Marketing Buffalo to the World’s Artistic Class: Do As You Will

By Griffin Jones

Presumably, artists can make more money living in a large metropolitan area. But most of them don’t.

Increasingly, large cities are pricing out their artistic talent. Generally, artists can’t afford to cohabit with financial executives. That’s fantastic because Buffalo’s fourth marketing attribute is the freedom to be an artist. Think of the artist’s pain in this way:

Each major city is a giant mural, the best art in the world can be see on this wall. Each artist adds something to it, and more contribute, and more. Then the crowd comes. They have a right to see art. They are the world for whom the art is created. But they push the artists away. Only the artists who have the closest access can make any art at all, but even then they have to change the work of those before them. The middle of the wall is covered, there is no more white space.

So the artists go to the edges of the wall, but eventually every inch of blank space is covered there, too. And the crowds follow them to marvel at what they’ve done, and they push the artists back further still. And for a moment, there is a sea of artists with no canvas.

Artist Tommy Nguyen setting up his interactive installation at SILO City's City of Night

Artist Tommy Nguyensmith setting up his interactive installation at SILO City’s City of Night

Buffalo is a blank canvas. Every empty lot, every abandoned store front, every vacant brick warehouse is unmolded clay. As radio host Jim Kurdziel (@JamesRadio) puts it, even manhole covers and fire hydrants could be installations of street art.

Whether artists like it or not, they are meant to be pushed away. When they feel resentment about having no more space to draw, it’s because they’re staring at the same wall. It is time to create a new Opus. It will be a long time before Buffalo’s canvas runs out of room, or the crowds big enough to push the artists away.

Buffalo needs to market itself as this blank space for artists. While artists need the space and means to create work, they also want to collaborate with other visionaries.

That’s why Buffalo needs to showcase the work of people like Tommy Nguyensmith, a California artist living in Buffalo, or Brian Mihok (@brainhawk) who created this from his perspective about Buffalo.

Buffalo isn’t the finished piece masterpiece, so it means nothing to the crowds. It’s only the artist who hears the composition before its written.

Buffalo must make itself known to the world’s artistic class as one thing, and one thing only: an open space for their imagination. The rest is up to them.


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