How to Create a Free Artist Retreat by House Sitting

19 Mar, 2024

How to Create a Free Artist Retreat by House Sitting

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Photographer, screenwriter, and house sitter “Robin” maximizes house sitting to create free artist retreats. Read on to learn just how Robin makes the most of house sitting as a retreat for artists allowing him to focus on his work.

How to Create a Free Artist Retreat by House Sitting

artist retreat

By Robin

It’s important for artists to have time, space, and inspiration to create. Traveling is one of the best ways to get inspired. By seeing new places, meeting new people, and gaining new experiences and perspectives, artists can reignite their creative fires. Travel is a luxury though, and isn’t always affordable, especially for longer periods. But what if you could make your own free artist retreat?

House sitting gives you the same freedoms to focus on your creativity as formal retreats for artists, while allowing you to explore and be inspired by new environments. If you have distractions at home and feel the need to see new places or meet new people to be inspired, it can be incredibly beneficial to simply change your environment and break your regular routine.

House Sitting Is Ideal for Artists

If you are an artist who doesn’t require any specialty equipment (such as a writer,  photographer, musician with a portable setup, illustrator, knitter, film maker, designer, or performing artist), you have the freedom to make your work from any location.

woman playing guitar with sketches and artwork in the background
Housesitting can create a clam peaceful atmosphere for you the artist to focus

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

House sitting is ideal for these artists. By looking after someone’s house and pet, you have the opportunity to travel without the expense of accommodation, which is usually the biggest travel expense. Sitting assignments range from a few days to several months in one location.

Benefits of House Sitting Vs. Formal Artist Retreats

House and pet sitting can effectively be used as a self-run free artist retreat. One of the biggest benefits of choosing to do a house sit, rather than a formal retreat or renting a house in the countryside, is the cost savings.

You’re already exchanging your time as a sitter in return for accommodations, so you won’t be consuming utilities at your home or paying bills at the house you are caring for.

Create your very own retreat for artists for free

Often, formal retreats require a fee for your stay, similar to property rental costs, and/or an exchange of your work or skills in the form of a presentation or donation of your work. Furthermore, the application process is competitive, cumbersome, and costly, and it can take many months to learn whether or not you’ve been accepted.

artists stroking a dog near his drawing easel
Living as a housesitter for an extended period can help an artist plus the company of pets can be very relaxing

Photo by Maria Orlova

But you can create the artist retreat that you want by simply bringing along your tools and ideas to the housesit. It is a perfect opportunity to focus on being productive within your art form while visiting a different city, country or even just another neighbourhood in your own community. If you’re looking after pets during your house sit, you’ll also have the benefit of company!

House Sitting Expands Professional and Creative Networks

Building contacts is also hugely important to artists – whether it’s meeting new customers, networking with potential collaborators, or expanding a supportive network. You never know who you’re going to meet and where! Home owners frequently choose sitters with similar interests. This can lead to an introduction to someone working in your field or a recommendation for work opportunities.

Putting yourself out in the world with your creative endeavours will help build your connections across the country – or internationally if you choose to house sit overseas. Quite often, homeowners are frequent travelers (hence the need for a house sitter) and their network can become yours, too.

Even if you don’t like to actively network, your network can grow simply by becoming part of the community of homeowners and other sitters.

the dog is the artist's subject in this artist retreat
Make the pet your subject in this artistic sojourn. You get free access to the model for as long as the housesit lasts

Photo by Jason Leung

Create Your Own Free Artist Housesit

Choose a city or location specific to your practice to make the most of your free housesit retreat. Your work might be strongly inspired by nature, so you might want to choose a rural location where you can wander through forests while dreaming of a new line of clothes for your fashion label.

You might choose a busy city like Paris to observe elegant smokers to influence a new e-cigarette design, or you might prefer the bustling city of London to visit hundreds of galleries who might show your next exhibition.

In addition, you might want to set yourself a project with a deadline in order to create new work during your free artist retreat. The deadline is taken care of because you’re going to have to leave the house sit when the owners come back!

artists holding up his painting of a cat
As an artist who is pet sitting the pets you care for can be a real inspiration for your work

Photo by Yuri Kabisher

A housesit as an artist retreat in summary

Don’t forget you will need to take excellent care of the pets and home you’re sitting, but that leaves you time to focus on exploring a new environment, meeting new people and making new work during your free  retreat!

Whether you want to write a chapter of a romantic comedy novel, knit a surfboard cover, or do a street performance in a new city, house sitting is one of the best ways to do this as a self-guided free artist housesit retreat.

To register as a House-sitter follow this link
To register as a Homeowner follow this link

Do you have a property available for house sitting? Or would you like to try housesitting? Join and find a way to exchange your services for mutual benefit. Join HouseSitMatch today.

what is house sitting

Further reading on housesitting, housesit travel and housesitters

At Housesit we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters and house sitting in Europe useful.

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Top 10 tips for cat sitting

Top dog sitting tips for beginners















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