This week, Eric and Jeremy are back with Geoff Britton, an artist, farrier and Marine veteran from Nebraska. After enlisting in 2013, he shipped out in 2014, where he served as a small-craft mechanic. When his time in the military began to come to a close, he decided to get onto social media to promote his art. He started by painting empty liquor bottles he found around the barracks and it all went off from there. Now he works on his art and as a farrier to make a living. Listen in as he chats with our hosts about his decision to stay, and then leave, the military, his decision to get into the art world, van life and more.
Eric Girouard 0:00
This is bucket talk weekly podcast where people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive, but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trade and construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discussed what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day.
Jeremy Perkins 0:29
This is Jeremy and Eric here with bucket talk powered by Brian. On this episode, we have Jeff Britton, Jeff Britton goes by the handle art of the wanderer. But before we jump in, Eric, what's been going on?
Eric Girouard 0:40
All right, as you guys know, we like to have a lot of fun on here and usually tell some crazy stories. This week, we're going to kick off the intro a little bit different. Something really unusual and really shocking kind of happened. In both Jeremy in my day jobs, which is, as you all know, is Brunt you know, we had someone that Jeremy had met became part of the brunt community, Brian family, whatever you call it, that was loving our product went out in the world spent some time showcasing their work editing it up, super proud to share with the world. And like anything, you have people that come in from all Woodworks and try to put people down and then someone came in our community and did that. And we handle those things and deal with those things accordingly. But the most shocking and kind of disturbing behavior was a CEO of another workwear company actually came out of the woodwork, and actually tried to endorse and support that person's behavior of literally online bullying, or whatever you may call it in this modern day age of trying to put someone else down to make themselves feel big. And as you guys know, from this podcast, and from what we do in our day to day jobs, our goal is to try to get as many folks jacked up about getting into the trades, and really starting to get folks that are going to be the people that end up building our future and supporting our future. And so to see not only someone come in like that was disappointing, but then to see a CEO of another work, we're brand commitment support, it is one, it's baffling, it's almost somewhat laughable, because it's a sensually nail in the coffin if we would ever call them out for what they did. But we write a little higher than most. And so we'll leave it at that. But Jeremy, I know was a guy that you you had kind of found from just liking his content in general. And that's kind of how it started. Is that right?
Jeremy Perkins 2:28
Yeah. And to piggyback on it, I mean, this is one of the reasons why we started blocking talk was to empower the trades. And, you know, we're all brothers and sisters out there were ARM and ARM and we need to, we need our brother and sister to help us get through the day in and back us up on a daily basis. And that's what we're trying to do here is back you guys up. And in turn, the community has backed us. And you know, we've had a lot of people reach out publicly and privately saying, you know, pretty much saying their stories that they've encountered and in different situations. And, you know, we definitely want to keep everything in a positive light and power help and educate about the trades not bringing each other down. We're all trying to showcase our stuff to raise awareness and to see somebody within the community, bring somebody down like that, like you said, is really quite appalling. That's kind of where we put our foot down and brothers a family.
Eric Girouard 3:21
Yep, we see it out there. We have a lot of fun, we were asking each other, but when it turns into putting other people down and genuinely bullying and in those things, that's where we draw the line. And we have to speak up and we have to prevent it from happening again. And just know if you're part of the bucket talk community that Brian community, whatever it may be, is, we're not gonna let that happen on our watch. And we've got your back. So we appreciate your support, and we'll keep our eyes out there for that do our best. But anyways, back on to the reason for our show today, thanks to our incredible friend Jeff Britton, who you're gonna get to hear his amazing story very shortly, we are giving every one of the listeners today $10 off their first order on run for $6 or more with code art 10 AR T 10 ft. Listen the episode, you'll know why our 10 is the code. Thanks so much. Let's dig in.
Jeremy Perkins 4:15
All right, we're here today with Jeff Britton, Jeff Britton goes by the handle art for the wanderer. Jeff, welcome.
Geoff Britton 4:22
And what's up, guys, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
Jeremy Perkins 4:25
Awesome. Like was so I started following you early on. I'm super captivated by your story and definitely resonates with me, you being a fellow service member, and you know, I definitely followed you during the time when you were transitioning out. But so I don't spoil it for the rest of the people. I'd like for you to kind of bring us through some of the stuff that you've shared on social media and your journey. Super interesting, but let's get some background like go back as far as you know, high school and even before that, like
Eric Girouard 4:56
up and all that stuff. Yeah, yeah,
Geoff Britton 4:58
no, for sure. So what's up So my name is Jeff James Britton. I'm originally from small town, Nebraska, born and raised about 6500 people now, I joined I enlisted sign the dotted line in 2013 and then shipped out for the Marine Corps in 2014. That was really always the goal. I remember in eighth grade, it just kind of hit me like a truck. I'm like, you know, that's what we're doing. There's no I wasn't a big fan of school or anything like that. And I was like, That's the plan. I just kind of stuck with it. I didn't enlist open contract. I didn't know anything like about the Marine Corps. To be honest, they were just like, here's a giant binder. You know, pick three MLS is and I was like, I don't even know what that means. You know, this one, this one this one? What is an MLS and MLS is it stands for Military Occupational Specialty. So everyone in the military, regardless of branch has a military occupational specialty. And different branches have like different codes or whatever. So in the Marine Corps, it's a four digit code, whereas other branches, it might be a letter and a number or vice
Unknown Speaker 6:01
Jeremy Perkins 6:02
yeah. And so what did you end up settling on?
