, sofas, suitcases to sit on and coathangers instead of hand rails complete a picture of blissful bohemia with a touch of Lewis Carroll.

It’s an interactive approach to art that will be replicated at the Schaller Studio hotel, said Art Series Hotels spokeswoman Liz Austin.

The new hotel will have bikes for guests to use – yellow, because that is Mark’s favourite colour, Ms Austin said.

“The tram is very much an interactive illustration of what the Schaller Studio will look like,” she said.

We want people to touch (the art), to live with it. - Liz Austin

Art journals, art tours and art classes will entice hotel guests to respond to Schaller’s fun, vibrant works.

“The Art Series Hotel is very much about making art more accessible to people,” Ms Austin said.

“The art gallery space can be quite intimidating and we want people to touch (the art), to live with it and turn it into an experience they can relate to at their own level, in their own time and their own space.”

Schaller loved the interactive idea.

“If someone is inspired by my art that’s even more complementary.”

The Schaller tram will be launched in early March.

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