In last week's MM post, Own Your Space, I talked about the various options for buying. Many artists responded with their own stories of properties bought or built. One artist responded with this question:
The financial benefits of working at home are inarguable, but how can I overcome the social and creative hurdles of working in isolation?
Sometimes if feels as if you can't win. When you spend all your income-producing hours earning enough to pay the studio rent, you don't get much studio-visit time. And when you have a more affordable setup in an out-of-the-way place, no one makes the trip out.
I can suggest a few bricks-and-mortar options
. Regular visits to the gallery cities near you (an anonymous Philadelphia artist commenting in the same post says s/he takes the Bolt Bus up to Manhattan once a month)
. Get to the openings, where everyone is more social
. Visit open studios in your area
. Form a crit group with other artists, or even a reading group, to maintain contact with your peers. If you can't use your home when it's your turn to host, come up with an inventive solution: a room in the local library, art center or college, perhaps. Or volunteer to be the event organizer in lieu of meeting in your space
. Consider a short term rental when you need to show work to dealer or curator. Or rent/barter the use of a friend's in-town studio (could you trade artwork or a service?)
Cyberspace offers greater specificity and geographic diversity
. Maintain a blog, or comment regularly on several. You can do this from anywhere, yet the community can be rewarding
. The Facebook community is large. If you don't let it take over your life, it's both fun and useful
. In particular, Facebook groups allow people with particular interests to "meet" regularly. The group can be open--which means that anyone can read the comments, "listening in" as if the meeting were in a public park; or closed, which means it's more like getting together in someone's living room or studio. In both instances, artists are from dozens of locations. I belong to groups in both categories, and I find that the friendships, exchange of ideas and personal support have become important the busier I become and the more isolated my work sometimes makes me. Start a group and invite people to join it.
Readers: How do you stay Connected?