Geoff Britton 6:05
So I was voluntold if you will be a heavy equipment mechanics. Oh, you know, backhoes, bulldozers, things of that nature, which are something that I was interested in high school, but I didn't even I had a hard time like wrapping around. I didn't know that was the thing in the Marine Corps. I was like, Wait, why do we have tractors in the Marine Corps? What are we doing I don't understand. And so once that MOS school, but then right off the bat got sent to a unit where wasn't going to be doing that job at all. I ended up going to small crafts mechanics course, which is just for outboard boat engines, which is what I did for the majority of my career
Jeremy Perkins 6:46
where you guys run in like, Johnson's Mercury's?
Unknown Speaker 6:50
Yeah. 55 horsepower. Evan routes. Oh, nice. Nice. Yeah. Evident roads, you know?
Geoff Britton 6:59
Yeah, it's a love hate relationship with and they actually right before I was getting out, I think they stopped making outboard engines. Yeah, if I'm not mistaken, or something crazy like that. But when they're on top of their game, they're great when they're not. It's a beast. Yeah,
Jeremy Perkins 7:15
we did. We didn't shift in my service from our boards to inboards with outdrives. So we ended up shifting to Yanmar diesels are definitely a lot more reliable. The only issue was, the best thing about our boards was we always ran to so if you had catastrophic failure on one, you always were able to get back. So
Geoff Britton 7:35
yeah, that would have been nice. I wish they would do that. Now. We are on the the rubber reconnaissance craft. So the inflatable rubber boats with the one outboard so you poke a hole or your engine goes down. You're you're treading water.
Jeremy Perkins 7:49
Yeah, yeah. All right. All right. So you enjoyed it. And you were looking to re enlist or No,
Geoff Britton 7:56
yeah, so no, I love my job. I had a great time, I had a lot of opportunity. I was very fortunate to get went to Airborne School. So I re enlisted, and 2017 for another four years. And then I was kind of at that tipping point where it's like, you know, I don't really know what else I want to do outside of this yet. I do enjoy it. But let's do another four. And we'll we'll figure it out. You know, thinking four years is a long time when it's really not. So yeah, I did that. And then ended up getting orders from Campbell, June, North Carolina, to Camp Pendleton, California. But then I was only there on Camp Pendleton for about a year. And then I finished out my career as a boathouse instructor in Coronado,
Jeremy Perkins 8:38
nice, interesting stuff. So take us through the transition process. What were you looking to do outside? How'd you get set up? You know, what was the next steps for Jeff?
Geoff Britton 8:48
A plan is a funny word, and it's one I should have used. Now, so just to take it back a little bit with the whole social media thing, I started social media, like actively trying to pursue it in 2016, I think it was, you know, because when I joined the Marine Corps, it was everyone had social media, we didn't really use it, it wasn't something you were scrolling all the time, but I was kinda like, I feel like this is gonna become like a bigger part of everyone's lives. Right? And so I didn't want to, you know, I kind of miss like the vine wave, if you will, I never even had vine, but I was like, I don't want to miss the next one. Right. And so I decided to start my own page. Just to kind of like promote myself like, as a side hustle while I was in to make some extra cash is, you know, when you're a lance corporal, you're living paycheck to paycheck no matter how hard you try. And I originally the page was actually called bottles by Britain, because I would take all the empty liquor bottles from the marines and sailors in the barracks because I was like, we have an unlimited supply of canvases. And so they'd all bring it to me and I'd pay it on him, give him back to them, sell them on Instagram and stuff like that, but it kind of hit a point I was like, This name is so limiting, like, painting liquor bottles was and even like, the type of artwork I've done my whole life, it just seemed like a catchy thing at the time. So I was like, I need something very, like broad and vague. Or for the wanderer, that's, you know, that seems like something that can evolve and change 1000 times. So that's ended up being the name, and kind of what I stuck with. And so there's always someone kind of worked on on the side and just tried to grow and, you know, tick tock hadn't been around yet. So I was like, in the event, I do get out. Maybe this could be something, maybe, maybe not, I'm not sure. But it's fun. Regardless, it was not a easy decision, trying to figure out what not to, like, stay in or get out, I talked about it. In I think, probably 100 videos, people were like, do just make a decision. But it was, it was stressful. And I think I got to use tick tock, and YouTube at the time to kind of try and process it. And, you know, you kind of want to get people's opinions. But at the same time, you can only get so many opinions on something before you just like, we just need to pick one and run with it. And so, you know, ultimately, after really thinking on it, I decided to get out of the Marine Corps. And there really wasn't a plan. I knew I wanted to do something. Or I thought I want to do some kind of like freelance or in a documentary photography sense, but I didn't know quite what it was. And there wasn't like a clear roadmap on how to achieve that. So I was just kind of like, well, you know, we got the van because I was doing van life did that for a few years. I got the van paid off. So I own my house. I own my car. How about it and tell
Eric Girouard 11:34
us about the van life? Because that's a hot topic these days.
