Sean Spellman x Drift Palm Springs
September 26, 2023
Artist, musician, and perpetual Drifter Sean Spellman is our kind of traveler. Always seeking inspiration. Always searching for the unknown. Never satisfied with the status quo. He spent 10+ years living a nomadic lifestyle that would have made Kerouac proud, and created works of art and music along the way that embody the minimal, inspired vibe we love. When we set out to create our desert oasis in Palm Springs we knew there was nobody better to adorn our many walls. We sat down with this multi-hyphenate to talk all things travel, creativity, and more in this exclusive Q&A for a little peek behind the brand.
DRIFT: So, what were your initial thoughts on the Palm Springs Property?
SS: it’s an aesthetic that works very well with my paintings. I think working on the hotel to make the murals was an exercise in restraint, because it would’ve been very easy to go overboard, but I had to constantly remind myself to do as much as I can with the least amount of paint as possible. The Drift brand is simple and clean. I like that. The property definitely inspired me. As I said, the clean, minimalist nature of the location and its architecture, and that way it’s kind of hidden, even amongst the density of downtown Palm Springs, made it very easy to work with.
DRIFT: Did you have anything in mind for the hotel before you started painting?
SS: Truthfully, I really only had an idea of what I was going to do for the large mural above the restaurant, and I realized once I arrived that that idea was not going to work, so, I was basically just winging it, trying to really absorb the space architecturally and attempting to complement its visually with paintings that fit with how the building had already come together. At times it’s really difficult to do that without landscaping and any other colors in place, and without people on the space, but working with the forms of the building and the clean architectural lines, it presented a very neutral canvas to work with, which made it very fun.
DRIFT: What inspires you about the desert? Is there anything you’re drawn to? Visually, spiritually, or in any other way?
SS: It’s remarkable how the desert is a place that can be seemingly devoid of life much of the time but then has moments of an abundance of life, particularly after rain. A place with such a sense of vast, openness and quietness…unique plant species, wild rock formations, extreme temperature fluctuations…its all so foreign to me being a native New Englander. I love driving out there and sitting looking around at cacti, listening to the hum of the Earth.
DRIFT: If you could simplify your vibe as an artist down to three words what would they be?
SS: Seeking simplicity and progression…at least that’s what I would like to think.
DRIFT: We like to think of our traveler as someone who likes to do things their own way and forge their own path - what does that concept mean to you?
SS: Right now I’m trying to figure out how to be as true as possible to myself in my work while at the same time staying as busy as I can to support my family. Eventually, the goal is to live more simply, with the least amount of distractions and responsibilities, in order to focus purely on family life and unadulterated self expression whether that be making paintings, singing songs, or cooking dinner together. Like many folks before me, I’ve learned that making art for a “living”, like life, is a constant balance between compromises, especially when you have a family.
DRIFT: You once called yourself a “perpetual road tripper” - do you still identify with the nomadic lifestyle?
SS: Well, now that I have kids, I don’t really trip as much, but I find much inspiration from travel, and I always will. Basically, by trying to interpret the things that I’ve seen and done in my life… at times to process them, and other times as a form of remembrance.
DRIFT: Is there anything else that inspires you?
SS: Lately my inspiration has been coming from the challenge to create work at times when I may not be inspired to create anything at all.
DRIFT: And where do you call home now?
SS: I’m currently calling Westerly, Rhode Island home. I struggle with feeling at home anywhere, really. I've felt that way for a long time. Particularly because there’s so much beauty out there that I would like to still see myself, and to show my children. I’m hoping to get up to Nova Scotia this summer, dig in the tide pools, hopefully get some waves, meet some ramblers.