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greetings from fubartown

Post #652 • November 4, 2005, 6:18 AM • 92 Comments

I have traveled to four continents, and have seen good places to live. They have a majority population of friendly, civic-minded people, proximity to credible museums, rich networks of intellectuals and creators, and reliable, well-designed infrastructures. Miami isn't one of them.

After eleven days without, electricity has returned to headquarters. Posting resumes Monday. is entertaining suggestions for new locations for its headquarters.




November 4, 2005, 8:29 AM

i would appreciate some 'rippin' on some stuff that a friend chris meesey posted on a website that he put together for me, consisting of a random smathering of 2d art objects.
thanks chris - ( my name is too damn long)



November 4, 2005, 8:47 AM

Move your headquarter to Tbilisi, Georgia



November 4, 2005, 8:52 AM

Chicago was nice. I even heard they have a museum.

Welcome back.



November 4, 2005, 9:34 AM

Sydney. Or Melbourne. Brisbane if you like your weather more Miami-like.



November 4, 2005, 9:57 AM

Jordan, the site looks real good, very easy to navigate. The drawings and animal pictures are wonderful, full of life !



November 4, 2005, 11:12 AM

Be sure to write a nice thank-you note to those wonderful FPL people for doing so much to safeguard the public's welfare, both in terms of pre-hurricane preventive measures and post-hurricane repairs. I know I'm going to, as soon as my own power comes back. The nice FPL person I spoke to last might said it should be no later than Nov. 10. I guess I should have been more effusively grateful to the guy, but the arteries in my neck were dangerously distended, so I thought it prudent to hang up before I had an apoplectic fit.


Anna L. Conti

November 4, 2005, 1:07 PM

Consider San Francisco. At least until the next big earthquake. The weather is terrific, the museums are pretty good, the arts community is very active and very supportive. And the city supports the arts with a special tax fund. However, it's not a good place to raise a kid, have a car, or buy property.


Marc Country

November 4, 2005, 1:36 PM

I'm gonna have to agree with Anna, Franklin. You'd thrive in SF... slide right into the Bay Area Figuration scene, maybe get a gig writing art criticism for The Onion, and end every day with a bowl of noodles in Chinatown.

Besides, come on... if you were painting, and an earthquake hit, would your picture end up looking much different?



November 4, 2005, 2:07 PM

Be thankful you ate a breakfast, lunch or dinner recently....stop complaining about no electricity. FPL has been working day and night since the hurricane. What do YOU expect that they come to YOUR house first? should they turn onYOUR power and give out free light bulbs?!

Everyone sounds like a bunch of junkies complaining about their dealers.

I lost power...I got it back....I then lost my cable to my television and then I lost phone service....big deal. I woke up in my bed, put on clean clothes I ate breakfast, drove to work and now I'm going to lunch.

Quit complaining.

You will continue to suffer. That is a noble truth.

Franklin perhaps you should to to a place where nobody ever suffers.




November 4, 2005, 3:15 PM

OK, I get it now. So FPL failed to keep its lines clear of trees before the hurricane, and a lot of avoidable power line damage ensued which caused significant delays in restoring power. Not an issue; no cause for complaint, since we're all alive and able to feed ourselves. This sounds like an ideal line of reasoning for politicians, monopolies and assorted official entities. Don't bitch; don't demand accountability; don't expect preventive action or disaster-preparedness--just be grateful you're not dead. I don't know what I could have been thinking.



November 4, 2005, 4:30 PM

Thankful, I think I will "to to" a place where I don't have to explain the obvious to people. It may be as ubiquitous as suffering, but I'd like to try.

Anna, Marc - let's say I don't want to trade in my house for a closet. Where does one live in the Bay Area when one can't afford SF proper?

Jack - you have my continued sympathies. This outage is a serious burden on anyone who has to care for a parent or a child.



November 4, 2005, 5:14 PM

Franklin yes....
"GO TO " a place, anyplace
and the sooner the better.......

Jack be can a hurricane blow through and not damage a single power line and how can FPL better plan for these things?
You sould like a real serious community activist ...perhaps YOU should run for office.....

I am a parent, have a pregnant wife and own a house...I lost power but am thankful when I see workers from out of state fixing our shit.

quit yr bellaching and go make art.



November 4, 2005, 6:13 PM

Franklin, welcome back, I sure missed reading you.



November 4, 2005, 9:10 PM

well - you could try NYC - lots of museums, but there's this problem with terrorists. Then there's Chicago, but there's this problem with really really cold windy winters and this airport ,,, then there's the west coats - but there's earthquakes, and the center of the country but there's tornadoes or floods ... How about Europe - but there's all sorts of unrest - Paris is burning. or South America - but there are all those wars ... duh ... live wherever and deal with whatever. None of it is a rose garden - and if it is - you'll need to mulch and weed and water and cut off dead buds and .........



November 4, 2005, 10:00 PM

Anyone who thinks that Jack's complaining ought to go read the hilarious Steve Klotz FPL shootdown at Critical Miami.

Some fine suggestions have come my way via e-mail, conversations, and another forum - far more helpful than the "suck it up and stop complaining" angle from the anonymice in the comments here. Thanks to all for that. I've been making the best of things down here for a good while now, and it's reasonable to ask whether a move is in order after an event like this. Or one of the many other events that have happened this year that you don't know about, because it's just not that kind of a blog.

Paula, thank you. It's good to be back.



November 5, 2005, 9:50 AM

Tell me, Thankful, is your pregnant wife just as happy as you are about all these inconveniences? Or do you tell her to just stop her bellyaching.

Franklin - my son, who can work anywhere and was fed up with the east coast, actually made a systematic study of the best places to live in the USA, visited a few and chose San Diego. He is there now and is very pleased with it.



November 5, 2005, 10:49 AM

if people keep moving to the "best places" to live they could soon turn into the worst places to live.