Geoff Britton 11:37
Yeah, that one got pretty popular. I started van life in 2018. I believe that just originally kind of part time just because me and the buddies on Friday night at two in the morning in the barracks, we'd be like, dude, I'm bored and be like me, too. And be like, you want to go to Zion, which was eight hours away. But you know, we had so much energy and so much caffeine in us, it didn't really matter. So we just take off in the van and do whatever. And I think we originally did that out of my Chevy Cruze. And so I was like, let's just get a van. We do this all the time. When I ended up moving to Coronado, I was like, I can just do this full time, save my money. And I kind of started making videos about that, because I knew with like the, the content I was creating a lot of it was military base. And I was like, Well, you know, if you get out you can't really talk about the military. And you can but you know, you don't want your whole thing to be military related. So for a bit there kind of turned into van life. And I did that from you know, 2018 or so to 2021. I was yeah, it was right after I got out and I bought a new van, built it all out. I was like we're ready to go. It's bigger. Let's hit the road. I took it to the mechanic. I was like, Hey, here's how much I'll give you. Here's like three grand make it bulletproof. You know, it was the inline five cylinder diesel only had like 160,000 miles on it. I was like this thing is gonna last a long time knock on wood. It sounds like just make it bulletproof. And about six hours into my first road trip it threw a rod last all compression was total nobody in like the entire United States wanted to touch this thing. I was like, well, Van life's done there. But that was because that was I think my third van at that point, you know, and I had gotten out and I had a pretty decent savings. I was like, Well, this is gonna be your you know, your home for the foreseeable future. Yeah, let's, let's put a good chunk of change into it. Let's make it awesome. I think that last two months. went south.
Eric Girouard 13:46
That's awesome. Now, those are important parts of your life.
Geoff Britton 13:50
Oh, no kidding. I mean, it was it was quite the shock getting out like, because I was like, that's the plan, you know, this van life forever. I got out of the Marine Corps. That's like the first thing that happened to me within you know, like I said, a couple of months. And so that was like, my house was gone. My car was gone. I was like, Oh, this transition is gonna be fun. Yeah, yeah.
Jeremy Perkins 14:08
You know, life throws you curveballs and then you got to pivot. So you know, what came after van life? How did you pivot from now?
Geoff Britton 14:16
Ah, so, went back to in Braska. Initially, I mean, the road trip was to kind of make my way back home, but not forever. I was gonna go back to California, but I went back home and you know, I was like, oh, yeah, things are a little bit cheaper than they are in California. I can actually buy a truck out here. And so I bought a pickup out there. And for some reason I have this obsession I like I feel any I always have to be able to live out of the vehicle. I'm driving. I don't know what that's all about. But I built this giant, like, wooden cabin. In the bed of the truck. I'd seen a cup on YouTube and I'm not like a builder or anything. I'm your, you know, YouTube it watch three quarters of the video. I got this. I own a couple tools. We'll figure it out kind of tied in And so that's what I did. I built a, a wooden cabinet in the back of the truck. And we did that for a while and then ultimately kind of found myself where I had some family where I ended up tending a farrier school.
Eric Girouard 15:14
What inspired that? Like what was the spark there?
Geoff Britton 15:17
I, I have before farrier school I had no equine experience, like whatsoever, never really been around it. Never I think I've ridden a horse three times in my life. So like zero experience, but you know, just with the whole the van thing, you know, a couple other situations I had gone through, had like a little bit of like a health scare. I was like, Oh, my goodness, we need some stability in our lives. This freelance thing isn't as cool as I thought it'd be. I had a family member reach out to me. He was like, hey, you know, I was Googling for you. I know you're kind of in a tough spot. But I found there's a, there's a farrier school where you can learn how to shoot horses, and it's covered by the GI Bill. And I was like, Well, you know, that sounds like a decent paycheck. And somebody who is like, yeah, you work with horses, minimal human interaction, you kind of just work by yourself. Oh, that sounds pretty cool. I can do that.
