Best Cities to Live as a Struggling Artist

Have you ever wondered what cities support emerging artists the best? If you’re a struggling musician, a fashion photographer or a designer, where should you actually be living, and where are you most likely to find success? There are some amazing online tests to help you choose locations that are tailored to your specific needs. But none of these tests target emerging artists and creative entrepreneurs. Let’s be honest, as important as talent and hard work are, they’re not enough unless you can get your foot in the proverbial door. In many cities around the world, that door is sealed shut. Of course, no place is perfect, and every city has some combination of great and no so great qualities. But what we’re looking at here is how those qualities translate to success for emerging artist who don’t have a lot of money to burn, especially those hoping to find success in the fashion industry. Let’s have a look at some of these places.

So, What Are The Best Places To Be an Emerging Artist?

Our list is based on the factors we consider to be most important in an environment that allows creative entrepreneurs to thrive and ultimately win at life:  1. Affordable housing 2. Access to funding 3. Decent public transportation system 4. A supportive creative community 5. Low level of discrimination against women and minority groups, and 6. A healthy indie (i.e. beyond corporate) fashion scene. Let’s start with the last on our best of the best list:


London – Rank 8

Bread: $1.59  |  Small Studio Apartment: $2,432.55   |   Bus Fare: $4.84

Perhaps it’s surprising that London (and New York for that matter) is on this list at all given how expensive it is. The great thing about London is that it has an excellent public transit system that allows you to live in a much cheaper suburb and easily commute. We love London for it’s attitude and taste for innovation. It’s a city that embraces everything and anything fresh, unconventional and talented – and they’re not snobby about it. You could be a talented nobody, and as long as your work is good, you will be treated with the respect you deserve as an artist. No other city embraced Lone Wolf Magazine from the get-go like London did. It is a city of early adopters and envelope pushers. Although, yes, it can be expensive, the amount of opportunities and support available to artists makes up for it.

new york

New York City – Rank 7

Bread: $3.00  |  Small Studio Apartment: $3000   |   Bus Fare: $2.50

We all love New York. Obviously. But the reason falls at #7 on our list is because New York is slowly becoming less a place to actually live, and more of a theme park for tourists with money to burn. The City is the physical embodiment of the American Dream in the collective consciousness, it makes things happen for people, and that makes it a very magical place. But its gotten so expensive that no one except the very rich can afford to live in New York. Patti Smith put it this way, “New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling.” But what she should have said is, “Most of New York has closed itself off to the young and struggling, but a few of the Burroughs and Jersey City just across the river are quite do-able actually.” Jersey is 34% less expensive than NYC, and though it’s technically a different city, if you really want the benefits of living in New York without the financial burden, Jersey City is a 30 minute subway ride to Manhattan.


Melbourne – Rank 6

Bread: $2.69  |  Small Studio Apartment: $1,524   |   Bus Fare: $3.41

In terms of fresh innovative work, Australia is a creative powerhouse. Lone Wolf gets some of the best photography submissions from Melbourne. One of our all-time favorite designers Toni Maticevski is based there and the street style is incredible. For years Melbourne, Australia has been ranked as the most livable city in the world. As for public transit, the city has the largest tram network on the planet. So you’ll get around. Melbourne is so thick with hipsters and fashionistas, it’s fertile ground for anything creative. The only draw-back, it can get expensive – but it’s still cheaper than Sydney.


Los Angeles – Rank 5

Bread: $2.50  |  Small Studio Apartment: $1,500   |   Bus Fare: $1.50

When asked about Los Angeles, John Lennon famously replied, “That’s just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for the trip to San Francisco.” Harsh and unfair Johnny. Super harsh and unfair. Los Angeles is one of those difficult cities to make up your mind about because everyone seems to either love it or hate it. On the one hand it has over 56 creative establishments for every 100,000 people, a diversity index of 84.2, and an arts and culture index of 100 (in case you’re wondering, these are amazing numbers). Movie magic is made here, and everyone knows someone in the industry, which means, as an artist, you can get your work in front of hot shots. But then there’s the urban sprawl, the lack of decent public transit, insane traffic and pricey rent. But, if you can deal with the traffic, and you absolutely need to be where the action’s at, LA is a much much cheaper alternative to New York. Also, besides the fact that the weather in California is amazing all year round, the Golden State is also the best place in the world to get funding for your business.

