Like any job it can be a rat race at times, keeping up with collectors, staying focused in the studio, trying not to notice your ever-dwindling bank account. The growing expenses of framing and shipping, another plague to many young artists who work a day job only to see that money get eaten up by your current project.
So I moved to New Orleans in 2009 in search of this dream—that and a more easy-going lifestyle—to draw inspiration from an incredible city and culture that exists no place else in the U.S. The first night in my new house a fucking parade went by! I found myself an incredible dog, (interspecies life-mate) and for the first time since I was 14 years old I was blissfully unemployed.
I quickly got involved with a print shop, with the very talented Meg Turner, in the now defunct Louisiana Artworks space, a story too tragic to recount here. (That print shop now operates a more DIY style setup in the upper 9th ward of New Orleans under the moniker New Orleans Community Printshop. If you’re visiting NOLA I highly recommend dropping in on one of their open shop print nights.) It was the perfect space to connect with other artists and recent transplants and like-minded people. That big/small town aspect of the community here is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. Not that this is unique to New Orleans, but the help that artists can offer each other is immeasurable.
Many artists can be guarded and secretive over their studio practices, resources, etc. This is another life lesson from Tony Fitzpatrick that I studied closely, a little generosity goes a long way, and taking the time to reach out to a fellow artist and share a mailing list, help promote a show, or pass on a collector or two really helps to make everyone stronger.