Jeremy Perkins 16:15
That's crazy. I kind of went through the same journey there. never dealt with equine in my life. And now I find myself surrounded by it. But you're right. I mean, it's cool. It's it's 100%. rewarding. I like working with animals. I don't know how to shoe a horse. I've seen it done a million times. I figured, with a little practice, I might be able to do it. But there's a lot. Oh, there is and how long was the school?
Geoff Britton 16:41
The school was about eight weeks long. It was it's a pretty solid Crash Course. And unfortunately, I and this is where I was told by Bob Smith, founder of the school, I was the last student to be able to go through the course on the GI Bill. I don't know about other schools, but that one in particular, California, no longer accepted it. But yeah, eight week kind of crash course I really appreciated the way they taught it. It was kind of a cross sprint, sort of teaching math there where it's like, I'll show you once and then you're just doing it.
Jeremy Perkins 17:09
You're Is this something you work under somebody? Or is this you have to go into business for yourself.
Geoff Britton 17:14
It's not unlike other countries in the UK, especially it's like, it's a pretty clear, concise, you have to do this and that and get these turns and do this school before you can do all that. In the US. It's actually not even required that you have to go to school. Definitely recommend going to school, kind of like you said, you watch it the hundreds 1000s of times, but there's still some to I mean, but some guys just kind of hop onto there and start but I would definitely recommend going to school. And then I would say like the next step would be like an apprenticeship. And so that's kind of what I've been doing recently is kind of reaching out and get my name out there and you do some ride alongs for a couple years until you get more reps and more confidence on your belt. But I mean, coming out of the school, you know quite a bit you could go out there on your
Jeremy Perkins 17:58
own and just start shooting. And I think there's a little bit of a misconception it's not like throwing a shoe on a horse and now it's got a set of sneakers. My horses have healthy hooves and do very little cement or rough terrain so my horses aren't shod. And yet they still see a farrier. They still maintain the hoof health. But a lot of people don't realize like you border on, you know, vet care, there's infections. We had one that stepped on a nail, and there's a major vein that goes through there and essentially the horse would have bled out. They don't have the circulatory system that humans do. So down in the hoof area infections can actually kill a horse. So there's a lot more to it than just really, you know, trimming or putting a putting a shoe on a horse but you flex it over the flex all day. You're gone. Let's do I got to pick up something that is farm right. But being the wanderer that you are you're, you're looking elsewhere to set up shop. Correct?
Geoff Britton 19:01
Oh, yeah. And so my girlfriend, she had gotten accepted into her Ph. D program at OSU. So we ultimately knew like, hey, this was just kind of a temporary spot and then we'd be moving to Oregon for her school and then there's horses everywhere. So that's, that's the beauty of freelance and farrier work. There's there's always work.
Jeremy Perkins 19:22
So you got a lot of things going on right now. You got the art business, you have the farrier business, setting up a new location. What's your biggest challenge you're currently facing right now?
Geoff Britton 19:35
Oh, man, um, I would say, you know, kind of back on the transition thing. So many people will kind of talk about and be like, no, just stay and you don't understand like transitioning out of the military or not even just the military. I think anything you do that's like rigorous and structured, and then leaving that is this, this mental game that I don't think you can really do? Rep for, because the Fair Work, it's like it's starting to come in. But for the most part, it's been photography and artwork, which was the dream, right? And I'm loving it. But it's it's a unique transition, you're kind of, you're a bit more stagnant. And there's a lot of different nuances, switching lifestyles like that. So that's why I'm like, you know, I can tell when I'm getting a little, you know, anxious or irritable, it's because I've been, I've been drawing too much in what I mean. And so I'm like, I need to go out and break a sweat and keep moving. And so I would say, there's just a lot of different things mentally, coming out of the military that you kind of have to adapt to and deconstruct a lot of things that, like you think are normal in the military, and they are in the military, but you get out and people look at you like, what did you do what all the time or whatever, you know, bad habits. And so it's an interesting transition to healthier habits and kind of, I had to like change my metric for what a hard day's work looks like, you know, in the military, you could have slow days, but you can also have, you know, balls to the wall days. And that's just what it is. But then outside of that, it's not that chaotic or hectic. And it's kind of like an idle mind saying. So I think that's been like a very unique challenge of kind of slowing down and being okay with that.
Jeremy Perkins 21:18
What a lot of non service members don't realize is there's when you join the military, it's like adult, like, you have this freedom, you have responsibility. You're never really like unleashed on to the world, there's always that safe, whether it's medical, whether it's food, whether it's housing, there's always a fallback, like a contingency plan. I know when I was at my first duty station, it was hysterical. I spent my first paycheck on one barbil in like, in the first day, and then you get paid. It doesn't matter. But you get paid every two weeks, and you're like, Yeah, well, how am I going to eat? Well, you go back to the boat now eating at the chow hall, every day, the next two weeks. So you always had a fallback, but then it's like, they really don't prepare you and they're getting better at it. But I know when I transitioned out it was like, alright, real world. Here you go.
