The Pros And Cons Of Being An Artist In NY

James Pernotto, Youngstown based artist on Youtube.

I have been giving a lot of thought to my future as an artist. Should I move back to NY full time, split my time between two cities or move somewhere else like L.A. or Philly? In spite of the fact that my income/ potential income from my work has gone up and I now have a bio that seems a bit impressive, I’m in a situation worse than ever before because the costs associated with staying in the city with the kind of space, I feel I need to push my work still far exceeds what I make. Even more depressing is the fact that, this situation now seems to be shared by people who, most artists would consider wildly successful. The 475 Kent building for example housed at least one artist with work in a Whitney Biennial and I also had a friend who celebrated her Whitney debut with an eviction notice. (She now lives upstate)

The video above is about an artist who decided to move back to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. His studio is to die for and he been given the honor of a major retrospective at the town’s most prestigious venue which from what I can see, he really deserves.

The choice would seem, simple enough– just keep my NY gallery relationship and live somewhere else. But, the sad truth is that art world still revolves around a few major art centers at least as much as it did before. I learned a lot by looking at artist’s bios when I had a gallery in Pittsburgh. Even the most prestigious local exhibitions rarely lead to connections or shows out of town or got any out of town press and this seems to be true of most other cities as well. The result seems to be that more and more artists feel trapped in the city by a desperate need to stay connected, even though this often limits their happiness and ability to do work. The current “business plan” of many artists I talk to now involves staying in the city just long enough “hook up” with dealers etc… and then leave.

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