Independent Artist Podcast-hosts Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong

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After 20 years of racing around the country and playing with fire in the studio, the world stopped. This year of COVID has been a time of reflection and growth for me. Although I kept myself busy creating glass in partnership with Renee, the pattern interrupt served as an opportunity to change the way forward.

I missed the relationships I had built on the road as well as the collectors who inspire what we make. Glassblowing is a physical medium and the task of constructing a temporary storefront most weeks of the year takes it's physical toll. I will continue to breathe life into molten glass as long as I draw breath, however, I learned this year that there are other sources of inspiration that fill me with passion.

Being an artist is not only what we do, it is who we are. Every story from the road inspires me to work harder and be better.

Record Store

Since 2002, Will Armstrong has spent ten to twenty weekends per year on the road; bouncing between gallery openings, festivals and his studio. He has steadily racked up over half a million miles on his vertebrae and on a rotating cast of trusted (though admittedly abused) vehicles through those years.

The road holds countless stories and in his work, you will find them.

Tales of out of the way honky-tonks, movie palaces, cheap motels and barrels of gas paid on questionable credit; stories of both roadside dives or majestic theaters and the musicians that crawl in and out. The real show sometimes taking place on the street. Where does music come from? Where does it go to be heard? Sometimes the artist takes a fragment of a lyric out of context and tells a new story to change or re-emphasize the meaning.

Will’s work is the soundtrack to a road trip; songs and artists are embedded on the towns they made famous. Bo Diddley, Johnny Cash and Deke Dickerson are as much as an influence as Frank Miller and Heinrich Kley. The lines of the road have become indistinguishable from the lines of the pen; just as the subject from location.


Mission Statement

The concept behind the Independent Artist Podcast started after my first meeting as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA). The topic of the meeting was related to member engagement. I spent the following week pondering the issue and I identified that the art show community had been isolated from each other for over a year. The pandemic had left us all longing for the connection from collectors and from each other that feeds our inspiration and motivates our drive to create our artwork. I desired to make a show that would highlight the amazing talents of art show artists and would share the collective experiences from our journeys.

I completed my Bachelor of Arts-theatre acting degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 1993. My training in this form was a skill that was left untapped for 25 years and I was ready for that to circle back around. I approached a fellow NAIA board member, Will Armstrong, about my idea and asked him if he had any experience with podcasting. He replied that he did not, however, he had theatre experience, as well as 15 years as a DJ for independent radio. As our conversation progressed our spark ignited, and we agreed to venture forward as co-hosts for our new podcast. Over time, we discovered our perfect pairing of skills that, not only made us good partners in this project, but great friends, as well.

I began to define the tangible components needed to launch the project, while Will and I actively communicated about the creative aspects of the show. We worked together with the full Board of Directors of the NAIA to define the relationship between the podcast and the organization. It was determined that the NAIA would operate as a founding sponsor of the podcast and that we were granted the use of the name of the former NAIA newsletter, The Independent Artist, as the podcast name. This arrangement would allow us autonomy over the creative aspect of the project and would create our personal stake in its success. In turn, we would shine a big light on the NAIA and share the advocacy that we and the other board members would be working on for the benefit of the road show artist and their marketplace.

We intend to create a show that is engaging and entertaining, and yet, lets us get to know each other a little better. We want this to be a place where we celebrate our successes, learn from our struggles, and connect through our pain. We hope you will join us weekly as we share in this journey together.

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Independent Artist Podcast/ /(715) 377-3210

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