Geoff Britton 22:11
Yeah. And they, because I mean, I heard some of those pretty good. It's like it takes three months to make you that service member, but they give you about four and a half days to turn that off. You know, here's trs or whatever the steps and taps or whatever it's called. You know, here's how you get in. Here's how you read a resume. Good luck. And you're like, what just happened?
Jeremy Perkins 22:31
And that's the funny part about like, the whole resume aspect. Like, here you are, you're like, Oh, I did this, this and this. And you go and bring that resume somewhere. And they're like, What does this mean,
Geoff Britton 22:40
right? I don't care that you're a Coxon that can jump out of planes that this is Home Depot.
Jeremy Perkins 22:48
What's a Coxon? Like without? Like, now you're here trying to explain. And you're dealing with million dollars of equipment, you know, assets, since you're 18. Yeah, and it's awesome. But like you can't put it out there for somebody and they almost don't believe you. So it is interesting to try to get you out of the military and find your spot in normal day to day world. But it seems like you've gone through it and and you've weathered the storm, and it looks like you're on the up and up
Eric Girouard 23:19
sounds like I got my hands busy with this thing called bronc. But sounds like there's an opportunity there for like, either a government funded like program or a charity, whether it's charity or or for profit business that helps transition right out of the mill, you know, you had a bunch of people? Oh,
Geoff Britton 23:37
absolutely. I have. I have so many theories on that, just because I mean, I 100% underestimated the transition everyone, especially when they put it on the internet, you get so many guys in the comments. And they're just like, don't do it do don't do it. And I'm like, I'm gonna be fine. And I'm like, that's arrogant. It's like, No, this, this is hard. So I do think that there shouldn't be, I was talking about it, because I have plenty of time to think about weird things. And I was like, they should have like a prior service union, basically, like you did for eight years, 12 years, whatever. Because they have all these civilian contractors, some are prime military, some are not. But you've taken all these guys that you've put in millions of dollars worth of training into that know how to run that location. Why don't you keep them on board as a civilian loosen up their hours a little bit. But it's still like a seven to five kind of job. But they're still working with the same people they're working with, they can kind of pass the torch a little bit better, and do a better turnover. And they do that for a year or so. And then that's kind of like the transition to a more civilian job and then they can move on from there.
Jeremy Perkins 24:46
No, I mean, that's a great idea. I even went as far as like, helping somebody understand their benefits. Like I know it took me years to figure out how to properly use my GI Bill benefits, how to probably get VA coverage. How to Use like USAA. And like home loans and your first time home buying, right because we're we're in barracks or government housing, I think, on my boat, there were a select few people. And they were a lot older than I were, they actually own their own homes because it's hot, right? You're there years, right? buy a home, and then you got to pack it up sell it in three years. So a lot of people rent people rely on on base housing. So these these worldly lessons that you're supposed to be learning along the way, you're kind of sheltered from it being in these positions. So you know, understanding all these benefits took a long time. And once you got it dialed, I have a kid near me that, that he's like, I don't know how to use the GI Bill. And I was like, Well, I will help you. You feel this, like the sense to help out. And so I think I think you're onto something there both of you know,
Geoff Britton 25:55
I think it'd be cool. I think that I think you've said it pretty well with like that safety bubble in the military that guys don't realize, you won't realize it until you leave. It's you know, we talked about the green weenie, if you will, while you're in the civilian world has its own one too. And, and to me when I got out, it's almost like, like the universe was like, wait a minute, he's been in the safe little bubble. Okay, now it's his turn. You know what I mean? And many things that, like you can't anticipate, and you know, you can try and be as prepared as possible. But yeah, that that weird because ultimately, no matter what you do in the military, whether you clean it up or someone else or a higher up or your buddies, it's gonna get cleaned up and it will get resolved. Yeah, not gonna go without shelter, or food or a paycheck or medical, no matter pretty much no matter what you do, unless you do something really crazy, but you're safe. And then on the outside, that's the complete opposite.
Jeremy Perkins 26:51
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yep. So take us through a little bit of the artwork. Like when did you get started in the artwork? It sounds like that's your outlet. This sounds like what you enjoy to do outside of all things, farrier and your normal day to day, but like, how did you kind of get your start into that? And what do you see through the process? And how it helps you cope or online? Take us through that?