November 5, 2005, 12:01 PM

oh dont leave here

you make it what it is!


carol es

November 5, 2005, 12:21 PM

there isn't a nicer place to live than los angeles. i lived in miami once, without storms. yuck. i'm sorry you are going through hell there. come to la. ignore the earthquakes and you'll be fine, better than fine. there's so much opportunity. the art scene is affected by any and all participation.



November 5, 2005, 12:22 PM

Regarding a place for Franklin:

In terms of a environment that fertilizes serious art through the activities of a competitive but also collegial group of truly good artists, the best and perhaps only place on earth right now is western Canada. Saskatoon and Edmonton are the major cities that provide most of the ingredients necessary for urban culture, though they are short on the museum side.

No hurricanes either. Just blizzards.



November 5, 2005, 12:42 PM

Uh, "Thankful," I never said all damage to the electric system was preventable, but much if not most of it could have been avoided if FPL had made a serious, ongoing, and systematic effort to keep its lines clear of trees.

This is a known hurricane zone; trees break or fall from hurricanes; trees too near or literally around power lines will obviously damage said lines; the more lines damaged, the longer people are powerless. In other words, this was and is an absolute no-brainer; there is NO excuse for having failed to take appropriate preventive action; said failure constitutes negligence and irresponsibility; it is NOT acceptable. If it was up to me, FPL would be in big trouble over this.

I'm happy about the FPL trucks in your area. I'm still waiting to see them in mine.



November 5, 2005, 1:27 PM

I completely understand why you would want to leave Miami. But if good, interesting, intelligent people keep leaving Miami because they don't have the strength or tolerance to deal with slovenly ignorance, how is it ever going to get any better? And wouldn't you feel better, in the long run, being part of something that you helped create & that you were present to see grow. And not just be one of the throngs of people who crash lands into an opulent place where everything is already in place and fruitful, where all you have to do is just feed at the trough. I mean are you really going to give up and let all the rich vapid jerks have Miami? Just like that. Why? Frankie, why? Think baby steps.



November 5, 2005, 1:30 PM

yes Franklin come to Canada. God knows we could certainly use you. i hope everyone is doing reasonably well despite the power outages, fallen trees etc., my heart goes out to you particularly, mek.



November 5, 2005, 1:36 PM

Thanks for the link to the Klotz piece, Franklin. It's good to laugh rather than fume for a change. My opinion of FPL is now subterranean, as I wish the power lines were. Unfortunately, FPL knows that no matter how disgusted the customer may be, the customer still has to suck it up. I suppose the state legislature could do something, but I'm not holding my breath. FPL has more than abundant means with which to sway politicians.


Still Thankful

November 5, 2005, 2:47 PM

OLFPRO, no my wife is not happy with the lack of power and such, but she spent most of her adult live on the beautifil island nation of cuba where rolling blackouts, no water, home made black market bathtub cheese and long lines for stale bread are commonplace and she rarely complains because she knows that there is a plan to fix things when they break....I'm the amerikan who has withdrawals if I don't get to watch saturday morning cartoons with my son.

Jack you will get your power that is a fact...just take this an opportunity to practice will soon be well lit and dull.



Marc Country

November 5, 2005, 4:18 PM

Catfish might have a point about Edmonton and Saskatoon being places conducive to the production of good art, which is surely, at least partly, on account of their relative isolation... but we're talking about the ideal home, not for Franklin the painter, but for
Considering the frequency of discussions on big-name collectors the swirlings of the big-league art world, Art Basel, major-media art criticism, etc... it seems like you'd be hard pressed to cover such topics in Western Canada.
The Bay area, in addition to proximity to big galleries and museums, also has the money, "serious" collectors, art writers, etc... that are necessary to a fully-rounded art scene, and I'm guessing are mostly absent in Edmonton and Saskatoon.



November 5, 2005, 4:24 PM

Marc, it's not because of the isolation, but despite the isolation.


Marc Country

November 5, 2005, 5:05 PM

Well Catfish, why did those two specific, yet unlikely and unremarkable, Canadian cities evolve into the "best" and "only" places that "fertilize" serious art right now, then?
What set these cities apart from, and in your view ahead of, not only other cities of similar size, but major "art centres" as well, in terms of providing a place for "serious" art to flourish?
Do you think that these art communities would have evolved this way without the factor of isolation?
My guess is that Edmonton and Saskatoon's artistic strength is as much because of isolation as it is in spite of isolation.



November 5, 2005, 6:11 PM

Well Catfish, why did those two specific, yet unlikely and unremarkable, Canadian cities evolve into the "best" and "only" places that "fertilize" serious art right now, then?

Don't know.

What set these cities apart from, and in your view ahead of, not only other cities of similar size, but major "art centres" as well, in terms of providing a place for "serious" art to flourish?

Don't know "what". Do know there is an unusual concentration of good artists there.

Do you think that these art communities would have evolved this way without the factor of isolation?




November 5, 2005, 6:40 PM

well, franklin, how about boston. eh? about the same vibe as SF without the earthquakes, though you'll have to trade four insufferable months of summer for four insufferable months of winter but think of all the cool parkas and hats you could get. we have museums, galleries, tons of artists, great bookstores, and like most places, a need for some critical writing about art...

plus nyc is only 200 miles away.



November 5, 2005, 7:48 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, catfish. It can be at least as difficult to carry the torch for good art making here in Edmonton as anywhere else, I'm sure.

Regarding comments directed to Franklin about where/why to/not to move: sometimes baby steps, sometimes giant leaps; at one time a sure thing, at another a chancy one. At one's sole discretion one just does the right thing, and in the absence of such the next best. Unless one hosts a public forum weblog where every passing sailor gets a say.

In just the way that there are no formulae for getting a good artwork, there are no rules about how to make the best life. The only rule is to try, then try again. That's what I think right now anyhow, I'll work on it again tomorrow.



