I have always wished for a living situation whereby I could have a home in multiple locations around the world so I could jet out of NYC for a change of perspective or to sample an alternative slice of life. Spending time immersed in a different speed, flow, and terrain can be nourishing to body, mind, and creativity. Different than traveling, the idea of having a home in another place is a not just a romantic notion that many artists crave. Famous visual artists and writers have been doing this split-location living for years. Their bios often read: “Fabulous Artist lives and works in Cosmopolitan Worldly Location A and Rural Grounding Landscape B.” My short list to complement New York City: New York state’s Hudson Valley, London, Spain, Morocco, the northwest coast of Ireland, and anywhere in Italy.
For the last couple of years, I have been spending time away from my New York City life to teach, write, and research in an unexpected location. I was pleased to learn that Iowa City is not all corn and farming. In fact, Iowa City is often described as an oasis in the Midwest, liberal and artistic, home of the University of Iowa research community and the famous Writers’ Workshop.
You can imagine the differences in scenery without me outlining them here. I have found that one simple indicator for where I am comes from where I look. In NYC, I appreciate the majestic skyline that reminds me daily why I moved there 17 years ago to begin my dance career. I often look way up to see the sky above the towering buildings as I pound the pavement in my heels. In IC, like much of the Midwest, the sky and earth are separated by a smooth, uninterrupted horizon. I appreciate that you can simultaneously see both sky and earth just by looking ahead. Trees, rooftops, and wind energy towers punch out their negative shapes against sunset skies, and the moon and stars are clearly visible. For me, NYC is extroverted activity and effort. IC is staying grounded and establishing ease. The sky/earth relationship seems to dictate these energies.
My central home will always be NYC, but performing the “Artist’s Split” with the cooperation of Iowa City suits me just fine, and brings the balance I require for my life and work. London and Italy, you’re next! What will you bring into the mix?
We’re wondering…what is your Artist’s Split short list?