Art & Development

Friends who rule

I’ll bend my posting-about-art-mostly rule to express gratitude (which is not entirely unrelated to my art practice, since positive psychologists advise the maintenance of gratitude journals.)

Like in a past stint in New York, I’m again surprised to find myself among many transplanted and visiting Californians. If it seems odd to be among Californians in New York—maybe it’s cheesy and inauthentic, like hanging out at an ex-pat internet café in Bali—I am unapologetic about enjoying it. Sure, I have been meeting new people and cultivating a community here, but I am also very thankful for the old friends and acquaintances that I’ve been able to rely upon—who I know, and with whom I am known. In a new environment with emergent reflections, it’s comforting to share a rapport and background with friends.

Kinship is invaluable to me. I’m so thankful to have or have had:

Fellow Bay Area artists to relate to about navigating New York.

• Grad school classmates who are mutually supportive, and who I can rely upon for no-B.S. responses to art projects. As grad school fades further in the past, relationships with esteemed peers become more precious. I would trade no amount of money or power for the certainty of some of my cohorts’ opinions. To know and trust someone enough to ask them “Does this suck?” about my latest work in progress, and to be confident in the rigor of their critique and their knowledge of my history are truly priceless.

Longtime friends—and new friends—of deep integrity, who live life with enthusiasm, curiosity, adventure, courage, vision, insight, and conviction; who are unapologetic intellectuals; who talk and listen with warmth and generosity. I’ve been inspired by their dynamism—to learn more about cognitive science, to enact my principles more often, and to buttress my values. As ET put it, “Being nice matters.” New York is filled with ambitious people; I hope that I won’t get inured to the sight of boorish self-promotion and transparent displays of power-hunger.

• A steady stream of visitors. When I left the Bay Area, I knew I would miss everyone. But having friends, family, and art community members come to NY has eased the transition.

Colleagues. It’s neat to know that so many people—especially CCA alum—are operating in so many parts of the NY art world. The implication is that I’ll find a place soon enough; and with their help and generosity, I feel like I’ve already started down a path.

Of course, I would be adrift without those in California who continue to reach out, and put in the extra effort to maintain long distance friendships.

(With apologies to MW for lifting the post title.)

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