Geoff Britton 27:15
Yeah, that's a that's a great question. Um, so it sounds ridiculous. But I've, I've been drawing since I was like three years old. I remember even at five years old, I broke my wrist had a big cast on my right hand, and was just distraught because I kept snapping grands, like I couldn't draw. It's just, it wrecked my whole world. And so I just was slightly inclined at it from the jump and just kind of was one of those things I just stuck with. And, you know, kind of made it my whole personality. But it was, you know, in high school was just something I did, because I loved it. And I was always that kid that was drawing, like I, I would have a sketchbook on me at all times, you know, I just never wasn't drawing. And then as I got into the Marine Corps, I kind of put it on pause. You know, I remember there was one experience where I was still like, I was in that MOS school, like I previously mentioned, I was just in my barracks room. And this is so funny to look, you know, think back on. But as I was in my barracks room, but I was just drawing right in the I was a private at the time, private Pfc. two e one, e two. And I remember the sergeant on duty comes in, and just starts, like, destroying me, because he thinks it's so easy, like, oh, you joined the Marine Corps to drop pictures, you know? And I'm like, Well, no. And, you know, my, I didn't know that was weird here. And so I just kind of put it on pause. In hindsight, every other PFC is probably out at the bars doing dumb things, I'm sitting in my room drawing, and I'm the one on the wrong. But yeah, just kind of put it on pause for a couple of years, withdraw from time to time, but didn't really kind of use it as an outlet, like you had mentioned. You know, when you're going through stuff, you're by yourself, because, you know, the the van life thing was super cool. But it was incredibly isolating. And, you know, you kind of find that balance between being alone and loneliness, and then solitude. And so I had kind of used it, I would just go sit out in town, you know, by myself and just draw. And so I would kind of sell prints of my artwork, while I was young. But it was never my focus. It was something I always just kind of wanted to keep as a hobby, because it can be very tricky. Turning your hobby into a career, you know what, especially with like, art and things like that, and I'm sure it's the case for other things, but when you turn your hobby into a career, and it's kind of like on demand and your family being told what to do kind of takes the creative liberty and the fun out of it. So it's like no, I just, you know, I do it for myself, and it kind of helps me. You know, whatever craziness is going on in my head. I can kind of put it on paper and I feel a little bit better for a little bit. You know what I mean? Yeah. And so did that and then never even when I got out it was never really the plan like, Oh, I'm gonna get out I'm going to be an artist I'm going to draw for a living. That's I mean, it wasn't my intention. But when I got, you know, leaving them, the Marine Corps, the military, and that paycheck shuts off on terminal events. And you're like, Oh, well, yeah, that was nice. I missed that. And so I graduated from farrier school, and I knew there would be kind of a gap and you still learn a lot in Fairy school, you don't know everything. So I was like, well, we need to do something in the meantime, but I'm moving to Oregon. There's kind of like this in between, and I need a paychecks. And so that's when I kind of just started with the TIC tock because I, I basically started drawing tattoos for people. And it was something I remember, I had buddies all the time, that would ask me to draw tattoos. I was like, No, I'm not gonna do that. It sounds really lame. And now I remember, once I had a tattoo machine, I don't know how I acquired it. But I had one in the barracks. Never really use it, because I was always I kind of like in a perfectionist sense. I was like, I don't want to mess someone up, right. I know that piece of Craps on their arm forever. And they tell people I did it. That's, that's rough. And so my buddies didn't get drunk. And I'd be like, where's the tattoo machine? I'm like, no, no. Like, give me a tattoo. And I'm not doing it. I think one night I like snuck out and like just dumpster it. It was like we can't, I'm not doing your whole back. But like this.
Eric Girouard 31:31
Machine, Jeremy. So now, what's that everyone wants to know, if you ever have access to a tattoo machine by any chance?
Geoff Britton 31:38
I'm thinking about getting another one? It's definitely crossed my mind. And I mean, I think that's, I think it'd be really cool. If that's kind of where this whole thing evolves to, eventually, you know, not like it's the definitive end goal. But I definitely wouldn't be mad if drawn these tattoos turned in to just kind of put my own flash on people. But that's cool. I started drawing tattoos you pointed. It was, it's, it was kind of a hit. And I was like, I can't say no to this. And then I kind of realized, you know, I think a lot of people try to do a lot of good things for like servicemembers and the transition, and mental health and things like that. And I was like, why don't I just draw tattoos for these guys, let's, let's listen to their stories. See what they're, you know, what they're doing what they've experienced, you know, and I'll, I'll put it into tattoo form for him, and they can go get some, some ink therapy, you know, let's take let's do a little bit of a different take on this.