November 5, 2005, 7:59 PM

Oh, and on Miami, aka fubartown, if you watch a little independant Canadian mockumentary called "FUBAR" you'll get a very close up view of life in rural Alberta, nearer to Calgary but not far from Edmonton. Not far off either.

Give 'er.



November 5, 2005, 8:42 PM

Ahab nailed it, I think. It's just fun to ask every passing sailor because I can. One chews on these things like they were caught in one's teeth, and then all at once, something happens. I just have a forum to do some of my thinking in public.

Boston, eh? Fine idea, that. I find this community up in Edmonton fascinating, but Marc is right - probably needs to be closer to the ostensible center. Now, LA - been there twice, and didn't like it much. I blame my own ignorance regarding the city, so I'm going to hit Carol up for a tour when I next go there. San Fran - I love it. At one point I was working on recreating SF in Miami. Another fine idea. San Diego is nice enough - one of my galleries is there - but in ways I find hard to explain, I don't feel Californian. I feel a little Chinese, which is why SF works.

Mix brings up something I think about. But really, I've been fighting the good fight since my days at the Miami Art Exchange, and one guy can only expect to do so much. I wonder how many people remember that I started the MAEx website in 2000 and ran it for two years before I gave it to Onajide. Even if I split I still have Dorsch and the fine company of, IMO, the best artists in town - my connection to the city won't end.

Man, this chianti is excellent. I almost can't hold my glass up straight. Maybe this is too much sharing, but I am a very cheap drunk, and I like a good chianti. Really, I long for the table wines I used to have in Italy - light as feather, but after two glasses at lunch, the afternoon was rendered worthless as I napped with the gods. Anybody know where I can get some of that? Don't worry, I won't disappear into the country and a haze of alcoholic oblivion like any number of artists.



November 5, 2005, 8:47 PM

Also, you'll never guess what I'm listening to. Whoops, it's turning into that kind of a blog. It's an astounding tribute to the human brain that I can still type when I'm hammered.



November 5, 2005, 8:49 PM

Hammered? It's his second glass of wine. It's going to be a goofy evening.



November 5, 2005, 8:52 PM

Also, I just recited this flawlessly to SuperGirl: "I am a mighty pheasant plucker. I pluck mother pheasants. I am the most pleasant mother pheasant plucker to ever pluck a mother pheasant." The screen is swimming to and fro, but I can still do this. Amazing.



November 5, 2005, 9:25 PM

Oh, yeah. Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you're beautiful!



November 5, 2005, 9:28 PM

Oh George ... where are you? You've got a soulmate on the blog now.



November 5, 2005, 9:35 PM

First, I would hope that most readers/commenters would have something better to do this Saturday evening than follow this thread. Second, know that your gracious host has been cut off from the chianti and regular/sober blogging will resume Monday. Catfish, thanks for the giggle.



November 5, 2005, 9:35 PM

I could like that music if I were stoned enough, but not drunk.



November 5, 2005, 9:37 PM

The trick is to stop while you're still feeling good. There's some important life lesson there, but it eludes me at the moment.



November 5, 2005, 9:39 PM

"Moderation in all things."



November 5, 2005, 9:42 PM

I don't think moderation would result in my listening to 1980s pop and being unable to walk across the room in a straight line. I have to say, though, Thomas Dolby holds up remarkably well.



November 5, 2005, 9:54 PM

Hey, why didn't anyone say something about the timestamps being an hour off?



November 5, 2005, 9:31 PM

Actually, I almost did comment about the tardy DST adjustments. But I held my tongue because it would have been three posts in a row, and I wasn't sure whether it might've been due to recent extenuating circumstances (ie. power outage); or to the US government's recent extension of Daylight Savings by a week in the fall and three in the spring. All so the BBQ industry can sell another $40 million worth of beautiful-evening BBQing equipment per year. And I guess the petroleum and auto industries also back the change because the later that it is light, the more people go out, which means more driving, which means more profits, which they've banked on since the 1920s.

You're not a puking peasant yet, I see.


bad kitty

November 5, 2005, 9:38 PM

yeah, I noticed it is only 9:38 pm- you certainly stirred up a beehive...good for you



November 5, 2005, 10:01 PM

Relocation. I moved to a different environment, but hey, guess what...I took myself with me! Wherever you'll be, may good health (mental and physical), conversation, food, and a Cirque du Soleil event find you!



November 5, 2005, 10:37 PM

Intelligent artists have moved to Saskatoon and Edmonton so they don't have to deal with the shit of being in "the swirlings of the big-league art world" that seems to restrict or, even worse, pander instead of challenge.

Don't get me wrong. It is not utopia here. I am sure all the artists would love to have more money and serious collectors. I just think catfish is right about the people and community being the key ingredients to making good art.

Ahab and I are arguing about the isolation factor. It is like arguing over the chicken and the egg.



November 6, 2005, 12:27 AM

Re: Jordan Massengale

Jordan, nice going.
It would be nice if there were titles, dates sizes etc but I expect you already know that.

My least fave section was the "From Life", work's nice but they doesn't have the personal bite of the other drawings. Also it seems like everything could be just lumped into imagination, that's what ties it all together, (you)

In particular, I like that weird digital robot There is a nice tension between the "robot" image and it's insertion into a painterly albeit digital painting space, slick. The robot is a generational mythology whose time is now.

Ditto for the burning car, an apropos image for today. I liked Rainbow too, here's where I would just mix the animals in with everything else. It's less an issue on painting the animal, than the way the image (as a symbolic mythology) of the animal fits into the moment.
They are all filtered through a very specific imagination (kind of a definition for a good artist) and tie together formally as well.

Downloads, tough as nails and my favorite group. I actively look at over a 1000 images a day, bodyparts don't show up that frequently (you have to know where to look) but they are a true and ugly part of reality at this moment in time.

