West Coast Move-SF to Seattle

Two years after leaving my job and home in San Francisco in search of a place to live that I can afford, where art can be my first priority, and where community is strong, I have found an exceptional opportunity. My friend, artist Sara Everett, decided to buy a house in West Seattle, to share with another artist. I am that lucky other artist. It is on the small side to support two art practices, but we love it, and are literally knocking down walls and putting in floors to make it happen.

In this transitional period, by way of service exchanges or small contributions to shared living spaces--supported by first unemployment, then a tiny retirement, and best of all (the way I always prefer to roll), painting sales—I have managed to help a friend through the final year of her life, to graduate from a digital design training program, and to carve out painting, family, and exploring time in Montana, which produced not only one of my favorite animal portraits ever, but also some good friends as a result. I’ve also gotten myself and a chunk of art supplies from there to Seattle.

This final step out of the Bay Area, however, has to be done within a narrow window. Thus no time to fit in a commission or even to wait on the uncertainty of selling paintings. So I am reaching out to my broader community for help with basic moving expenses. (I can’t help wondering what would have happened if GoFundMe had existed when I was accepted to Parsons Paris……but I digress.)

I plan to move my belongings from storage in Alameda to Seattle the end of October. I will have my very modest UC retirement to help me get established in Seattle, but will cover moving expenses with your help. These include the cost of a flight back to SF; a Penske moving truck and insurance to drive my belongings and art work to Seattle + loading and packing supplies + labor for load and unload; rental of a vehicle + insurance while in the Bay Area to haul away surplus items and tie up final business; storage/rent overlap; GoFundMe fees; and print costs.

I would like to offer contributors their choice of a 5” x 7” print from my nascent digital art portfolio, for any contribution over $50. It is a small token, I know, but it is one I very much want to give. The Klimt Deer series is based on a photo belonging to my brother-in-law, Erik Kalsta, which was shot on one of the wildlife cameras he has installed around his Big Hole River Valley ranch in southwest Montana to track wildlife and spot transitioning predators. I used it as the jumping off point for a couple of pieces over my time in Montana this last year.
[Just note the number of the print you would prefer in the comments section of your donation.]

This support means a great deal to me.

I’ve worked very hard to keep the vision of what is truly important in front of me, as I have tried to discover the place where it would be most possible. I have no illusions about art-making being easy anywhere—but certain fundamentals have to factor into the mix to even have a shot at getting the work done. I was ready for and in need of community, and the one that has risen up to meet me, as I have, quite ungracefully, found my way along over these last two years, is a thing of beauty. I am humbled by the kindness I have experienced. And the toughness—and kindness—and understanding it has forced out of me.

As I make this latest transition, it is with hope and excitement about putting down roots in a place less precarious, and building upon those established over these last two years.

As most of you know, my retirement “safety net” is not actually big enough to hold a fish, and I am grateful for any funds I can raise to help cover the costs of this move. It would be impossible without help. I know full well how many friends and family are struggling with their own limitations and challenges, and so I truly understand if you can’t help. For those who can, I am confident that by the new year, there will be art again, and I promise to pass on the karma every way that I can. I am grateful that you would consider helping with this transition.

UPDATE 3: Well, honestly, I’m grateful this is the first, and I’m pretty sure only, bad-news update. Unfortunately, the “experienced crew” I hired for the Bay Area truck pack were not experienced, and it slowed things down from a max 4-hr pack to a grueling 6-hr one. So I have adapted my goal to include the additional $260 cost. I hit the road today to Eugene, and then Seattle. Almost there. What a very long trip it’s been. Please know that every single person who has helped me along this way is in my heart as I drive away. Thank you.

UPDATE 2: I’ve spent this last month in Seattle tearing out filthy carpet, completing the dry-walling/mudding on the ground floor area that Sara and friends opened up by tearing out a couple of walls, sharing the painting and the cleaning of the whole house, and overseeing the Russian floor installers, Vladimir and Alexi, to make the house move-in-able. Now I am back in the Bay Area to load up my belongings and artwork, and drive it all back to Seattle.

You can see the house we’ve been transforming with a whole lotta love and sweat and the essential help of a few good friends and family here: https://montanamurdoch.com/2017/10/15/from-house-to-homestudio/

We have come to love it. The neighbors are all fellow land-trusters—lovely people, lots of kids, which I find surprisingly wonderful—the house is sound and we’ve made big strides towards making it beautiful, and functional for art-making. I am beyond excited to set up my studio and dive into the Art part of this enterprise.

 UPDATE 1: link to video with a little more information about the Land Trust house and the beginning of fix-up: https://vimeo.com/235169707
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Montana Murdoch 
Berkeley, CA
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