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Hello, Dr. Maisel:
I’m a painter and I live in a small town in Greece, very far from the action. I have it easy here, because I live at home and my parents support me. But I have no artistic community, the people in my town aren’t very interesting, and I pine for places like Paris, New York, and London. In fact, I have the opportunity to live and work in Brooklyn—but I don’t know. Would that really be better for me that staying here and just painting? Do you have any suggestions?
Thalia, far from the action
Of course, I would need to know more, but I have a few general thoughts and suggestions.
First, support is a good thing <smile>. That you have a roof over your head and the opportunity to paint are wonderful things. But you do also have to check to make sure that the support doesn’t come with too many strings attached, like bullying or back-handed criticism of your artistic pursuits. Support is great—but it can also make you too dependent and come with too many shadows and conditions. So, you need to gauge that.
Second, be careful of the “grass is greener” allure. You might—or might not—find more interesting people in Brooklyn than in, say, Athens. It might serve you better to reach out in Greece, make connections in your homeland, and extend your community and networking right where you are. It might be much easier to land a gallery in Athens than in New York—isn’t that something to investigate?
Third, moving to a new country and a new job is very uprooting and quite an upheaval and you might find yourself not painting for a while—or for a long time. Plus, you would need to ship or buy your supplies, carve out studio space, and in many other ways settle back into the life of a working artist. So, that all needs to be taken into consideration.
Fourth, are you actually doing a lot of painting now? If maybe you’re stalled or don’t produce much currently, you may be seeing this move as an opportunity to reboot and get back on track as a painter. But I think that it would be wiser to face your challenges right where you are, rather than carrying them as baggage to a new location. If something about your art life isn’t working—if you’re not motivated, if you don’t love your subject matter or your artistic ideas, etc.—it would be much better to straighten that all out while you have the benefit of a home and support, rather than hoping that “everything will be different” by virtue of moving to Brooklyn.
Your starting place, in considering all of this, might be to work with a creativity coach for a while, either a Greek-speaking one or an English-speaking one, and think through these matters with a coach’s help. As I’m sure you know, coaches work remotely, so you could work with a coach who lives anywhere in the world—but it might be especially beneficial to work with a Greek one, someone who understands your culture and your scene. I wish you great good luck, whether you embark on that Brooklyn adventure or whether you make a great painting life right where you are!
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To learn more about the program, please visit here. To chat about scholarships and other details, please drop Gerard O’Donovan an email to Gerard@noble-manhattan.com. If you have questions for me or if you’d like to submit a question for me to answer in this monthly column, you can be in touch with me at email@example.com. Be well!