Entries tagged "Patti Smith"

Affordable US cities for artists

“It feels like almost EVERY city has become either an overpriced “artisan” boutique or warzone. A by-product of the destruction of the middle class in this country. Here’s my personal list, based on the national median income of $50K (middle class) with $25K as the earnings that most successful artists can expect to earn from a combined day job and art sales.

Unaffordable to even middle class wages:
NY, SF, DC

Affordable with a middle class income, art part-time:
LA, Seattle, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Portland, Austin, San Diego, Santa Fe

Affordable to work part-time in limited areas/situations, or outer suburbs:
Chicago, New Orleans, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Albuquerque, Raleigh-Durham, Dallas

Affordable to art full-time, with high crime rates:
St. Louis, Memphis, Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Wilmington, Houston, Birmingham, Orlando, Buffalo, Albany, Hartford, Cincinnati, Columbus, Nashville

Affordable to art full-time with low crime rates:
Louisville, Iowa City, St. Paul, MN, past the exurbs of cities is the last 2 categories.

Mostly every place is unaffordable or too dangerous. Commerce seems to be moving past their need for artists to displace the working classes, especially on the coasts.”

– from a 2013 comment on a conversation following Patti Smith’s urging of young artists to “find a new city.”

My gut instinct is more really teeny small places. Where do you think is a great place to live affordably as an artist? In what country? Do you live in one of these cities listed above? What do you think? Oakland is in the affordable art part-time list for now and for some it may be in the full-time wither without high-crime depending upon which section you live in.

How do you know you matter?

I just got an email from a conference that made me sad. It was only two sentences long. It was a dismissal in the guise of being a favour. It showed me that I didn’t matter to this person professionally anymore. We are done.

It hurt. It still hurts.

When I started out there years back I was just doing what was fun. I never thought of myself as in any kind of “in crowd.” Some people told me then that I was some kind of miniature celebrity in a miniature world. I didn’t see it. But I did feel like I belonged. I felt like I was with my people: the kind of people who were excited by ideas and who said to the new person who showed up at lunch “come on here and sit down.”

This is making me re-think how I learned that what I had to say mattered.
It mattered to me that what I had to say or who I brought together mattered to others. A conference or a show or an audience.

I’m having to learn over and over that what I have to say or do has to matter to me first. it sounds so simple and perhaps brain-dead to you that this is a thing to know or to learn. But it is for me.

In every world I’ve been in: artistic, entrepreneurial, or political everyone wants to know what people like. The truth is that even in the worlds that consider themselves “indie” they care. For me independent performing, publishing, creating business was about being able to follow the creative impulse you have. It was about an environment that preached and modeled empowerment.

You *can* do this.

You are allowed to do this.

I’m the kind of girl who needed to hear that. You can always tell who else needed to hear it: they’ll say it to anyone else, anytime.

Great encouragers of others always need encouragement.

People are always talking about themselves. Always. Whether we know we are talking to ourselves is another story.

I’ve never been a big triangulator of creative talent. Either I like your stories, your voice, your perspective, your jokes, your vulnerability or I don’t. I don’t like it because someone else does (no matter what any database, social media platform or popular kids table might say).

It never made a lot of sense to me to like someone because they were popular. That was true in junior high and it’s true when it comes to indie art too. I’m not interested in someone because they’re alternatively popular. Truth is, the people whose work I often love are often dismissed. But I don’t love someone’s voice or work *because* they’re dismissed. I love what resonates with my heart. That’s all.

It’s easy when I think about other peoples’ work: Justin Vivian Bond, Patti Smith, WhoopDeeDo.tv , Paul Mooney. The kind of folks I want to interview for my news upcoming subvert podcast (you can also follow @subverting on twitter). I’ll be subverting the SXSW conference live with impromptu gatherings. Add me on twitter and foursquare to join. I want to see what’s in your heart.

So why am I afraid of what’s in mine?

 



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