Paris by Marisa Seguin

Paris – Rank 4

Bread: $2.10  |  Small Studio Apartment: $1,540.88   |   Bus Fare: $2.43

Compared to all other fashion capitals, and major creative hubs, Paris may pack the best overall punch. If you absolutely must live in a fashion capital, the cost of living in Paris is reasonable and, well, you get PARIS with all it’s architecture, history and people watching. Also, Paris is a hub of European business, and of course has a world-renowned reputation for art and fashion. You can gain a lot from living in Paris, though the city does come with a few draw-backs. Increasingly locals are complaining that there’s a lack of entrepreneurial spirit in Paris. Even Anna Wintour has commented that France needs to step up when it comes to nurturing local talent. Thankfully, the French government took note and recently amped up their game toward helping young entrepreneurs who want to start a business. So there you go. Strides in the right direction. 


Montreal – Rank 3

Bread: $2.80  |  Small Studio Apartment: $798.15    |   Bus Fare: $2.74

Besides being the home-base and birth-place of bands like Arcade Fire, GrimesStars and Chromeo some of Canada’s best indie designers, and fashion magazines are based in Montreal (shout out to Dress to Kill Magazine!!). One thing you’re probably going to notice about this list is that Toronto, Canada’s largest and most bustling metropolis, isn’t on it. The reason? Though Toronto is known world-over as an excellent place to do business, it falls short of Montreal’s cultural vibrancy and strong sense of creative community. Without a strong support structure in place, artists don’t stand a chance. In part this is because of Montreal’s excellent urban planning; unlike it’s larger counterparts, Montreal is less sprawled and was designed for active street life rather than to accommodate high-rise buildings. Where Toronto is the hub of all things corporate, Montreal is the hub of culture. Not to mention, rent is about half what you would pay in Toronto and Vancouver.


Barcelona – Rank 2

Bread: $1.46  |  Small Studio Apartment: $907.40   |   Bus Fare: $2.72

Barcelona is the sixth most visited city in Europe, but it snags the number two spot on our list. Similar to Montreal above, Barcelona wasn’t built to accommodate large buildings, corporations or cars. It was built to accommodate people – the city is structured to encourage social activity in and around the public spaces. This means that the cities are alive at every moment, filled with food, fashion, music and street art. What could be more inspiring than that for an artist? Barcelona has a world-class subway system but it’s also a highly walkable and bikeable city – there are bike lanes everywhere and amazing bike-share options. The city is remarkably youthful, parties are never-ending, and though it may not be known for it, Barcelona is one of the most stylish cities in the world. On top of that, Barcelona is also affordable, and for the last few years it has been developing a strong startup environment. The city has everything you need as a young creative bent on world domination.

berlin city

Berlin – Rank 1

Bread: $1.64  |  Small Studio Apartment: $750   |   Bus Fare: $3.48

We dug around for weeks and Berlin consistently came up on top. Designers, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs, this is the single best place in the world to be right now if you’re not rolling in money, need to be in a world class city, have access to top of the line funding, be in the heart of an incredible creative community and be surrounded by beautiful people who love to support new fashion designers. Berlin has it all. No other city quite compares to Berlin’s characteristic mix of cool, accessible and affordable. And did we mention that Germany is among the most socially supportive countries in the world. The country itself is structured so that no one falls through the cracks, not even a starving artist like you. What we’re trying to tell you is, pack your bags right now and move to Berlin. You won’t regret it.

.   .   .   .   .   .



The cities below are inspiring places to visit. They score high on most of our important points, but they critically fail in one or more major ways. And although, of course, it’s not impossible to become wildly successful here, it will likely be a bit harder.

san francisco

San Francisco

Loaf of Bread: $4.00  |  Small  Apartment: $2900   |   Bus Fare: $2.00

No doubt, San Francisco is an immeasurably inspiring place to visit and there’s no shortage of creative people to be found there. But there is nothing “emerging” or “struggling” about San Francisco’s residents. Currently San Francisco ranks as the most expensive city to live in North America. As of 2013, the average price of a studio apartment is approaching the $3000 USD range. No emerging artist could afford that. And so, not surprisingly SF has a relatively small creative community (most have escaped to the more affordable neighboring Oakland). To make matters worse, San Francisco has a terrible public transportation system. There isn’t much of a subway because of the difficult-to-build-under mountainous landscape prone to earthquakes. And forget about traveling by bike. Unless you’re into hardcore mountain biking, the steep hills that are characteristic to the city are impossible. But on the plus side, if you can find a way to merge fashion and art with technology, you can find millions of dollars of funding here.



