COLORADO SPRINGS — One man, one brush, one van, one year. A Florida artist has stopped in Colorado Springs on his 50-state road trip to collaborate with local artists and spread positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Drew Devine hit the road in mid-June after being furloughed from his restaurant job in Sarasota, Florida. He's "painting his way across America" to bring art and kindness to people in all 50 states shaken by the pandemic.
"It was disheartening when everything shut down, but I was like I have to get out there and connect with people and show people that they can still care about each other even though everyone is inside and wearing masks," said Devine.
He bought a camper van and then emailed artists from all across the country that were doing good things in their community.
"The plan is to hit all 50 states and I'm 26 states in and I've connected with maybe 15 artists so far," said Devine. "In every state, something new happens. Someones like you should try this artist, or you should do a mural with this artist, or you should try rollerblade painting with this artist, or a watercolor artist."
He says the road trip has allowed him to connect with a wide variety of different artists.
"Some of the most memorable artists, I got to paint the side of a fruit and vegetable stand down south and that was fun," said Devine. "There's an artist called Jene Cherouny, she's out of Vermont, and she does this technique where she paints with rollerblades. I had a pair of rollerblades in my van so I was like let's make a piece of art together, " said Devine.
Now that he's in Colorado Springs, he's looking forward to the slopes and learning new techniques from local artists.
"Especially in Colorado, but moreover Colorado Springs, I see so many beautiful murals and I'm dying to connect with one of those mural artists because I've done murals but never on a big scale and I'd love to learn the process," said Devine. "I usually stick to 3-foot by 3-foot canvases and to paint on a really big wall with one of the mural artists around here would definitely
cap off the Colorado part of my trip."
He hopes his art will break down barriers caused by the pandemic and bring unity in a time of much division.
"I love how art breaks down people's guards. You see a person on the street or in a coffee shop and you don't necessarily feel comfortable approaching them. When someone sees me with a brush in my hand and painting on a canvas, they're like that guy is weird too. We're all weird and no one wants to admit it and I'm just out there doing weird stuff and people are like I can talk to him and that's the thing that I try to do. I can reach into communities and spread the message of love and kindness," said Devine.
Once the road trip is complete, he plans to continue adventuring through life and implement the techniques he's learned into his own coffee shop, yoga studio, or art gallery.
"Make the connections, figure out what town I want to be in as a result of this trip long term and that's when I'll start a gallery," said Devine. "
For those interested in becoming a part of his journey, contact him via his Instagram @drew.devine.art or email firstname.lastname@example.org.