City Artist, Country Artist, Part III: I Want it All!

Last Wednesday we heard about why the city is the most inspiring place to live, and then on Friday we heard from those who prefer the country. And then there are those of us who don’t want to have to choose just one or the other. We can find the benefits of each: the energy and color and interactions of the city *and* the quiet and solitude and inspiration-from-nature of a more rural landscape. How to pick one over the other? It would be tough, and many people have arranged their lives so they don’t have to choose and can have a little of both.


What I’ve discovered in talking to people about this–and from my own experience–is that you can live and thrive almost anywhere, and even isolated places have become feasible with good internet access. You can shop online, meet people online, watch tutorials and download PDFs and take workshops–all online, no matter where you are. Still, lots of people don’t want to have to choose just one place to live and work.

Carola speaks for a lot of us when she says,  “Both! I need both!” and Anne says,  “Both. I think changing scenery/ stimuli, at least on occasion, is what really inspires creativity for me.”

Joyce says, “Definitely more isolation with exposure to not just urban, but places away from my studio. If I lived in a metropolitan area, I would have too many distractions. So, I keep my head down in the studio and travel regularly.”

Lorien wrote, “I have made both choices with the intent of finding the space that best spurred my creativity, and have found that Nature is what replenishes my soul and invites my best work to emerge, whilst cities feed my need for new ideas and visions. I enjoy being near enough to easily visit a real city (Seattle is closest), but prefer my creative time spent surrounded by trees and shore.”

Rachel agrees, adding, “There is no doubt that the rural setting inspires me. One has only to look around to see nature. Creativity grows there. But growth happens when you are exposed to other people and their ideas. As it happens, cities tend to be centers of creativity put on presentation – think museums, galleries, discussions, etc. But the creativity happens in nature. I find growth in the cities and creativity and inspiration in the rural setting,” and then she says, speaking for most of us, “Evidently a computer/internet is essential in a rural environment.”

Rani says, “Growing up in rural northern Wisconsin, I learned to appreciate all that nature provides. Having lived in a few large cities as an adult, they’re the place to go culturally. Creatively, it’s nature hands down (for me). The metropolis lends much for inspiration; nature soothes and quiets and allows one to interpret that inspiration.”

Kerin explains,  “I really do think this is an individual thing.. I think its important to be in touch with which is best for your own process…sometimes urban folks think that all the available culture makes a city the place to be, but having done both, I find I like being rural w/ easy access to a big city… I find ( and this is just me) that when there is SO much stuff to look at, it is hard to remember if your ideas are your own, or if you just saw it somewhere…a teacher of mine once wisely said ‘ if you have seen it, don’t do it”…hard for me when I am on visual overload…”


Most of us are really lucky that we have the option of living in one place and visiting all kinds of other places. I know I, personally, couldn’t live where I live if I could never get away, or if I didn’t have internet access to the larger, wider world. As it is, though, it all works out.


A huge thank you to all the people who joined in the discussion on Facebook–I love hearing what everyone has to say, and dialogue there is always thought-provoking and inspiring. Join us: you can find me at


Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.





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