Loaf of Bread: $2.81  |  Small Studio Apartment: $1,600.30   |   Bus Fare: $2.81

Toronto is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. Immigrants make up nearly half of the population. You get huge points for that Toronto, and your cultural goings on aren’t too shabby either. But The city is experiencing a housing boom, which means that rental prices are shooting skyward, and are almost on par with places like Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the city also suffers from insufficient capital, which means most young entrepreneurs have to reach deep into their own pockets and rely on bank loans. As a result, Toronto has significantly less startups than other cities of similar size. Read more about it here. Due to poor city planning, Toronto can be  inaccessible, congested and expensive to navigate. Plus, the public transit system is the most expensive in North America, and among the worst in the world.



Loaf of Bread: $1.92  |  Small Studio Apartment: $1,295   |   Bus Fare: $1.54

Tokyo has a reputation for being expensive, and difficult to live in. Yes, apartments downtown can go for as much as $1,300USD, but go outside of the city and they drop to half that. So that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. And yes, it’s very crowded. Rush hour on public transit is insane, but Tokyo’s public transit system is literally the best in the world. You can easily go anywhere in the city for $1.50. On top of that, Tokyo is the land of independent boutiques. They’re everywhere and they’re thriving. Read about how awesome Tokyo is here. BUT it’s still a lot easier for a man to start a successful business than a woman. Old  traditions hold fast, and women are still encouraged to marry and have children over delaying these things in favor of starting a business (read more about it here). On top of that there’s very little diversity. And that’s a deal breaker.



Loaf of Bread: $3.24  |  Small  Apartment: $1,344.09   |   Bus Fare: $5.56

Obviously Stockholm is the coolest place in the world. Just look at these people. Beyond having a population of undeniably gorgeous people, tons of museums and art, Sweden also has the highest priced food in Europe, same goes for public transportation, utilities, services and income taxes. The cost of living to be about 20% higher in Stockholm than in Paris, just to put things in perspective. But perhaps the most frustrating thing about Stockholm is its next to impossible to find an apartment. You’ll find very little new housing being built in Sweden’s cities, which means they dont really grow along with the population. Translation: There are always going to be more people than apartments. In order to get into one of these apartments, Swedes use bizarre points system. No idea how you get these points, but the amount of points you have determined your place in line for an apartment. Swedes literally put their babies on “the list” so that when they reach adulthood, they’ll have enough points to be first in line to snag one of these super awesome urban apartments. Translation: You don’t stand a chance.




Loaf of Bread: $2.75  |  Small  Apartment: $1,338.55   |   Bus Fare: $2.06

Milano has a great reputation for fashion. Compared to other places, Milan is both more industrial and more modern than the rest of the country. If you find yourself in Milan as a tourist, you’ll likely be left with an incomplete picture of what the city has to offer because Milan doesn’t have the same calibre of tourist attractions other cities have. One traveler put it this way: “Milan lacks the artistic elements…The city is filled with run down old – looking buildings, which detract from its overall beauty and not to mention, it doesnt offer so many activities and places of attraction for anyone to come back, except for shopping.” But if you get out of the tourist zone, Milan has a thriving underground creative scene, great public transit system and a decent atmosphere for new creative ventures. But  it’s ranked among the most expensive cities in the world, and it can feel congested and polluted.



Loaf of Bread: $1.58  |  Small  Apartment: $2,762.43   |   Bus Fare: $1.42

According to the World Bank’s “Doing Business” report, Singapore is the best place to do just that. Business. Especially when you’re just starting out. It’s easy to get money and make money here, and it’s easy to get around. Finding an affordable home however, is beyond difficult. Expect to pay about $2780.98 for a hole in the wall studio apartment. Though a few creatives are slowly changing things (like Singapore based fashion photography duo Chuando and Frey), the cultural environment isn’t focused on the arts as much as on finance.


Artwork by Karen Young of Loose Petals. You can purchase her prints here.

Natalia Borecka

Natalia is the editor in chief and publisher of Lone Wolf Magazine. She founded the publication in 2012.

  1. I’m still in high school, but I’m so interested in fashion and really want to become a fashion designer, so this post was so helpful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    1. Lone Wolf Magazine says:

      You are very welcome Juliana!

  2. This is a nice and accurate list, but it’s a little obvious, I’m wondering if there’s a list of the next tier down, truly cheap up and coming cities that still support the arts. I find my favorite art all comes out of Poland, is there a thriving art economy there? I hear Kiev is cheap, but how’s the art?
    You’ve made a nice list, I’m just wondering if there’s a followup article with some more hidden secrets about art world fertility?

