Rural Artist, Urban Roots

By Miyoshi Kondo

A crowded alley stacked with the geometric shapes of buildings. The lone house perched on a hill surrounded by sea and trees. Both are equally inspiring. Each call to be painted. The ideas for my artwork stem from a curiosity of how our natural and constructed environments affect each other, the impact of technology, and the concept of home. I can paint contentedly in a room overlooking a bustling street or facing a field of corn. For me, the difference of working in an urban or rural setting is more evident when it comes to the business of art – the most challenging part for me in either locale. Like most choices in life, there are pros and cons to both. Larger cities have more people with greater disposable income. There are more opportunities to show your work where it will be seen and purchased. Living nearby these opportunities reduces the need to travel further afield which saves in time and money for an artist. On the downside, there is more competition and anonymity. You have to work harder to be remembered and stay relevant. There are opportunities but thousands more people vying for them.

Rural areas have fewer people to support an arts industry. Not as many people have the means to buy original art. It’s harder to find available and affordable art supplies. But the lower cost of living affords one the possibility to take the time to make art. In a smaller town it’s easier to connect to businesses and be embraced by community. There is a real desire to support local endeavors and work together to create opportunities.

I have lived and practiced in both rural and urban areas, although neither choice was based on the viability of being an artist. So, as the corn stalks wave, I paint and I am content.

Image: Houses on Hills, 2007