Western artists pursue their muses in China

Ice sculptures by Joseph Ellis melting in the heat in Beijing. Photo:  Reuters

Ice sculptures by Joseph Ellis melting in the heat in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

The stereotypical Western expat in China is the investment banker in Hong Kong or the executive doing deals in Shanghai. On the other hand, the creative set has also been setting up shop in the Middle Kingdom, according to this New York Times article: For China’s Western Expats, Creative Lives of Plenty.

Five artists are profiled, all of whom have plugged into the rising dragon. There are certainly many benefits, such as the low cost of living and labor. Artists can afford to hire assistants and lease oodles of space for their studios, whereas if they operated in New York or London the expenses would be sky-high.

The article doesn’t shy away from some of the challenges of working in China, namely government interference. Confrontations with the authorities bookend the story. Freedom of expression isn’t exactly guaranteed in the People’s Republic. The movie Avatar recently got kicked off screens there, according to another NY Times article. That’s probably the main trade-off for getting those low costs.

Do you know any artists who’ve taken their lives overseas? What did they think of their experiences, the good and the bad?

Posted by | Comments (1)  | January 29, 2010
Category: General, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel News

One Response to “Western artists pursue their muses in China”

  1. Zach Says:

    I saw some really cool art in Shenzhen last October.