I’ve been spending a lot of time traveling around the country for lectures recently, and I’ve come to the following conclusion: Don’t move to New York. Young artists don’t have the opportunities they used to here. The payoff will only be more debt.
I’m sad that New York, the city I’ve lived in for more than 10 years, is now barely hospitable to those making the kind of art I love. It’s my job, though I don’t like it, to tell young artists thinking of moving that without connections, their job prospects are dim. The ugly reality is the cost of living is prohibitively expensive in New York.
Typical studio rent in Bushwick runs at $600 for 250 square feet, according to Stephanie Diamond’s Listings Project, a real-estate email service for artists. That’s more than $2 per square foot. Sunset Park is more affordable, but as I reported in the last issue, landlords may be raising rents there by as much as 50 percent.
Given these numbers, most artists will need to secure a middle-income job to maintain an apartment and studio, which creates a catch-22: artists have to work all the time to pay for their studios and thus have a hard time ever using them. But they may be the lucky ones. I frequently hear about graduates who have been unable to turn their unpaid internships into paying positions. Only a few years ago such a fate was reserved for the particularly unskilled.
Read the full piece here.