Don't listen to what anyone tells you about the painting itself, you seem to have a handle on something which feels natural and is working, don't think about it too much. For me, the imagery is truly driving the work, central to its focus, and insinuating the formal approach as well.

First class work.



November 6, 2005, 12:30 AM


If you want to be in the chase, NYC or LA are the only choices in the USA

Otherwise, pick a spot.



November 6, 2005, 2:53 AM

can you be "in the chase" in miami? what about chicago?



November 6, 2005, 9:43 AM

I thought the Saturday night thread was fun, supergirl, and not to be disparaged, although I did have something better to do, which was to eat excellent food and watch Miami immobilize and nearly shut out #3 Virginia Tech at a friend's house.

The proprietor of this blog should get publicly tight more often; it is fun to see the Leo reserve & caution dissolve. His delight in the process clearly shows he is no alcoholic, not yet, anyway. I should know.

Even moderation should be done in moderation, Catfish.

"Chasing" and making art are two very different activities, George, and the former does not enhance the latter, for sure. You are right about Jordan; he is good, and getting better as he works it out. I think all the wild & fruitless side streets he has taken his painting to only demonstrate a reckless (and healthy) disregard for "chasing" anything but art.



November 6, 2005, 11:48 AM

And now for something completely different, but not irrelevant:

Salvator Rosa. Been dead for a while. Not as hot as he once was, but still extremely interesting. Invented the wild rocky landscape when everybody wanted classical tranquility. Was a major poet on the side, and an actor. Very ambitious, but wouldn't play by the rules when it was inconceivable not to. When his landscapes caught on, he got really mad at people who wanted those instead of his other work (macabre themes, philosophical allegories, historical subjects, etc.). Kept pushing, and wound up inventing Romanticism long before it officially existed.

Look him up. He was arrogant as hell, but he was the real deal.



November 6, 2005, 2:10 PM

fubar-patio in my midst.... of which.. i find empowering to start anew. rearrange. to pull the mango treeling and plant where papaya stood, extend the fence, with o'tahiti apple too near the house,
perhaps better where banana sprouts.

and she planted
six rows of corn
between his teeth.
he said, you still owe me for the fertilizer
as floss tumbled
like strands of hay
caught off guard
by the sudden jolt
of a pick-up

yes, butter, and say please
bursting it seems
with partially forgotten dreams
and the familiarity
of that which lacks
depth of place.



November 6, 2005, 3:59 PM

saskatoon, edmonton, calgary kamloops, penticton, winnepeg, medicine hat, red deer... low cost real estate compared to here, nice people - you don't need to lock your door at home, and the cold weather keeps you fit - not fat and lazy like i've become.
but how about new england, overpriced pehapes in areas but i'm heading there next weekend and i'll report back to franklin regarding relocation.
this town has had it.
art scene is art saw.



November 6, 2005, 4:53 PM

like most,
many a backpack i have worn:
costa rica
p-town, ri
new orleans
san francisco
and have visited around 30 of the 50 states,
west, south and east mainly
and many european little towns
and over into canada but not too far
and if you want my opinion,
art is where you make it
but you need your compadres who are like-minded
and your cultural instutions to inspire you
if you want to keep the bug alive.



November 6, 2005, 5:59 PM

Bob: "can you be 'in the chase' in miami?"

OP: "'Chasing' and making art are two very different activities, George, and the former does not enhance the latter, for sure."

Jordan: "this town has had it."

The needs of Franklin the art writer and those of Franklin the painter diverge somewhat. Isolation would probably help the latter and hinder the former. A balance of both would be good, hence making New England a sensible choice.

That "in the chase" issue is a real concern. Some areas definitely have more legitimate art-making going on than others. And while more and more goes on in Miami, much of it has a counterfeit feel to it. So there's a chase going on, but I don't really want a piece of that mechanical rabbit zipping around the track.



November 6, 2005, 6:12 PM

I'm surprised Philadelphia hasn't been suggested.



November 6, 2005, 6:13 PM

The Frantic Chase After the Mechanical Rabbit

Great title for a kids' book. Too bad it's a pitiful little game among adults.



November 6, 2005, 6:47 PM

Regarding my comment about being "in the chase"

First off, just so we don't get confused, Oldpro wants to misconstrue this into some kind of "quality issue" which I think is nonsense. I think it's possible to make good art anywhere. It's also possible to make bad art anywhere. Being in a major art center is completely irrelevant to this issue which is primarily governed by the talents of the individual.

So I'm not suggesting one city or another, based on the idea that you might make better art. I do think that if one is ambitious and wants a career as an artist, then NYC or LA arise the place to be. Like it or not, career issues are a lot about power and money and these two cities have the juice.



November 6, 2005, 9:13 PM

Hi George, nice to have you back.

As far as talent goes, there are other factors in play for the most ambitious art that may be just as important, at least they are needed for talent to flourish and bear fruit, especially in a young artist. I lump them together into "enviornment" but the most important aspect is to hang around with other artists good enough to pressure you at the same time they support you and feed your talent with things you can rip off.

Talent alone isn't enough.



November 6, 2005, 9:33 PM

Martin, Philly has been suggested via e-mail. I've never been but I've heard good things.

George - let's see if we can hash this out. You seem to be saying that you can make good art anywhere (agreed, all things being equal, but I think the place does have some effect), but you pretty much have to be in NY or LA to have an ambitious career. And yet, I know artists who long to leave NY because the art scene is so stagnant. We may not be able to define good art, but can we define a good career? And are NY or LA necessary to it?



November 6, 2005, 9:44 PM

i for one can say that being an artist in nyc is on a whole other level than anywhere else you will experience. you live eat and shit art 24 hrs a day. it's all around you at all times. and you thrive on it and can't really escape "it". ambition exists as a separate entity from your own being, and you feel a constant urge to do better, be better, know more, see more, do more and then you need a vacation and go far away for a few weeks. it is a very in your face sort of place and you become a very in your own face sort of artist and just go go go ....and therefore your career is of the highest level with the best opportunites possible.

my experience of course.



