I'm going to declare my disclaimer now--this will be long. Or, definitely longer than my last post (and I didn't set that bar very high, did I?) Anyway...
I recently landed back in New York today after a trip to Los Angeles that I would have loved to see last at least a week longer than it did. Needless to say, I took many pictures. Every time I leave the city, I always come back wanting to turn wherever I was into artwork. Los Angeles has given me more than I think I can handle. Honestly, what do you do with a place that has sunsets like that? Or has trees, literally, of violet flowers? Complain about the traffic, sure. But I passed the floral equivalent of a rainbow while on the freeway. I'm glad the cars move slow enough for me to gawk out the window sometimes.
So now, 3,000 miles away from all that, I was just thinking about much of the stark contrast between LA and NY and what it was doing to my creative interests. It struck me, in my umpteenth hour of insomnia, how artists' interests can be governed SO strongly by location. In NY, where so many people are shoved in each others' faces - walking in time to the heartbeat of ambition; I find that communication between people and the theme of the human condition is held under a lens that only a place as crowded and intense as this could provide. I am always interested in work about people because that is what overwhelms my senses here. It's always people.
In LA, my interests took a completely inverted turn. While it is a huge city and obviously home to many, the fact that people are spread out so far apart and travel primarily in cars allows for less interaction. I suppose "accidental" or "spontaneous" interaction is closer to what I mean. But what LA lacks in one extreme, it is resplendent in another. We all know about its celebrated gorgeous weather--but it is that weather, combined with a varied terrain, that makes the location a feast for the eyes...if you're into colors. Forgive me if I am confusing my tourist eyes with my artist eyes, but I just could not quite get past the impressive display that Nature provides in LA. This overrides the 'good' and 'bad' neighborhoods of the place-- it's everywhere. And in the time I've spent there, I could think only of the terrain and the connection that Nature makes visually to each individual (...interestingly enough, not of each individual to another). I cared only about vast space and the singular, hypothetical 'person.' Again, because vast space was all that surrounded me.
This different and new-found sensibility has made me view a place I thought I'd digested completely in a new light. And New York is new again. It was an interesting click in my brain to draw these associations (no pun intended), and it has validated for me further how traveling is the surest means to recharging one's imagination.
Noelle Raffaele - artist