Seven months ago I moved into a place that changed my life.
It's a run down rambling brownstone on Chicagos Southwest Side in a little-known neighborhood called Little Village (La Villita).
It has 5 bedrooms and was full of trash and rats when I arrived.
Seven months later it is a live/work space-- filled with light and eclectic minimalist decor-- which I share with two fantastic roommates. I sleep in a tiny room on the top floor and work in the big room next door. The big room has an 8 by 8 foot picture window and a view of my whole world-- Central Park Avenue.
I stand at the workbench and work all day in the sun watching the city go by.
.The opportunity to work like this is the life changing part. All working artists know the challenge of finding a space. Paying rent is rough enough. Double it. Travel far from your home to work. Wish you were still there when you want to put in a few more hours at 10 pm. Worry about whether your practice is viable enough to support all this. Stress.
The manse gave me the freedom to skip all that. I didn't have to worry about the validity of my work because it was value added, something I could simply do in my home the way I garden in my home, cook in my home, love in my home. Creating became an integral part of my everyday life in a way it never had been before. With no mental or physical barriers to making I was absolutely rolling.
I don't plan on ever finding a studio outside of my home. My big dream is to make do with what I've got for a few years until I can buy a place like the manse, a run down house in a run down place, and convert it into the true live/work arrangement of my dreams. I want a double lot with permaculture style gardens. I want a sustainable system of life in the city that my feeds my art and is fed in turn. I want the freedom to create a world on land that is mine.
Until then, I have the manse.