I just got back from an amazing week at the Washington coast, where I was doing an artist’s residency at the Sou’wester Lodge. The Sou’wester is a lovely old resort on the southern end of the Long Beach peninsula, in SW Washington. It was established in 1892 as the summer retreat for a wealthy business tycoon and, over time, it has evolved into a guest lodge, RV park, and vintage travel trailer campground.
The Sou’wester has long supported art and music, but has kind of ramped it up over the past year or so by offering artist’s residencies and hosting live music and other creative happenings. The first people I met when I got there were Travis and Lauren, two lovely humans who run the Small Room Collective, a 1963 Airstream gallery/shop/event space/idea incubator. They were traveling from Austin, TX and had been on the road for five months or so. In their words, “The Small Room Collective curates small artistic movements”. Indeed, they’re really interested in connecting creative people and showcasing the work of independent artists, thinkers, and adventurers. You can check out their website to find out more about what they’re up to and where they’ll be next.
I’d heard of the Sou’wester residency program, and thought it would be a perfect fit for the project I’m working on currently: drawings/prints of all 50 US states, inspired by my Moveable Type truck travels. While I was on the road last year, I collected those corny state magnets at truck stops in every state I visited. By the end of my trip, I had a super wonky US map on the ceiling of the truck:
I love these magnets and everything they represent: state pride, nostalgia, weird and awkward graphics, the American road trip… I wanted to create my own take on them, and translate them into my own hand. I started some drawings last summer, but then the project got shelved for a bit as I got distracted by other work and other things. But last month, I finally wrapped up some of the drawings and made prints for seven states: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. These are all available for purchase in my Etsy and Big Cartel shops.
I knew I needed time and space to focus on the rest of the drawings (only 43 more states to go!) and so I thought it might be pretty wonderful to spend some time in a vintage travel trailer, reflecting on my own travels and channeling those experiences into these new drawings. It was a moderately productive week. I definitely made some major progress, but the thing about the Sou’wester is that it is literally steps from the beach. And it’s summertime.
But I was able to focus somewhat, and get down to business at my sweet little workspace, set up inside a 1957 Spartan Royal Manor:
Here’s a sneak peek of some of the sketches that came out of the week.
My (somewhat ambitious) plan is to finish up all the drawings this week and start printing in early September. With any luck, I’ll have all 50 states (and maybe a Canadian province or two!) printed and available for purchase by the end of September. And then, I’m hoping to do a BIG map of the United States, rolling out in time for the holidays. Stay tuned!
Thank you, Sou’wester, for an inspiring and peaceful week! I will be back soon, I’m sure. To close, here is a lovely video my friend Kelly made when she came to pick me up the other day. Make sure you have your sound on!