November 6, 2005, 9:47 PM

So glad to hear you're in one piece.

I take it relocation to New Orleans is out of the question???

11 days without electricity -- like being in the stone age. It was like Florida was simply chopped off the country. We out here heard little news out of the state. I thought it was weird.



November 6, 2005, 10:01 PM

re #61, Hi Cat, thanks, I've been on a tear in the studio… not much time for this.

I agree that talent, in itself, may not be enough. You do need an edge, something to push against, something to be inspired by and to aspire to. I think what you describe as the "environment" is correct. I also think this can potentially be found almost in any city where there are other artists. Of course, the bigger the scene, the bigger the challenges. Still, even in this respect there are a lot of other cities which have active art scenes which would suffice.



November 6, 2005, 10:12 PM

Franklin #62, regarding a "good career".

This is something every artist has to decide for themselves. You need to understand personally what you really desire and go after it. I have seen artists who denied their ambition, then always bitch about the fact no one is paying attention to them.

The "hunt" is about the mainstream, high powered, big money, cover of the art mag, museum show, major collection etc. You are either interested in this or not. If you are, then NYC would be my second choice, LA my third and London my first, as a place to have a shot at it. If you're not, then it matters less but you shouldn't complain about the other artists who are in the big ring. Also, there is no guarantee that you will even get into the hunt, but if you're not there....



November 6, 2005, 10:16 PM

A quick take on Meks comments (#63) about NYC. What she says is true, especially if you are younger (well lots of fun stuff happens when you're younger) It is also possible to remain isolated in the midst of NYC and just pick and choose what you see in the artworld here (more or less what I have done for the last few years)


bad kitty

November 6, 2005, 10:49 PM

Is marketing out of the question? Send your artwork to Oprah....


Marc Country

November 6, 2005, 11:11 PM

catfish #20
In terms of a environment that fertilizes serious art through the activities of a competitive but also collegial group of truly good artists, the best and perhaps only place on earth right now is western Canada.

George #60
I do think that if one is ambitious and wants a career as an artist, then NYC or LA arise the place to be.

Questions to all:
Is it possible that both these statements can be true (or do we call bullshit on one or the other)?
If both are true, how do you pick between fertilizing your art on the one hand, and fertilizing your career on the other? Is is simply a matter of deciding which one you REALLY want?
Does one shoot for great work, unnoticed by contemporaries, but hailed by future generations... or fame and fortune in the now, scorn and indifference to your work in the hereafter?



November 6, 2005, 11:44 PM

re #69 Does one shoot for great work, unnoticed by contemporaries, but hailed by future generations... or fame and fortune in the now, scorn and indifference to your work in the hereafter?

Oh please spare me this crap. If you are making great work your contemporaries will notice it.



November 7, 2005, 12:07 AM

Which do you shoot for, if either, Marc Country?

I'm inclined to aim for eternal rather than earthly glory, myself, whether or not either is actually achievable. But the pressure to conform and contribute to the propagation of what I perceive to be deeply-flawed systems of culture-production is so insidious that I fear I may succumb at any moment. Or quit.

I'm afraid of neither obscurity nor fame - just worried that I will somehow lose the opportunity to make the art I want to make.



November 7, 2005, 12:41 AM

Ahab, What pressure to conform? Where is that coming from?

Do you both really feel you can decide and choose between glory now or glory later? That is utterly silly, I suggest that if you chose "glory now" you wouldn't be able to be sure of success any more than you can for "glory later" The compelling argument for choosing "glory later" is that if you're dead it won't matter if you achieved it or not, but while you're alive you can live under the illusion you'll be famous after your dead. It's a dodge. (or maybe a desoto)



November 7, 2005, 1:27 AM

There are artist who have studied, live and work in Miami, FL who have been recognized nationally and internationally. It can't be that bad here. But it's always good to talk about change. So let's talk about some things I've noticed.

I have not been to California or Canada but I was born in NYC. I'd have to be stinking rich to live there. Manhattan is where everything really happens but it's very expensive. Brooklyn is following suit but it's also getting expensive (Which is why everybody is moving to Phylly.). The hour commmute on the L train from Brooklyn to the city is painful. The traffic is awful. I hate how when it's cold, it's really cold. The cost of living is 78% higher in NYC than Miami, etc. etc. etc. AND there about a billion more people in NYC than Miami. Why do you guys think there has been a major exodus from NYC to FL since the late 90's. Half of Mahattan lives in Miami now. New York is lovely to visit. I think Chelsea, Canal Street, SoHo, the Village, the Museums, the galleries, restaurants, underground attitude free warehouse parties and friendly smart people are great. But I also love coming back to my nice little warm apartment in Miami. My apartment which is nice and safe and roomate free because living in Miami I can afford this, with enough space and storage for all my art supplies and madness.

I've looked into living in San Francisco, L.A. and San Diego and while the cost of living is not as high as NYC it's much higher than Miami's and the employers in those cities don't pay much more than what Miami employer's pay, maybe 15% more while the cost of living is 63% higher (San Fran). And from my experience, I need money to make art even if I'm not making money from my art. It's a sad truth.

I'ts not that I love Miami, far from it. I've lived here 20 years. It has been a very strange 20 years. They've taught me to be very self-suficient, you know Miami not having any idea idea what community even means. Maybe that very void is what has inspired this page, along with and others. And I am grateful for all of them. Though I understand that it is not very nice or the best way when good things come about via negative re-enforment. But oh, I am so very glad that there are people like Franklin here that care about art. People who give me a chance to read and talk about art without getting that blank look in their eye.

So, what to do? What to do? I don't know but I'd stick around. Eventhough Miami's is kinda weird anything can happen here.



