The Tillie Mobile Unit (TMU) is a 21st-century pop-up portable studio/gallery/performance-venue dedicated to the art and career of Tillamook Cheddar, the world’s preeminent canine artist.
We started with a simple idea: to take the artist Tillamook Cheddar directly to The People. That led us to shopping on ebay for a shell. We found a 12-foot 1958 Mobile Scout camper trailer, manufactured in California. We made a deal with a man from Long Island. The trailer’s second owner, he was grateful to find a buyer who would restore his family heirloom to its original condition.
After towing her to West Pawlet, VT, where we parked her at The Academy — atelier of Andrew Kromelow, self-appointed Director of Modification and Modernization for Team Tillie, we brought in Steve Knauff, sculptor and Stuffinator, from California, to become Chief of Data Facilitation/ TILLIEvision Technician/Co-Creator and Installer of The Brain. He also designed and built the rear bench/roll-out stage.
The old trailer was completely gutted, and transformed into the gleaming white cube before you.
We re-wired the electrical system, reinforced and rubberized the floor, and skinned the walls in white enameled aluminum. Original cabinetry was customized to become display vitrines for Tillie’s art. We modified the trailer so that the entire rear panel now flips open like a hatchback. An internal superstructure was engineered and fabricated, complete with hydraulic actuators, to make the back pop open, and form a canopy above the roll-out stage.
After two Vermont winters the TMU was towed to Vinegar Hill Studios, in Brooklyn, NY, where Team Tillie assembled for an intense 9-month push, to complete final engineering and fabrication for the Fall 2011 launch.
The interior rear bench deconstructs and unrolls out of the back, to become a stage for Tillie’s public demonstrations, complete with luxurious front-row seating. The TMU has its own 1000-watt soundsystem with ultra-frequency bass response (subwoofer); four DVD players and four LED TILLIEvision monitors, including a 30-inch screen inside the back of the Unit, which flips down and rotates when the stage is deployed, so that it’s visible to the audience; TiLLiEYE Multi-Cam Video Surveillance system; stocked “private” cocktail and cordials corner (for adult humans); specialty first-aid kit for canine/human care; Tillie-signature fire suppression system; and secluded, soundproof, upholstered quarters for Tillie and her son Doc, accessible from inside the trailer or through the newly installed separate side entrance.
Leon Ferrer, visionaire extraordinaire, created the beautiful custom cushions and the amazing curtains and spare wheel cover, featuring his hand-cut vinyl rendering of the Eric Lewis-designed Tillie face logo. Leon is also responsible for the upholstery in Tillie's and Doc's private quarters, as well as in the bar and the primary exhibition case.
The Mission of the Tillie Mobile Unit is to bring the artwork and the story of Tillamook Cheddar to a town near you.
Please inquire if you’d like to arrange a visit.
photos of the Tillie Mobile Unit launch by The Shaltzes