Have you ever read the story of town mouse and country mouse? I hope you have or you won’t know what I’m on about.
I am definitely a “country” mouse at heart and I have an old friend who lives in Brisbane who has often called me this. I have improved though, as I’ve gotten older and I am proud of how my “city senses” have sharpened!
I want to analyze the the benefits/disadvantages of an artist living both lifestyles. There are degrees of isolation living in the country. I lived in Katherine in the Northern Territory for twelve years and that is isolated. I now live three hours from Melbourne and some people think that is isolated. One of the benefits of living in a small country town are it’s close proximity to everything in it. In a regional area, the pace is generally slower. Slow enough that you can spend more time in a state of thoughtfulness, which is conducive to good arts practice. In addition, as an artist I feel like a kid in a candy store when I go to a major centre. The experience is more vivid, fresh and new and my senses haven’t been dulled. I look at everything with new eyes.
Now to disadvantages, these are that living anywhere outside a major city you have to make a conscious effort to be stimulated and injected with a certain type of cultural exposure. I think regional artists have to work harder for recognition and also to be able to participate in art making on a bigger scale. It is also easier to end up working in a vacuum so to speak and your subject matter has the potential to go stale.
So town mouse versus country mouse, I guess you just have to make the most of where you are while you are there!