Take one vintage 1966 DeCamp travel trailer in near-mint condition, combine it with a dose of creative enthusiasm and elbow grease, mix in the contemporary paintings of one artist, and you get the Happy Camper Mobile Art Gallery.
Kristina Wentzell, a fine art oil painter, was vacationing in Maine last summer when she discovered a 1966 DeCamp travel trailer for sale.
Intrigued by the sight of the robin’s egg-blue camper, Wentzell set about raising funds on Kickstarter, an online crowd-sourcing funding platform for creative projects to purchase and renovate the vintage trailer.
“Kickstarter is an online crowd-sourcing funding platform for creative projects,” she said.
“It’s open to anyone with an idea. I created a page on Kickstarter outlining my project with photos and a video and offered rewards at different pledge levels. Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing funding policy, meaning you only get paid if you make your financial goal—and supporters only get charged once the goal has been met. I offered cards and paintings as rewards and used the funding to help cover some of the costs of purchasing the camper and its renovations.”
Her page on Kickstarter lists $2,655 pledged as of September 12, the date recorded for reaching the fundraising goal.
“When I first saw the camper for sale … and was kicking around the idea for a mobile gallery, I posted a photo of it on my Facebook page with a description of my idea and invited feedback. The response was huge. Folks were so excited about it, and that was when it was just an idea. Now that is it finished the response has grown exponentially,” Wentzell said.
The Kickstarter campaign covered about one half of the total expense of purchase and renovations.
The renovation process—in which the couple removed closets and appliances and saved the original birch paneling to create gallery walls illuminated by 1960s light fixtures—has preserved the mid-century modern charm of the camper, Wentzell said in a news release.
“We put a lot of energy and elbow grease into the project, doing all the construction and remodeling and sewing ourselves,” Wentzell said.
Wentzell’s idea for creating a mobile art gallery emerged from the recent and growing trend of gourmet food trucks and other mobile businesses.
“I’m always on the lookout for new and creative ways to get my art out into the world and this just seemed like the perfect avenue,” says Wentzell who also exhibits her work in fine art fairs throughout New England.
“The response to the Happy Camper has been overwhelmingly positive,” Wentzell said.
In addition to exhibiting her work throughout New England at art fairs, street festivals, retirement homes, and gallery walks, she has been showing “100 Paintings for the Holidays for $100 or Less” inside the trailer at her home studio.
“I’ve created an art gallery that is fun and approachable,” she said.
Kristina Wentzell Fine Art
Kristina Wentzell has studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, in France with Parsons School of Design, and she received her BFA at the Massachusetts College of Art.
Wentzell has always been a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to marketing her work and is always looking for new ways to get her art out in the public eye. She hosts her own garden and art shows at her home, an annual 100 painting sale during the holidays, and has created “CSArt: A Year of Flowers” where she offers an art share of floral paintings in the same vein as the popular CSA farm shares.
Address: 87 Ashuelot Street, Keene, NH 03431
Phone: (603) 903-5902
Happy Camper Mobile Art Gallery
Our happiest moments always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.