November 7, 2005, 4:26 AM

though sofla is full of new yorkers, 95% of them are not from manhattan, and are not artists. most are long islanders or from the outer banks of queens and crooklyn. most are here for the weathah, b/c the cost of living & commute to work WAS so much easier, and b/c they had a cousin here who loves it. most are business-minded, and i would say nary a sole has visited an art museum. And, mix, the L train isn't bad unless you lived in bay ridge and commuted in.

.."It's not that I love Miami, far from it. I've lived here 20 years. It has been a very strange 20 years. They've taught me to be very self-suficient, you know Miami not having any idea idea what community even means. Maybe that very void is what has inspired this page...."

20 years is a long time to exist w/o a coherent arts community. How have you been able to sustain your level of interest in what you do? This whole region seems to me to be always in this state of transition, with an identity crisis, where as other regions of the country are well established and stay the same over the years. You can live in a city or town for x number of years and pretty much know that it is what it is. Here, for a few years is seems LAish, then it seems sort of rural, then it's very miami vicey, or the ethnic majority of one group takes hold, or condo development brings about a new demographic, and so forth. This area just seems to be in constant transition, due to development, with more people stopping by to stay. And with that it has become very urban (due to population density) with no cultural center, which is very disorienting. And not very good if you are an artist.

i was one of those passers-by sort of folk, that just sort of stayed, for various reasons that have nothing to do with art. I have been here almost 6 yrs now, and am now zeroing in on my work (with a balance between my business and family) and resurfacing after a benign hiatus, and with my head above water, i'm looking around and feeling the void, in a big way. good thing for this blog anyway.


Marc Country

November 7, 2005, 1:09 PM

My apologies if I stretched my generalization too far for George's or anyone else's tastes. I'll try to clarify my point.

Among various gentle recommendations like "Move your headquarter to Tbilisi", "Chicago was nice", "Brisbane if you like your weather more Miami-like", and "Consider San Francisco"... George and catfish's comments struck me as worth commenting on because they are both so confidently unequivocal, but they both express what seem to offer very contrasting viewpoints.

George's advocacy of London, NY, LA as the place to be an artist seems like obvious, logical choices... I'm sure if a poll were taken, those cities would be ranked at the top of the charts, perhaps even in the order George himself prefers.

catfish's testimonial of Edmonton and Saskatoon, of all places, as "the best and perhaps only place on earth right now" seems to fly in the face of what I imagine would be the consensus opinion, but let's suppose we give catfish the benefit of the doubt...

So, does that mean one of them wrong and the other right, or are they actually talking about two different things?
In my opinion, what sets catfish and George's chosen locations apart more than anything is the factor of isolation... and also, IMO, the difference in the motivations for those choices appears to be that catfish is talking very specifically about an "environment that fertilizes serious art", while George's choice is focused on "mainstream, high powered, big money, cover of the art mag, museum show, major collection etc."

To me, this divide strikes me as contrasting two extremes... an obscure integrity on the one hand, and a sort of ecomomically focused careerism on the other... again, apologies if the phrasing I used in my comment #69 was too 'romantic'.

And ahab, for now I'll go along with catfish's earlier comment, "Moderation in all things".



November 7, 2005, 2:02 PM

Re #75 So, does that mean one of them wrong and the other right, or are they actually talking about two different things?

Two different things. First of all, I'm not suggesting anything other than the importance in understanding yourself, your ambitions, talents, social skills, survival skills and your psychological makeup. If you are a young artist, burning with ambition to "make it big time" then I'm suggesting that NYC, LA or London are the places to be.

This has more to do with the politics and networking environments of these cities which are career factors. It is really a personal decision, a gut decision that you make. If you are one of these people you know what I'm talking about, you want it or you don't. It isn't the only route, and for some it would be emotional suicide, so try to consider what you expect to achieve over the medium term. It is easy to be either too fawning or too caustic towards artists with highly visible careers. I think little thought is given to what is actually required to do this. It requires a tremendous amount of work, you have to be up to it. Also there is no guarantee that being in NYC (LA, LDN) will get you anywhere, it's a gamble. Still, if you has the burning ambition to at least try to "make it", there's where.

On the flip side, more along the line of thinking suggested by Catfish, you realize that you're just not really up to it (the political chase) there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can go to any major city and just try to do your work, the best work you can possibly make, and let the career find its own path. If you make this type of decision honestly, I think you would end up avoiding the psychic conflicts over career paths. One chooses a path and follows where it leads.

The gist of this is that I don't think it matters where you live as an artist. The choices you can make will follow from what you expect or need.


Marc Country

November 7, 2005, 3:55 PM

If you are a young artist, burning with ambition to "make IT big time" then I'm suggesting that NYC, LA or London are the places to be.

Right. George has made his position clear.
Yet catfish would no doubt argue that a young artist, burning with ambition to "make IT big time", should move to Saskatoon or Edmonton (perhaps adding a similar condescension to George's, that some artists just might "not be up to it", or don't quite have "the eye of the tiger", as Apollo Creed might put it).

The difference seems to me to be in what is refered to by the word IT.
For George, IT is money, fame, notoriety, that sort of thing, and for catfish, IT is art, in a more 'pure' sense.

This appraisal is borne out when we look at the question from the opposite direction: George would suggest that for one strictly focused on their art in the 'pure' sense (as opposed to focusing on making IT), any city would do as well as another.
And conversely, catfish hasn't mentioned the needs of making of money, being 'noticed' by the art mags etc. at all...

but enough from George... he's made himself clear... what about catfish, or the rest of you out there... which one of these extreme views do you all subscribe to? Or are they both full of shit? Maybe somebody thinks that someplace else is THE PLACE to make IT (whatever IT might be)...



