Why Do Artists Have to Move to be Successful?

Photo Credit: merchantcircle.com

Photo Credit: merchantcircle.com

I have lived in San Diego my whole life and have met some truly artistic people.  All my friends in high school were involved in the arts in one way or another.  Even in my elementary days, I befriended gifted individuals.  They may not have been the next Bach or Cézanne, but they had skill nonetheless.

As the years have passed, I noticed a pattern with these individuals.  Other than dropping their art and pursue something more “pragmatic,” many of them would move to a big city to hone their skills.  Often times, professors and professionals would push the young artists to move to the big cities to make a name for themselves.

As my friends move out and the community of San Diego dwindles artistically,  I can’t help but scratch my head at this idea.  Why?  With a community of artists, why do we split up and move elsewhere?  Why does great talent emigrate while our streets and parks are occupied by hobbyist artists?

Some say it’s because there isn’t an artistic vibe in their hometown.  San Francisco is where it’s happening.  A bigger reason is because of jobs.  The record companies are in Nashville.  The orchestras are in Boston.

As valid as those arguments are, I find them short-sighted.  How do you think New York became a crevice of creativity?  African-Americans didn’t move into Harlem because that was the “happening place.”  They moved to escape the oppression of white supremacy in the south.  After settling, artists came together and helped make New York City into a thriving community.  The same applies to Los Angeles.  To New Orleans.  To Chicago.  Art is formed when people gather together as a community, and that can happen in any city.

There aren’t any current jobs in San Diego?  Make your own.  This isn’t the 17th century, where musicians are only hired by the royal court.  We have access to make our own ensembles!  Don’t have any capital to get your business/idea going?  Create a kickstarter or any other fundraising event!

If artists are creative by nature, why should we succumb only to old premade practices?  Why can’t we create new endeavors that involve the community we grew up with and love?  I am not trying to squander travel.  Meeting new people and creating new experiences is something I definitely encourage—for both personal and artistic reasons.  However, we don’t have to travel far to make it in the artistic world.  We don’t have to fight our way through the premade ladder just to create a name for ourselves.  Most importantly, we don’t have to leave the communities that we grew up in and created to make a difference.  We have all the tools we need to succeed.  All that’s left is growing the boldness needed to bring others together and make it happen.

About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon's Posts

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