    1. Lone Wolf Magazine says:

      Since success in the art world is closely tied to the wealthy elite classes who have the money to buy independent fashion labels and art, when making this list we had to factor in a strong consumer presence in each city. Right now, the places with the most amount of rich people are 1. North America 2. France 3. Germany 4. UK. Some of the places you mentioned have great creative communities, but not enough wealthy individuals to allow those communities to thrive economically. The key here is to thrive rather than survive as an artist.

      1. Thanks for posting this list. I think it’s a great initiative, a quick guide and insight to the young and/or upcoming artists.
        I have lived in New York (Staten Island, Williamsburg and Manhattan) for 8 years, Copenhagen for 6 years and Los Angeles for 7 years. Currently in Paris and always on the lookout for the next artists supportive city.. There’s as you mentioned no “perfect” place for an artist (especially a struggling one). I’ve found that it can be very helpful to study the mentality of the city, country before making the move. E.G. Costumer service in Paris is not very happening and basically non existing in Copenhagen. The upside of Denmark is a very liberal attitude towards women rights and equal opportunity. It’s very hard to get a real insight until you lived in a place for a while, and although money can quickly change hands, cultures and mentality are much slower “animals”. Racism is a big problem in many of the older European cities, however they’ll amid it or not.. L.A. & N.Y. is in all its contradiction the most open-minded cities (on the list) when it comes to different cultures. Not that they will necessary understand or support it, but people in Los Angeles and New York are use to differences in their own culture, and therefore more open-minded towards New. That being said, the artists success often falls on a few supporters “of the right” people that he or she comes in contact with. and that can happen many places. Personally I’ve been approached by far more people within a year in New York, that any other place. In the big picture, rich people and lots of tested avenues can be both an advantage or a disadvantage for the artist. Some artist are meant to break through in a barren environment where others need a mainstream. To find the best place to live as an artist therefore depends on the artist personally strength and weakneses. Are you a very social person or an introverted Hobbit, in desperate need of an outgoing agent? Does your artistic spirit suffer in cold and grey climate, then Forget about Paris ( ) London or Stockholm.. I’ve personally was inspired by this list enough to consider Barcelona due to its location and stories I’ve heard from friends.. I’m not sure how well the english is there, but it can’t be worse than in Paris where most Parisians refuse to try out their english, although it isn’t so bad as you first think. Once you been here for a while you will discover that’s its all about the average french persons need to be outstanding in any field they are attempting. This resistance is deeply rooted in their culture and therefore difficult for “non french” to conduct any type of negotiations, promotions and sales. You literally have to learn to dance the Parisian Tango in order to be a successful selling artist. So wherever you next move is, my advice is to look at and prepare yourself for the cultures codes and traditions. Berlin is great because the country was forced out of an old system. Nobody is proud of Germany’s war history, so it gave opportunity to a new cultural era. However there is still a German way of doing things that doesn’t go very well with e.g. the latin way of doing things and so on. Happy New Year! and may you find your dream City and prosper in your artistic endeavors.

    2. Trenton, Capital of New Jersey. Gr8 artists communities; close to Philly & NYC.

  3. I’ve actually been researching a bit myself, curious about where would be fun to explore. These are comparison costs of living subtracted from Los Angeles as a base line. I have no idea about the success of art in these regions, but once upon a time people flocked to New York and Paris not only because they were social hubs, but they were affordable so they didn’t have to hit the ground running with success. Now they may be the most fertile ground to make money, but they don’t have that je ne sais quoi that places truly easy to live in can achieve.

    kiev ukraine -40%
    chisinau moldova -61%
    Nis Serbia -60%
    Bucharest Romania -47%
    Cluj Romania -54%
    Lviv Ukraine -58%
    Plovdiv Bulgaria -52%
    Budapest Hungary -42%
    Tbilisi Geogia -52
    Cairo -55%
    Sofia Bulgaria -49%
    Tunis Tunisia -51%
    Algiers Algeria -46%
    Mumbai India -61%
    Kathmandu Napal -68%
    Karachi Pakistan – 82%

  4. I, and a couple friends I know have lived in various places in downtown Toronto and I have to say that small studio apartment cost is probably for the pretentious and loaded, not the struggling artist. Unless of course the person is sharing it with 3 others 😉

