Touring, Teaching and Talking
Some of the greatest wishes people have looking back on their lives is to have traveled more and interacted with more interesting people. Well Lucas Spivey won’t have that regret at all. Lucas is the founder of Culture Hustlers, a podcast featuring some of the most incredible artists and musicians around that he does from a vintage trailer that he tows with a vintage ambulance!
I love to find Happy Campers here and Lucas definitely fits that description having traveled over 22,000 miles and visited 42 states so far and produced some great podcasts and art in the form of Culture Hustlers in the form of over 2,000 conversations.
Lucas is one of the people who share my vision that today an artist can truly make their own dent in the world. While it takes a combination of a great art and the ability to promote oneself, the opportunity today is only limited by the kind of time and work someone is willing to put in. In other words, there is no more limitation imposed by “the industry” doing nothing more than protecting itself from itself.
But this is all about Happy Campers enjoying stressless camping and that’s Lucas as he traverses these United States in his 1973 converted ambulance with his ’57 Shasta camper dancing at the end of the trailer hitch.
Of course what would conversations with artists be if it were not held in the proper setting and that setting is inside the Shasta trailer that has been loved on by artists as well. The Shasta is referred to as the Mobile Incubator and showcases contemporary design products such as a mosaic table designed by artist Kate Jessop, laser cut signage by Tieton Mosaic and sconces by GrayPants Inc. The upholstery is from Pendleton Woolen Mills and artist Michèle Fandel Bonner. The walls of the Mobile Incubator are a 1,000+ piece wooden mosaic hand constructed by Lucas Spivey himself. The incubator was constructed at Mighty Tieton, an artisan business incubator in Central Washington State.
When Lucas comes to town he’s almost always an instant celebrity due to the unusual vehicle and its tailgater and he seeks out not the most famous artists around, but those who are just below the radar. People flock to the trailer and why wouldn’t they - he sets up a beautiful vintage-style awning along with some lush fake grass and even a pink flamingo.
“A lot of people would try to find the most famous people they could find but I’d rather interview people and get stories that nobody’s heard. One way I won’t find them is if they’ve already been in the media or on a podcast.”
The whole idea started with Lucas simply wanting a really cool office for himself. But then it sort of took over with the interior becoming that 1,000-piece wooden mosaic.
More and more he listened to others and the idea of traveling and talking to artists who are making it happen for themselves became an idea. Now it’s a reality. And it’s more than just a well-done podcast, but Culture Hustlers is the story of these artists making their way so that, through their experience, other artists can learn as well and make their own ways.
For those who might think a vintage trailer is a great project, perhaps it might be. Lucas’ trailer started out as a project indeed with nearly a dozen or so bullet holes in it along with dozens of bee hives. No, not the hairdo. The real stinger.
From there he found a mini fridge in coral so that’s what color the kitchen, which is at the front of the trailer, would just have to be.
On top of both the trailer and the ambulance is an array of solar panels to keep the podcast and now video series powered.
Various cities each present some incredible people. Some cities are just a quick overnight, others have weeks of people to talk to. “I have a goal of meeting as many people as I can. There is no end date in sight. My goal is every community in the United States.”
Lucas says that artists today have some incredible tools including social media, drop shipping, apps for finance, accounting and crowd funding. Today a connected individual can easily put out a request for someone to handle books or shipping and they get a response quickly with qualified individuals.
If someone’s “thing” is shipping or accounting or woodworking or playing saxophone the opportunities to collaborate are almost unlimited. When I talked to Scotty and Roxanne Blinn they said the same thing - the digital world present a whole new sea of possibilities such as recording one album in multiple places.
“It’s a double-edged sword because all the tools are at your fingertips but you have to be able to master all the pieces too. There are literally no successful businesses on this planet that are solo ventures.
The good artists find out the one thing that they’re good at besides their art which could be finance, trademarking, design or whatever and you can find people who can join your project as freelance.
It’s a really interesting time right now.
How could I possibly be bored - every time I meet someone new and learn how they strategize things I completely melt. ”
The reaction Lucas gets in any town is interesting and he can barely stop at a traffic signal without getting noticed.
“In Orlando I pulled over in front of Ripley’s and I got out of the van and was standing on the roof of the van and this car full of girls drove by and someone shouted, ‘you’re a legend.’ I can only imagine that I had bumped into them when I was there the year before.”
He also gets a lot of people requesting weed. And still others ask if this is a food truck.
“I get invited to college campuses and city parks. Sometimes I just park it and open it up to the public.
At just about every stop light people roll down their window and say ‘hey, that’s cool!’ Whatever it was during their day I took them out of that. Sometimes people need to be brought back to the fun side of things and a lot of people take selfies.
Free business advice for artists.”
Sounds like Lucas’ way of life might be a good piece of advice for a lot of us.