Top Stories 2015 | #9 — Artist Lynn Di Nino’s creative commute

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Tacoma Daily Index is looking back at the 10 most read articles among visitors to our Web site in 2015.

For more than a decade, local artist Lynn Di Nino has traveled several times per week between Seattle and Tacoma via public transportation. While most passengers nap in their seats, study their smart phones, or read a book, Di Nino has found creative inspiration aboard Sound Transit’s Route 590/594 Express buses, which cover roughly 35 miles in 45 minutes between the two cities.

“I love to take the bus,” Di Nino told the Tacoma Daily Index in June (see “Artist Lynn Di Nino’s creative commute,” Tacoma Daily Index, June 5, 2015; and “Tacoma Daily Index Top Stories — June 2015,” Tacoma Daily Index, July 1, 2015). “The bus gets there faster than cars do. It takes forty-five minutes and you couldn’t drive your car for the price [of bus fare].”

Di Nino’s enthusiasm could be found in an exhibit that opened in June at Tacoma Public Library’s Handforth Gallery (see “Tacoma artist Di Nino to discuss Handforth Gallery exhibit July 22,” Tacoma Daily Index, July 14, 2015). Entitled Riding the express bus Seattle/Tacoma, the artwork consists of 14 vignettes of three-dimensional 10-inch, wall-mounted figures seated next to photographs of landmarks Di Nino captured on her smart phone while the bus traveled its route—the shimmering Puyallup River and snow-capped Mount Rainier visible as the bus leaves Tacoma and enters Interstate 5; the brightly-colored tubes and slides that comprise the Wild Waves Theme Park between Fife and Federal Way; and a lush, open field rimmed by trees near Weyerhaeuser’s headquarters in Federal Way (among others).

The figures were created using paper, cement, wires, and other mixed media, and represented composites of some of Di Nino’s fellow bus passengers—a bored stoner wearing a gray hoodie with a giant marijuana leaf design ironed onto its back; a man in a kilt reading a newspaper; a machinist on his way to work at Boeing; and a young woman holding a large potted plant (among others). Each figure took one week to complete, and Di Nino began the project in March. The figures were charming and fun, and the photographs were surprisingly crisp and beautiful—no blurry drive-by shots or grainy digital images here; it was as though Di Nino asked the driver to stop the bus so she could set up her camera and capture the images.

Tacoma artist Lynn Di Nino at Tacoma Public Library's Handforth Gallery. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

Tacoma artist Lynn Di Nino at Tacoma Public Library’s Handforth Gallery. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

To read earlier coverage of the Tacoma Daily Indexs top stories during 2015, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and the author of several books. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.