location independent artist

below is a guest post by another artist, Nemo, whom i met online via a mutual friend. i love his non-traditional lifestyle and the flexibility and freedom it affords. i also admire his entre into so many different communities. enjoy, and please check out his work through the links below. -n

“I’m gonna retire, get an RV and see the country!”

This is the American Dream, I have heard it so many times in my life, I heard people say it when I was little, I heard it in college and I heard it when I worked in a cubical. Get out and experience the road, see what’s out there, see the sites, meet the people. Now that’s living.

My wife and I had the same dream only we are the types that don’t want to wait till we retire. Quick story about how we got to the point where we ditched the jobs, unloaded as many personal items as we could and gave up an address and hit the road.

We lived in a house once, had a yard, spent time doing yard work and talking to neighbors. We used to have people over and did all the things people do who own houses. We felt like we needed something else. Out of no where an opportunity came up that would move us from San Antonio, TX to Denver, CO. As an artist there’s only so many chances to sell art on your own before everyone you know owns a piece of yours and gets tried of going to your shows. So moving to a new city over a 1000 miles away was an excellent way of getting fresh eyes on my art. We stayed in Denver for about 2 years and had regular art shows, open studios and would go out and meet people everyday. About a year into it we felt like we had a good handle on the art scene. We were wheeling and dealing. We were being recognized and noticed at shows and around town. We were getting written up in newspapers and in blogs.

We knew we had to do more of this. So what did we do? We quit our jobs, sold all our stuff and got an RV. We hit the road to see if we could duplicate our Denver experience in other cities. We got ourselves into big festival type shows any where we could. The bigger the better. We shoot for the shows where people always say “that’s a hard show to get into” or “we never get into that show“. Then we book as many smaller shows as can and we talk to tons of artists and galleries looking for any cheap or free events to be apart of.

At the shows we try to find people who know about art events to do. And as you know people love to tell you what you should be doing and everyone wants to try to help you out, so we just put it out there and we listen for whatever sounds good. We pull all the strings we can pull. Like one time in Arizona we were at a big show and we started talking to an artist and he told us about another show at a parking lot of a grocery store. Then we heard about one show on twitter and while doing that show we met a guy who had another show to do which was small but very profitable. You just never know.

We learned so much, even though the lessons seemed hard and even cruel at times. We met so many wonderful people, even if we don’t remember everyone I hope that we brought a small glimmer of hope to living their dreams and doing whatever it is they want to do. And although we have been to a lot of places the list keeps growing and growing with the possibility of learning more and meeting more people. I know we hear it all the time but we really are living the dream that most people have. “Retire, get an RV and see the country” .

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