Hello Art Show Folks,

I have been through some major life changes recently. As a result, I have decided to make the plunge and venture out to the art fair world to sell my photography. I am working outside of the US right now but at the beginning of 2018, I will be back in the country and ready to take on art fairs full time. And, I will be doing it while traveling in my SUV and a travel trailer...at least that is the plan at the moment.

Are there others folks out there that are "location independent" and working art shows from their RV or travel trailer? I am interested in learning from those who have blazed this trail. What are the big considerations? Am I crazy for considering this? This information will be very helpful as I move forward to this new life in 2018.

Thanks in advance for your advice/comments!



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  • Hi Mike, I've been living in my RV and doing shows for the last 3 years. It's far easier on the west coast than on the East. Lots of BLM land out here where you can live free or cheaply. I spend winters in Quartzsite AZ in the winter where you can stay on BLM land from the 15th of September till the 15th of April for $180 (this includes water and sewage dump). I don't get there till November because it doesn't cool down till then. It averages temperatures from 40 degrees to 75 degrees in the winter. I also rent a self storage unit there ($75 for a 10 X 20) where I keep my supplies and finished pieces (I do metal work). I'm now using a 6 X 10 cargo trailer, tall enough to stand up in, as a portable studio. I spend the winter creating work to sell at art fairs during the summer.
    In the summer I head to Cottage Grove Oregon as my base camp. I have a storage unit there too. $110 for a 10 X 20. I keep my show equipment there along with finished pieces. I also keep my 2 14 foot kayaks there. East of Cottage Grove is lots of cheap BLM land for camping. This year I'm doing 6 shows from California to Washington. I try to do one show a month.
    It's working really good for me. Good luck!


    • Hello Ralph,

      I have a follow-up question to a long ago discussion. How do you purchase your liability insurance when you are a fulltime RVer? I checked with RLI and they want my business to have a physical address. I have a physical address with a mail forwarding service but that does not suit them. Advice?

      THanks, Mike

    • Hi Ralph, Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like you have worked out the system that suites you for life on the road, creating artwork and attending art fairs. I am just studying up on the boondocking opportunities on BLM lands. I would love to take advantage of that but it sounds like the West is where it is concentrated. I will have my home base in Arkansas but that doesn't prevent me from going anywhere my SUV + travel trailer can go. I might consider fairs that are out West more for that reason. You have given me some ideas to think about. I hope our paths cross out there on the road. Thanks again, Mike

  • We have been selling our handmade jewelry at shows and living in our 40 ft. motorhome for 17 years. We are fulltime in the MH and have two cats travelling with us.  You are not crazy for thinking this is the way to do it, because it certainly is!We tow a mini-van so the RV never has to come in the show.  Instead of worrying about bedbugs we go to sleep on our own 500 thread count sheets and use our own clean bathroom. We often park right at the show, so it's very convenient.  We are based in the winter in an RV park in Naples, Fl and have traveled the whole country.  The first three years we did shows in Washington state where our kids live. On our way out, we have done shows in many states including Colorado and California. We have travelled the country and made money and have loved every minute of it! We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

    • Hi Gary and Maureen,

      I have a follow-up question to a discussion from almost a year ago. I am about to get my RV and hit the road to art fairs. I checked into getting liability insurance with RLI and they needed a physical address in order to provide the insurance. I told them that I do not have one. I have a mail forwarding service with a permanent address. They want me to have a physical place for address. How have you purchased liability insurance when you are a fulltime RVer? Any advice?

      Thanks! Mike

    • Is your motorhome a mobile workshop also? Do you make your art, from scratch, in the motorhome?

      • Hi Larry, I am not sure if your question is meant for me, but here's my answer anyway ;-) I have not yet purchased my travel trailer but my intent is to have an office nook in the trailer by removing a bunkbed set and putting small counter and shelves. My medium is photography. I will have a 17" printer and my computer for processing prints. I plan to print, mat and package my prints in my travel trailer. I am playing with floorplans now that I think will work for my needs.

        • Michael.

          Been there, done that ;-)

          Be careful of climate control. When you are doing shows or not in the home, the temperatures and humidity make not be kept up, if generators or outside hookups are not being run. This will have a deleterious effect on your equipment, ink, materials etc.

          The basement storage in many units is not large enough to accommodate large, framed prints put in vertical. You may want to look at a class c. The space above the driving section is fairly large, in many.

          A Toy hauler, is also good. I'm looking for one now.

          Are you going to carry a saw for the framing also? If not it means pre-cutting a lot of frames and carry the chops with you, for the different sizes.

          Space requirements to lay out prints to allow for extra drying, prior to matting is a concern.

          You should invest in custom locks for the basement doors. Most are a standard lock that everyone has keys for. Not good for our trade.

          If you pick a unit with a canopy, a sidewall system will allow work in inclement weather, outside.

          If you want to PM me your rough plans, I'll try to give you some constructive criticism.


          • Hi Larry,

            Thank you for your perspective given you "have been there, done that." You raise a number of issues that I will need to address. That is what I am hoping to do is consider all the issues and have some sort of plan going into this. I will be purchasing my travel trailer in December/January. Thank you for your offer to talk through my plans. I will be in touch soon. Mike

      • Yes. Some of it gets done outside. We have a jewelers bench that slides out from the basement.
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