Jeremy Perkins 32:35
That's actually that's actually really cool. And a lot of people that are unfamiliar with tattoos, especially military tattoos, a lot of people they tell a story, or if the tattoo doesn't mean anything, itself, it's more where you got it. And the story behind that, right. You know, I got, I got a tattoo on the inside of my lip that I got in Panama. And I will always remember that day, getting tattooed in the back of a bar for 20 bucks in real life, was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done in my life. And it's, it's hysterical. Every six months, when I go to see the dentist, they're like, you have something terribly wrong with your mouth. And I'm like, that's one time. It's literally like, it's a journey. And there's a lot of the sparrows on the collarbone, there's, you know, the pig and the chicken on the legs. There's so much like history behind elite sailor tattoos, military tattoos, and it kind of defines a purpose that allows them to tell a story. And I think that that's pretty cool. And in your regard that you can help people tell their story.
Geoff Britton 33:39
Thank you. Yeah, no, I think it's really cool. And I mean, I've been obsessed with you know, the, the Sailor Jerry tattoos and American traditional tattoos, those I mean, those dates back about 100 years now. Yeah. And so Jerry was a tattoo artists out of Hawaii. And I kind of had, you know, originally it was sailors and marines, you know, when they come into port into Hawaii. That's kind of how a lot of that started are in Virginia. But I kind of realized, I was like, you know, yeah, these tattoos, they're awesome. And they're vintage. Like, I love them, I'm covered in them. But at one point when you know, sailor, Jerry, you know, or whoever withdrawn them, the technology and the weapons and the gear that they're wearing in these tattoos, that wasn't always vintage. That was the best the military had to offer at the time. And then it got the opportunity to become a vintage tattoo. You know what I mean? And so I was like, why don't we start implementing the modern stuff we're using, which to us right now seems like super flashy and high speed. But in 100 years from now, you're gonna be like they were bump helmets. That's ridiculous. Why would you wear that? But I needed some kind of implementing, you know, monitor technology and gear into American traditional style so that our equipment the stuff we use gets its opportunity to be vintage and timeless.
Jeremy Perkins 34:58
I'm really glad that you Know the military has loosened its regulations on tattooing, it was for a while there, like they couldn't be seen. They were heavily regulated. You know, obviously there there are people that are affiliated with certain organizations and watch out for certain tattoos. But on the flip side, like, it was kind of disheartening, because, you know, being a sailor being a Marine early on, that was a way that they identified each other that they're, you know, associated with each other. And then there was this period in history that the military wanted to wipe it out for uniform purposes, and now they've loosened it. I know, the Coast Guard, the Marine Corps, the Navy have kind of definitely gone to allowing them to be seen in dress uniforms, which is pretty cool. And tattoos are, are somewhat allowed, and what have you, but it's definitely an interesting culture. Interesting. It's a great piece of history.
Geoff Britton 35:58
Oh, absolutely. No. And you you said it pretty well, there. Yeah. I mean, there's a there's a documentary that I watch, on occasion about, you know, kind of the early years of traditional tattooing, but you know, with service members all wearing the exact same clothes, the exact same haircut, they all look the same, they eat the same thing. They live in the same places, they used these tattoos as a way to be like, No, I'm different. You know, like, this is, this is me, this is how I express myself, you know, and it kind of, you know, broke up a bit of the uniformity. I think it's super cool and super traditional. But like you said, yeah, that they wanted that uniformity back. And it was funny enough, so I, I have tattoos, I want more. But I had Max my arms out while I was in it. And at the time, the Marine Corps rules like had to be two inches above the elbow. One inch below, if there's anything on your forearm, you can only have one has to be able to be covered by a knife hand, which is just your hands with your fingers straight and fully extended. So you can only have one each forearm. And so when I decided to get out, I started I was like, Well, you know, screw it, I'm gonna start getting tattoos, which I can still get in trouble for. But I remember having to hide it. And I tried to wear like hoodies to cover my arms. And then about two weeks after I get out, the Marine Corps puts out a more admin, it's like, you guys are allowed to have full sleeves. I'm like, sob is
Jeremy Perkins 37:23
I want to re enlist.
Geoff Britton 37:25
Yeah, I'm coming back. No, yeah, no. And that's cool. And so I'm stoked for them. And hopefully, you know, maybe that tradition kind of comes back, because there's a lot of different styles nowadays. And that's really awesome. But I'm pretty rather die by the traditional stuff. And so I think it'd be kind of cool to start implementing, you know, that modern gear and equipment into those tattoos and I DM people all the time, that kind of reach out for commissions and whatnot, we kind of talk about their story, when I think it's kind of cool, rather than, you know, just kind of doing the round circle, let's all talk about our feelings, which is great, and needs to happen more, let's talk about it. But at the end of it, here's a tattoo that kind of reflects what you just told me, and then take to the tattoo parlor, you know, because I've definitely gotten some tattoos when I was feeling crappy. You know, like, I was just going to tattoo bar, this would make me feel better.
