Earth Energy and Tactical Urbanism

Fort Wayne, Indiana, sits in a unique position of the Midwest. Surrounded by fields of wheat, corn and soybeans, the city’s inner structure can make the outlying rural life seem a million miles away. The demographics of this growing city consist of White, Black, Hispanic, Burmese, Asian, Pacific Islander and others. Years of economic development and the low cost of living attract more and more residents, each with a defined cultural background and a hunger to fit in.

     Native Jerrod Tobias has watched the changing faces of time, the increased cultural divides and has felt the mounting isolation in society. He has always realized that the earth is the binding strength that holds nature and mankind together, but trying to make it happen on a community level, seemed an impossible task. Raised in the rural outskirts of Fort Wayne, Jerrod developed a sense of self-expression through art form at an early age; something that is lacking in many young people today. He discovered that life is not about social acceptance and following the crowd, but rather discovering oneself by utilizing the energy of the earth as a guide.

One form of art that makes a positive impact on inner city society is the presence of murals. Placed in the right location and bearing a message, a mural can become a sign of unity to everyone that walks by. Not everyone shares the same feelings when first introduced to a mural that may be filled with color, subject and matter, but over time every individual is touched by its unifying distinction that delivers a sense of comfort.

Masonry primer, exterior latex and spray paint are the key ingredients that Jerrod has chosen to lay the groundwork for leaving a mark on inner city communities. Regardless of race, creed or background; his murals deliver a positive memory for those that are looking for a bond in this place that is home.

The display at Wunderkammer Company, located at 3402 Fairfield Avenue, is one example of Tobias’s thought-provoking scenes that demonstrate how gender, culture and nature are bound by the same energy.

     “Tactical urbanism is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of low-cost, temporary changes to the built environment, usually in cities, intended to improve local neighborhoods and city-gathering places. Public art and mural painting have a way of drawing people together and opening topics of conversation. It helps break down stigmas, allows for an even exchange of perception and experience,” explains Tobias.

Fulfilling his love to work with paints has not come easy to Jerrod. Graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2013, he soon realized that art is a work in progress that is never fully obtained.  Mentors include Ralph Woehrman and Jose Cintron and Jerrod continues to improve his artistic skills through their teachings. However, this process has given Tobias an advantage over many artists; his desire to help others in progressing their freedom through art. He has partnered with Artlink and offers onsite classes for anyone interested in beginning their own journey.




     The Brass Rail, located at 1121 Broadway, Fort Wayne, Indiana, recently contracted Tobias to create a mural that can be seen by the community upon entering Fort Wayne’s downtown area. It was designed to depict human rights and environmentalism through Native American folklore. The colors and pronounced lines are eye-catching and memorable. Funding was made available through Amplify Art!, a crowd funding program of Arts United.

Associate Dan Baxter and Jerrod’s wife, Kara have teamed up with Tobias to make the Brass Rail project an attraction of intrigue, heritage and fun to those entering downtown Fort Wayne from the south. Tobias Studios, together with Rebecca Stockert, also have a display at the Fort Wayne International Airport that will run through December 2016.

Jerrod lives in rural Allen County along with his wife, Kara, 3 children and a host of farm animals. They are also involved in establishing native perennial foods and preparing medicinal home remedies. You can contact him at: and more at:

By Kate Eglan-Garton, AAPJ Senior Editor


Published by on October 2016. Filed under AAPJ Spotlight, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Cover Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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