Jim Mott: Itinerant Artist Project
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROCHESTER, NY - NOV. 12, 2001
The artist's quest still has a place in many people's hearts. Even their spare bedrooms. Jim Mott, a landscape painter from Rochester, New York, visited 29 American cities and 17 states in two and a half months during the spring of 2000. He traded his landscape studies for the hospitality--primarily lodging and meals--of strangers.
Mott continued his "Itinerant Artist Project" with a Fall 2000 tour of New England, and several east coast tours this past year. All told, Mott has covered 14,000 miles over 19 weeks on tour. His 43 stops have covered 23 states and yielded 250 paintings. He plans to continue his project for the next several years.
Mott, 41, devised this project as a cultural experiment: part revival of the tradition of the itinerant artist and part exploration of a unique survival strategy. But above all, he saw it as an artistic and social adventure.
Mott has gone where people would have him. At first, Mott procured hosts through friends of friends, a simple Web site, and an advertisement in the Nation. For the first tour, he received at least 60 offers from potential hosts and visited almost half of them in his ambitious journey. Since then, word of mouth and an upgraded Web site have put him in touch with new hosts.
"Jim was remarkable in his capacity to integrate into a family such as ours," said Decorah, Iowa host Adrian Strand. "He was able to find a real graceful balance between spending time with each of us, and spending time with the group, and maintaining his own personal boundaries. The few days he spent here was a really special blessing for us."
Traveling in a maroon '92 Honda Civic, Jim has executed small oil paintings, ranging from a 6 x 10 rendering of the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona to a 3 x 5 depiction of the Los Alamos fires. Commonly, he paints domestic scenes (wild flowers, stone houses, seascapes) on 5 1/2 x 8 mat board primed with gesso. He carries the freshly-painted work around with him in a portable drying box. At each stop, Mott leaves behind a painting, or else arranges to send one after his return to Rochester.
Mott's project embraces discovery-both his own and that of his audience. His hosts frequently comment on how Mott's work helps them view their own landscapes anew.
"What impressed me, Jim walked in and immediately did a great painting," said Chicago host Colette Novich. " I never had such an appreciation of a Chicago alley as after I looked at his painting. He makes things beautiful that you might not have otherwise thought of that way."
"I learned from Jim to look in different places for beauty," Strand said. "His paintings helped me see beyond my own limited understanding of scenes. It was a surprise to see something that I had studied for years with such color and richness, almost as if I hadn't found the proper expression for such beauty."
Mott's recently launched Web site (www.jimmott.com) displays and sells his work, including prints, postcards and greeting cards. Along the way, Mott has kept extensive journal entries and hopes to publish a book of his travels. Much of the writing and art can be viewed at www.jimmott.com.
Mott's stops have included:
Arizona: Portal, Tucson and Phoenix
Personal Background Information: see Artist Profile.