A year ago (October, 2016), I started this new venture called Art Bus Coffee by purchasing a 1985 English double decker bus in Texas and driving it to Las Vegas with my good friend Rod Koepp. We drove 30 hours without stopping to sleep, for fear the bus would not keep going if we stopped. Now, with the bus and the business fully operational, I found myself again without sleep, driving the bus, but this time it was because we were busy with three events back to back in a day and a half, selling our coffee and art on the bus.
In one year, we have gone from a simple idea to a working bus and a viable business. Also in that year, my creativity exploded, as I expanded into making highly sophisticated images with my photography, some traditional works, and some complicated “photo paintings” made from composites of images I had captured through the years. Everything I’ve been working toward for 20 years is coming together. Now, we’re hosting hundreds, even thousands of people who are experiencing the bus as we intended: relaxing with a coffee or an espresso drink, and seeing the pictures the way they should be seen, in-person with enough time to appreciate and connect with them. In this way, we’re bringing smiles to lots of people who are impressed with the concept of the bus selling coffee and art, and even more excited to see and purchase unique pictures unlike anything they’ve seen before. For us, it’s a real pleasure to find homes for the pictures where they will contribute to making their new environments even more special. That is what I’ve wanted for many years: to have my pictures make a difference, connect with people, and enhance the spaces they occupy. It’s very exciting to see this happen on a bigger scale than it had before Art Bus Coffee.
This is the perfect time to thank the people who have made this possible. No big endeavor can happen without the contributions of many people working toward the goal. My wife Colleen is the key to everything, believing in my insanity, creativity, and perseverance, and in essence doing all the responsible things I should have been doing while I was developing my photography art, fixing and renovating a bus for eight months, and starting a business like none other, with no template to follow. My daughter Athena also puts up with my crap, but still believes in what I’m doing, and actually got her hands very dirty by jumping into the project, doing what was needed, and even becoming a good barista who helps run the bus. My mom, Mina, has always been there to help in many ways through my photography and videography career, and her support is invaluable. My dad, Bob, made this whole project possible, and now he gets free coffee for life.
Rod Koepp, my key employee at Patchin Pictures (our video production and photography company for 20 years), and more importantly my best friend, has taken the reins at Patchin Pictures enough to allow me to spend a year working on Art Bus Coffee, which is a separate business, but also an extension of Patchin Pictures. He is the rock, the main man to rely on. Without Rod, I would not be able to do what I’m doing. Leah Koepp, Rod’s wife, and also a great longtime friend, has been an excellent sounding board for ideas, and especially for my photography. She’s sometimes the first person to see a picture when I’m not sure if it’s “working” in the sense that I want it to be effective. She has great insight, and I trust her opinions. Kent and Holly VanLeeuwen were the two people who helped us start Patchin Pictures. With them, it has grown from “just” a video production business, to one that offers a wide variety of visual and audio services as well as duplication and film transfers. Kay McPhail has for years been extremely important to me with her support of my artwork, and even more so with Art Bus Coffee. She has the biggest private collection of my pictures, and her belief in me means more than she can know. She even made the curtains for the bus.
These are the most important people who helped me get where I am today, growing Patchin Pictures, and starting Art Bus Coffee. As we move forward, the family of people who are part of Art Bus Coffee is growing. From our soft start in June, 2017 to our very busy schedule now, lots of friends and family have helped get the word out and bring new people to the bus. A few years ago, I started riding a road bike, and I met an amazing group of people who make up part of the Las Vegas cycling community. Many of them are very good friends now. They all have been wonderful in sharing our story personally and on social media, and it was a pleasure to have a group of them on the bus as a destination for one of their weekend rides. I thank you all.
For those who have not experienced Art Bus Coffee, I invite you to follow us on social media, check our website, ArtBusCoffee.com, and come to the events. You can also invite us to come to you. What you’ll find is a fun experience in a unique environment, and a chance to buy some very cool pictures. Even though I’ve been a photographer for more than 30 years, what you are seeing now is a breakthrough in my art. These new pictures are special, and the variety of subjects and styles makes it very likely you will find something that interests you or feels just right, something you want to take home. Or, at least you will enjoy sitting among the pictures while you drink your coffee. This is Art Bus Coffee. Welcome to the family.
Author: Steve Patchin
Steve Patchin is an Emmy winning professional photographer and artist living and working is Las Vegas, Nevada. He specializes in photo paintings and photo composites. Steve also owns and operates Patchin Pictures, a video and photography company he started in 1997. He opened his newest venture, Art Bus Coffee, in 2017 to take his art to the public in a new way that bypasses the traditional gallery structure. Steve believes people should buy art because they like it and because they feel some connection to it. It doesn’t matter what you think it may be worth in 15 years or whether an art critic told you why you should like it. What matters is what art means to you.