Marc Country

November 7, 2005, 4:01 PM

Of course, I imagine we should assume a certain amount of partisanship in this debate... George is likely a New Yorker or an Angelino, catfish is probably and Edmontonian or a Saskatooner (Saskatoonian? Sasquatch?)

Is an unbiased concensus on THE PLACE to be an artist possible?



November 7, 2005, 4:34 PM

re#78-79 Mark, Yeah, born and raised in LA and a resident of NYC for 20 years but it's not to the point. You are misunderstanding my observations about the desire to "make it"

I am specifically referring to the general meaning of the term as it would be used by ambitious 30 year olds. "Making it" in the gallery scene, an Artforum fantasy etc. Without passing judgement one way or the other, this is a specific desire which you would have the best chance of fulfilling in the three cities mentioned. I'm not offering an opinion, one way or the other about this type of ambition, only recognizing that it exists. What I was suggesting is that if you have that burning ambition and want to "make it" as described above, NYC-LA-LDN is the place.

What I was alluding to when I spoke of psychological conflict is the type of dilemma which can occur when you "secretly" want to "make it" (in the crass sense described above) but are afraid to enter the fray. As a result you end up looking for a rationalization for why you don't need to make the big move and pretend your redefined "making it" is what you really mean, when its not. That creates conflict. If you want to define your ambition, for your work and for your career with a different set of objectives then the above locals are less important.



November 7, 2005, 4:55 PM Artforum fantasy etc.

George, thank you for phrasing this in a manner that sums up why the whole thing doesn't feel right to me. I would prefer a core of dedicated collectors in sufficient numbers that I can live a quiet, independent life. I admire the career arc of Balthus. Like him, I want my retrospective to take place at the Palazzo Grassi.


Marc Country

November 7, 2005, 5:05 PM

Jeorge, I'm unclear how my characterization of your term "Making It" differs significantly from your own "Artforum fantasy... crass sense described above", but if I am somehow misunderstanding you (which I don't think I am) , then it must be in a very subtle way ,which shouldn't really affect my general point.

Both George and catfish are talking about THE PLACE to MAKE IT, but to each, not only is THE PLACE different, but it seems the very idea of MAKING IT is different too.

(I don't want to assume that when George writes of artists who "are afraid to enter the fray", who "pretend" their "redefined "making it" is what" they "really mean", etc... he means to insinuate that this is what catfish has done... but, perhaps that is exactly what George is, rather delicately, trying to say.)

Regardless, I'm interested to read what others might think of the questions raised by George and catfish's respective extremes. Seems to me to be an interesting question worth hashing out.


that guy

November 7, 2005, 5:41 PM

You are right on the money in 75 Mark. But most artist's have to follow the money, at least enough to live. Of course many survived before money, so who knows. A nomadic cave painters existence doesn't sound too appealing once accustomed to the niceties of our modern age. I recommend moving to where catfish lives. I don't think it is in Western Canada based on other comments he has made here. Alternatively you could stay put here in MIA. The scene is whack but the under current, I feel, is germinating into something lasting. Give it a few more years of hard work. Your work is incomplete here as yet perhaps. Have you ruled out staying?



November 7, 2005, 6:02 PM

re #81, First off, I was in no way referring to Catfish, I don't know him personally and nothing he has ever said here would lead to that conclusion. I have seen what I described occur with other artists I knew. Also there is a very specific distinction to be made with this point. The problem can occur with the denial of the ambition and an attempt to reframe it as a defensive measure. It's not in the actual definition of what might be successful itself.

I mean "making it" as being an art world Rock Star. As the top of the pyramid, king of the hill, public enemy number one. As the ultimate combination of talent, showbiz, business savvy and politics all wrapped up into one artist (ala Jeff Koons)

I think this is different from what Catfish was speaking about. It is one definition for ambition but not the only one. Another is being ambitious about the work with less need for outside reaffirmation which I think is closer to what Catfish would support. In any case it doesn't matter all that much as long as you are honest with yourself and realize there are very few Michael Jackson's in the world



November 7, 2005, 7:44 PM

perhaps you guys are over analyzing the whole bit. i guess whatever environment you feel comfortable in, making art you want to make is all there is to it. forget about the koons star power image. that's bunk. it also has a lot to do with the type of art you produce. and you have to know the gallery heirarchy and so forth. i knew a great painter in manhatt who was from india and he made these incredible field paintings using this ancient urdu technique of blowing the paint through a very fine reed and got into this tantric state while doing so and i for one don't know how he didn't pass out but maybe he did...but i point is that galleries wouldn't touch him b/c he was just so out of his element in that crazy city and not on the path to popularity. you have to assess all aspects of what you do and what everyone else around you is up to. that is all part of it of course.



November 7, 2005, 10:25 PM

Guess I gots to say more.

No I don't live in Canada. Nor do I really live where I live. Have felt placeless for several decades.

What I meant had to do with the best art possible for one to make, and about having artists around who are genuinely good, good enough to put pressure on someone who is ambitious for his or her art and young enough to benefit from all that. (It is also good to have something handy that's worth stealing, but I don't know any place that offers that nowadays.)

As I said, western Canada has an unusual concentration of those kind of artists. They, despite their "isolation", have a strong network and a strong sense of where history has taken art to this day. It is not New York but neither is it Tahiti. They know what they see but hardly dominate the region, much less the world. They persist, which is about all anyone can do.



November 8, 2005, 8:35 PM

Regarding Jordan's site:

"Home" is in a weird place, under painting. Outside of that, nice and clean, and organized about as well as you can organize these things. Just one thing - I'll bet that after a while you're going to decide against those categories. You'll do an animal from imagination and agonize over where to put it. Issues like that made me decide to my own site chronologically - at least there was no question about where to put stuff.

As for your work, well, you're still one of the guys to beat down here, that's for sure.


Marc Country

November 9, 2005, 12:53 AM

Again, for the sake of argument, please forgive my generalizations...

