Monday, September 04, 2006

Travel Artist

Today, with a bit of effort, a Google search will list a handful of contemporary painters, sculptors and ceramicists backpacking across continents or attaining travel grants for residencies. Although to a certain degree these are all examples of a type of travel that is primarily considered temporary and it is this brevity that classifies most jaunts as “fun”. We have each experienced that rush at the end of a trip that signals the sadness of leaving combined with the excitement of returning to the comfort of our familiar home. What I propose is the next step beyond a holiday. I’m currently starting the fourth year of my eternal vacation. That’s not to say one cannot find gainful employment outside of their studio (I did so in Montana and was better for it); I simply believe that I can lead a richer, fuller life by reestablishing myself into a new and unfamiliar community every few years. It is certainly a fun life, if it wasn’t I wouldn’t put-up with the hassle of continuously moving (packing and unpacking is the biggest disadvantage of the immersion travel artist).

I’m hardly the first travel artist. There are innumerable historical examples of individuals that combined their passions for art and travel into one singular design. John Singer Sargent was the ultimate expatriate, bouncing from London, to Paris to Arabia. A Frenchman, named Gauguin, left the world with an indelible impression of Tahiti that shall outlive whatever changes modern society impresses upon the island’s inhabitants. Augustus Earle was a minor English artist of the early 19th century that made a living from the paintings and drawings of his numerous voyages to the New World. Then, as now, the travel artist is interchangeable with the photojournalist. It is the possibility of documenting the moment one reaches full-immersion within each travel experience, which I envision as the key to my long-term artistic success. – DN

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