Transit Planning
North Davidson Bus Maintenance Facility and Administration Building
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Artist - Jimmy O'Neal, Candler, NC
Wheels on the Bus in 7 Cymatic Sonatas
3M Chrome Graphic Film

The artist selection panel posited the North Davidson Bus Maintenance Facility and Administration Building to be an extraordinary opportunity for local artist, Jimmy O’Neal, who is known for creating large paintings using a reflective “mirror” paint.                                  

       Photo © JoAnn Sieburg Baker                Photo © JoAnn Sieburg Baker

L-R: Administration Building, Maintenance Building,
and Parking Garage. View from uptown Charlotte,
I-277 perpendicular to N. Davidson Street.

L- R: Above front entrance to Maintenance Building,
"Brakes C#", artist's visual translation of the
sound of bus brakes and "Driver D",  bus driver's
announcement to passengers.

Photo © JoAnn Sieburg Baker
Detail: "Driver D", Maintenance Building

Photo © JoAnn Sieburg Baker
View of Maintenance Building from parking deck:
"Tool F#"(left) and "Eyes G"(right),
recording heard by each bus driver when bus is
started: "keep your eyes on the road."

Project scheduling and liability issues would prevent the artist from actually painting the hundreds of new 2’ x 17’ metal panels that would cover the building facades.  Given these constraints, the artist had to adapt and find another way to achieve his vision.

His art, titled Wheels on the Bus in 7 Cymatic Sonatas, is visual translations of sounds he recorded in CATS’ buses and bus facilities. Using a cymascope, he produced visuals based on the key and frequency of each distinct recorded sound.

Photo © JoAnn Sieburg Baker
Bus Administration Building. L: "Bus Horn G#".
Center: "Wheel B". R: "Resonant Frequency of
Main Garage F", front entry to building.

Photo © JoAnn Sieburg Baker
View from interstate. Bus Administration Building.
L: "Bus Horn G#" and R: "Wheel B". 


Ultimately, he identified a commercial 3M chrome film that would have a new use while mimicking the artist’s mirror paint. Once the artist digitally manipulated and increased the size of his images to fit the scale of each building façade, he provided CATS’ general contractor with vector files of the art.  A sub-contractor, TPM of Greenville, South Carolina produced the art.  Familiar with the 3M chrome film, TPM had the resources to accurately cut, weed, code, pack, deliver and install the art on the metal panels of both buildings.