When artist Emily Camp lived in Buffalo, New York, as a child, her mom would tell her to pack her bags: They were going to the city for the weekend. That love of travel rubbed off on Camp, now 21. So instead of renewing the lease on her Glendale apartment in January, she'll load her car (currently a Jeep Patriot, though she's on the lookout for a larger sprinter van) with art supplies and embark on a painting tour of the fifty states, which she'll pay for by selling her art via a GoFundMe campaign.
Camp, a self-taught artist, creates surrealist acrylic paintings; she says that reflecting on her string of gallery showings inspired her to combine art with her enthusiasm for travel. "What if," Camp remembers wondering, "I could do this [trip], and by doing, show other people that it's possible to follow those dreams before it's a comfortable space...to just take that step forward and make it happen?"
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This 50 Paints in 50 States project doesn't mark Camp's first foray into art-funded adventure. After high school, she sold her work in order to spend time volunteering and teaching at Indian and Kenyan orphanages for two months. This project will be more ambitious, though, because of her net mileage and duration. The first leg of Camp's trip will take her from Austin to Oklahoma, an eight-hour stretch scored to Johnny Cash, classic rock and podcasts or audiobooks. From there, she'll wend her way to Florida and up the East Coast. She anticipates spending about a week in each state, dividing her time between experiencing the natural landscape, visiting tourist sites and conversing with locals.
"My work is very soul-based," Camp explains, so she wants to get a genuine feel for each state and then translate it to canvas.
Camp plans to sell art to pay for the 52-week journey (her pieces are available via GoFundMe, online at BigCartel, and there's a monthly donation option, too). The campaign's $20,000 goal covers fuel costs, emergency money, art supplies, a DSLR camera, a rooftop cargo carrier, lodging when she's not staying with friends of friends, and other necessities. Camp also hopes to use her trip to aid other artists in pursuing passion projects; she wants to reserve 20 percent of the money from tour sales and divide it among fifty recipients of her new "Reach for Your Dreams" scholarship.
For now, Camp is painting, planning and packing, gearing up for her January departure. For more information, visit her website and GoFundMe page, or see her art in person at Kaladi Coffee Roasters at 2823 South Broadway.