Meet Jim Mott, itinerant artist

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Rebecca Crowell shared with me the story of Jim Mott, who was featured this morning on the Today Show. Jim travels the country trading his paintings for food and a warm place to stay. He just happened to stay with Rebecca on one of his trips, which is where the Today Show caught up with him.

Since September, Jim has been to 29 states and traveled about 1,000 miles a week without a cell phone, Blackberry, or computer. He confesses that he doesn't care much for traveling, but he struck out because he felt art was too disconnected from everyday life.

I'm always looking for stories of how artists promote and share their work in creative ways. (Feel free to leave yours below.)

Watch the Jim Mott segment.

Image (c) Jim Mott, Otter Cliffs.

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5 thoughts on “Meet Jim Mott, itinerant artist”

  1. I have to admit this was always sort of a dream of mine when I was younger and didn’t have a family, financial commitments and so on. In fact I had originally hoped to avoid all these things and live in a turret in Paris if I remember correctly. That was before doughter #1 came along and central heat seemed like a good idea. For awhile I lived in NYC in the late 70’s and sold my little watercolor cards in Central Park every day with my dog who of course wore a red bandana…..but reading this makes me sigh. I think it’s just great. Thanks for sharing the story.

  2. Hi Alyson, Nice to “meet” you. Thanks for taking an interest in the Itinerant Artist Project. I have to make one correction: I only went through 12 states on my Fall 07 Tour. Since starting the project in 2000, I have done some sort of exchange for art in 30 states. The 29th was indeed on the last tour, in Minnesota (#30 was on a subsequent short trip to Florida). In Minnesota I traded a painting for breakfast at a diner, mainly to get Minnesota on the list and also to practice for the theatrics of trading a painting for lunch at a restaurant in Wisconsin for the NBC cameraman. NBC let me know in advance that they wanted that. Normally the project is more about setting up a thoughtful context for gift exchange with my hosts, not about stunts (although the bartering can be fun). Meanwhile, speaking of statistics, I’ve been on the road a total of about 7 months (averaging about one month per year). It is a very challenging, very enriching change of pace!

  3. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Rebecca: Cool. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I so wish they (the TV show) would have talked about your art, too. 🙂 Jim: Thanks for stopping in and giving us the real skinny. I hope we’ll hear more from you!

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