It seems that mek is offering a third extreme...

If we consider George's "Rock Star" to signify the quest for fleeting fame and fortune, to be idolized, but surely to be replaced by the next chart-topper...

and we think of catfish's isolated artistic monk, caring more about pushing the work itself to its limits, trying to meet the highest critical standards, the attention of the wider world be damned...

Then mek's comment #84, "whatever environment you feel comfortable in, making art you want to make", represents a sort of "to thine own self be true" philosophy that is equidistant from both. This viewpoint seems to care as little for the critical respect of peers as it does for the cover of the art mag, and suggest a very subjective personal approach to art-making, and therefore a subjective approach to deciding on a place (the notion of THE PLACE is irrelevant here).

Stil curious what other views are out there on this one.

That guy, I never said I was moving.



November 9, 2005, 1:12 AM

Marc, what's so difficult here?

To thine own self be true.

Wannabe an art star? = move to NYC, LA, LDN (no one here fits into this category)

For anything else, listen to your wife. Seriously, go where you can get a job, afford the rent, have a few friends or like the weather AND where there are other artists you can talk to. The last is what Catfish is really talking about, it has nothing with being a hermit but a lot to do with being able to find someone you can trust in your studio. Most poeple cannot work in total isolation, partial isolation yes but in general we all need someone to show the work to and have a discussion or argument abot it. Blogging wont suffice for this.


Marc Country

November 9, 2005, 1:54 AM

No difficulty here, George. As I've explained, I'm obviously making some generalizations for the sake of argument.

Like I said before, I already get what you're saying, and agree... you're right, if being an "art star" is what one wants (or, to put it another way, if you're a gallery and want to be in the big art fairs like Basel, "In the Hunt", as you like to say), you need to locate yourself in Lndn, NY, or LA. No further argument on that is necessary. We all understand.

I think (hope) that there aren't many regular commenters here who are that interested in being the next Jeff Koons, and rather think that most here are interested in making their work as good as it can be (but would surely not turn down financial success were it to find them).

What I find interesting is contrasting an attitude like catfish's... (which distinctly says there is a fairly specific place that can facilitate this. This generally goes along with my understanding of art history, that at certain times there are places one must go, not for fame necessarily, but for the right influences to make the work the best it can be... Rock-star issues aside, fifty years ago, that would have been New York, 100 yrs ago, Paris, in previous centuries, Rome perhaps, etc... catfish, it would appear, is suggesting that if there is such a thing as THE PLACE in our contemporary art world, it is western Canada)...

...contrasting an attitude like catfish's and attitudes of mek, and indeed perhaps George, that anyplace is as good as any other for this, that it is a personal, subjective decision, to be made between you and your wife, or whatever, based on artistic and extra-artistic considerations, blah blah blah.

What I'm wondering is if other people agree with the notion of there being THE PLACE in contemporary art practice, and if so, whether their idea of THE PLACE matches up with catfish's, or whether someone has a better suggestion of where it might be. This is not about me searching for a new home... this is about me seeking out viewpoints from other artists.

Have I made myself clear enough for you George, or have I still lost you somewhere along the way?



November 9, 2005, 7:03 AM

Marc, art does not "meet the highest critical standards", though it does create "standards" of sorts as it makes its way. It makes value where none existed before, not out of the void (tradition is too important), but it's not as easy as meeting some known and understood expectation. Emerging art measures itself by itself.

"THE PLACE" may not exist today. Western Canada posseses some but not all of its ingredients.

MEK's comment about wherever you are comfortable is probably true of "late style" artists, people who know what they are doing and do it with a certain hell be damned method.



November 9, 2005, 9:32 AM

Marc, It's not that you're not being clear but I'm sensing from the undertone of your questions that you're not being honest with yourself.

I think (hope) that there aren't many regular commenters here who are that interested in being the next Jeff Koons, and rather think that most here are interested in making their work as good as it can be (but would surely not turn down financial success were it to find them).

What makes anyone think that Jeff Koons (when he was young and unknown like many of the readers here) wasn't interested in making his work as "good as it could be"? This is essentially saying "I hope none of the readers here are that ambitious" and suggesting that somehow by being that ambitions they aren't interested in making the best work they possibly can. I don't mean to specifically single you out Marc, I think it is a common opinion here, that to be successful you need to compromise or debase your work. This is utter nonsense.

Suppose we look at this question of PLACE in a different way. Lets suppose Miami ( or Philly, or Chicago, or Tbilisi) is the only place there is, a little universe in it's own. Guess what, I'll bet Miami has its own little NYC-like enclave of ambitious artists and I'll bet everyone else is hinting that all they care about is getting ahead and that the work is secondary. Sound familiar?

So what is "the PLACE" as you call it? How does it get that way? Sienna in the 1400's, PARIS at the turn of the century... It occurs when there are enough talented artists in a location to create a critical mass AND the patronage to go along with it. By a "critical mass" I mean that there are enough artists to generate a lively and competitive dialog not just a handholding support group. Secondly the work needs to be seen, the bigger the audience the better and there needs to be some kind of financial support. Any major city in the US is capable of doing this, even in the boondocks of Canada.


Marc Country

November 9, 2005, 10:31 PM

Catfish, I didn't mean 'standards' in any sense that it is set in advance, but rather just the standards that each work must reach to be a success, which is different for each work... simply the idea of 'goodness', I guess.

George, I think before you start to think you can "sense" things from my "undertone", you should rememember that you don't know anything about me, and stick to what's in my lines, not what you think you see lurking between them.

I guess perhaps your understanding of Jeff Koons is different than mine... I used his name do describe a person that fits the notion of a 'pop star' artist... lots of flash, little real substance or staying power. And no, I don't think Koons was interested in being a great artist... he was interested in being KNOWN as a great artist. Big difference, but perhaps too subtle of one to bother trying to hash out any further.



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