Eric Girouard 38:15
Yeah, ya know, so. So this has been incredible as I mean, we're gonna have to do a couple more of these, unpack all this stuff. But you were just alluding to it a little bit. But we always like to share for our listeners and for our guests. What's going to really one as a thank you to you for coming on and taking the time to share your story. But what's the best place? Anything you want to plug? What are the best places for people that find you, obviously, you're on Tiktok and Instagram, but if folks want to want to reach out to you and just chat with you and hear more about your story to maybe find a way to work with you on some of the work, whether it's on a farrier side of the business or their tattoo side of the business, what are the best ways to find Jeff Britton and where and how?
Geoff Britton 38:54
Yeah, absolutely. So I'm on predominantly Tik Tok and Instagram on tick tock. It's at art for the wanderer, all one word, no symbols on Instagram. It's still at art for the wanderer, but there's a period between each word or dot for that and all that. And then, you know, if you want to reach out for commissions, I'd say, you know, or anything at all, to be honest with you, Instagram, DMS is the best place because I mean, a lot of the times as I'm going through it, I'm like, Okay, let's kind of take on some commissions today. You know, I'm reading DMS, and people are kind of telling me about, you know, how they relate to this or something I said, and we just kind of have full blown conversations because I definitely have times where I can feel like, Oh, I'm probably the only one that feels like this. And that's, that's just not true. And so I'll just, you know, regardless of commissions or tattoos, I definitely try to do my best to respond to people until I'm like, I know I'm just open. I'm like, I'm doing the same thing you guys are doing and going through the same thing. This is how I'm doing it. And I tell them I'm like I can't even say that this is what works best for me because I don't know. I'm just kind of figuring it out as I go. But yeah, so tick tock Instagrams and then I also do Patreon as well, where there's extra content. I put all of my flash designs up there. So if anyone's like, you know, Do I have permission to use this, you guys can use it regardless screenshot it, but I do put them all on Patreon where people can screenshot and without watermarks, things like that. And there's definitely more of an open conversation and dialogue on Patreon and those platforms to it's it's more than just tattoos. I'm just just here to talk and here to help.
Jeremy Perkins 40:29
Awesome. Well, Jeff, thank you for coming on. This was, you know, obviously completely relatable in my in my world, but you know, I hope somebody listening can relate as well. So it's super informative, and thanks for being on.
Geoff Britton 40:46
No, thank you for having me. I really appreciate this man. Awesome.
Jeremy Perkins 40:49
And remember to use code art 10 at checkout for orders of $60 or more at Bruntworkwear.com.
From an early age, Geoff knew he wanted to join the Marines. Once he made up his mind, that was the target he had his eyes on and it came to fruition in 2013, when he signed the dotted line. He served as a small-craft mechanic, working on outboard boat engines for most of his career. Though he was in the military and didn’t have an exact plan for the future, he knew he always wanted to incorporate art and social media into his life.
“So [art] was always something I kind of worked on on the side and just tried to grow and, you know, TikTok hadn't been around yet. So I was like, in the event, I do get out [of the military], maybe this could be something. Maybe, maybe not, I'm not sure. But it's fun.”
Once he decided to leave the Marines, he wanted to get into the freelance or art world in some capacity. After moving to Coronado for his final spell in the military, he decided that he’d like to live his life on the move. He lived #vanlife for a while, posting videos about that since he was not really able to share about military life on his social media channels anymore.
“I was like, let's just get a van. We do this all the time. When I ended up moving to Coronado, I was like, I can just do this full time, save my money. And I kind of started making videos about that, because I knew with the content I was creating, a lot of it was military based.”
After his time in the van had ended, he went back to Nebraska for a spell, but ended up back in California attending farrier school. Though he didn’t have any real equine experience, the career made sense to him and school was paid for by the GI Bill, so he went for it.
“I found there's a, there's a farrier school where you can learn how to shoe horses, and it's covered by the GI Bill…And I was like, Well, you know, that sounds like a decent paycheck…that sounds pretty cool. I can do that.”
Today, he’s got his hands full with his freelance art and photography work and job as a farrier, but he’s able to do it on the go. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but now that he’s out of the military and on his own, he’s able to find his own rhythm.
Lilly from the Elm Street House@elm_street_house
BUCKET TALK | EP 48
Lilly from the Elm Street House@elm_street_houseOn this week’s episode of Bucket Talk, we chat with Lilly, the woman behind the renovation at the Elm Street House in Lewiston, Maine. After spending her college years in Florida, she returned home to Maine, where she was born and raised, to put down some roots.PLAY EPISODE
BUCKET TALK | EP 47
Kaila Cumings@kailacumingsThis week on Bucket Talk, Eric and Jeremy talk with custom knifemaker, hunter and survivalist Kaila Cummings. Hailing from New Hampshire, Cummings is a self-taught knife maker who you may have seen on Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid and Naked and Afraid XL.PLAY EPISODE