  5. Thanks for great post..I am visual artist. I still think that Berlin and London are best cities to live for any artists. London can be expensive but a lot of rich people live there. If Berlin would have same bussines power as London does than Berlin would be city # 1 in Europe for artist to be. Both cities got plenty of galleries and cultural events. This I am missing here in Cal.gary,there are some but among Canadian cities can not compare it with Toronto.(Unfortunatelly Toronto is dealing with high unemployment and high rent living,but rents went up here in Cal.gary also plus food is expensive here) People here have got money but they seems to sit on them and rather they invest in oil,houses,cars and land. Among best cities for art in Canada we can name Montreal Vancouver and Toronto.,but Montreal does not have such strong economy,but French just love art and if you exhibit and sell for reasonable price they buy it ! And this is just awesome..anyway If had more money I would go for London as I speak beter English than French or German..but in Berlin it is possible to get around with English..more that it would be in Paris.

  6. What about Rotterdam? I heard great stuff about it!

  7. What about Seattle? Strong art community, fairly cheap mass transportation, rent can be high, but not as high as NYC or LA. Technology is huge here, there are a lot of smart rich people who need an artist’s creative touch to brighten their lives.

    1. Choc Donut says:

      I’m a Seattle resident, and the city has a long tradition of not supporting visual artists. Most famous ones made it elsewhere. It’s good if you’re a glass artist, but much of the buyers here want the art that’s proven itself outside the town. Engineers are cheap at buying art unless someone has told them its the next big thing. Trust me, it’s an artist graveyard. It was a cool place 15-20 years ago, and VERY cheap back then, but that is all gone. The traffic is horrific, and the transit is not keeping up. The rents are ridiculous, and the city actively tears every last cool thing down. The frew art districts are infested with bored suburbanites and hacks. The music scene is active in its support, though rehearsal space is so overpriced. If you want to get somewhere in music, its a legit place to come, but for visual art I would stay far far away unless you want to rent a space 2 hrs outside of town, and then fly back to the art centers to sell. We do have some great wilderness, but its pretty much summer, unless you ski. Anyway, you can’t afford studio space or a house, and work/commute at the same time. It won’t happen here, unless your tech skills are top notch, and then you’ll be overworked.

  8. Intriguing list. Thanks for the article. I’d like to see more articles about great cities for struggling artists, as things are changing pretty rapidly out in the world these days…

    IMHO, no city that’s expensive to live in is a good city for struggling artists. I’ve been there, and done that. Yes, there are a lot of rich people, but the rich people usually “hang” with other rich people and typically aren’t going to give you, the young upstart, a chance. To have time to put into your art, it’s important to not have to work 70 hrs-per-wk just to survive. And it’s pretty tough to compete w/the rich kids who don’t need to.

    Better to live in a place that’s affordable where people are open to new ideas and where there are lots of other creative people than to move to a glamorous big city and struggle. That can break your spirit and keep you from your art.

    __Just my two cents… 😉

  9. James Lambley says:

    The list was interesting I disagree on New York and London being on the list….talented people are all around us in every city/town around the world but London and New York are established you have to ‘Know’ people to get by, you have to have worked like a dog for nothing just for someone to look at you how can these places nurture creativity….Berlin is already there and unless your scruffy smoke and party till 5 am you won’t fit in. Brussels is on the verge of something truly exciting that draws art dealers and collectors from all over Europe/world attracted by the freedom of being able to non define yourself in your genre you don’t have to know people you can just be you can nurture your creativeness without someone telling you how or forcing you to work for free or go party at Bergheim or hang with the hipsters by a dirty canal in Kreuzberg because it’s the cool thing…..Brussels is going to be a place to watch out for.

    1. that’s very interesting….can tell more? you live there? are you belgian? I heard is not that cheap..

    1. I ve been researching a lot lately about Istanbul…you live there? How is the arts/music scene?

  10. Roy Jones says:

    Not a mention of Liverpool – “the centre of the creative universe “

  11. RedDonnaAnn says:

    This is a ridiculous list. The cost of living in every single one of these places will eat up any emerging artists’ income. Baltimore, Van Couver, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Minneapolis/St. Paul, anywhere in Sweden or Norway. Geez Louise, what boards of tourism paid this author??? I have lived in New York, LA, Baltimore an Kyoto as an artist. I know what I’m talking about.

    1. Interesting, what do you suggest in europe? which kind of artist are you? I’m a musician looking for a cheaper and better place as quality life than London. I see you named Norway or Sweden, but I ve read everywhere those place are very expensive, same things for denmark. I’ve lived in Vancouver too, not sure it is a very inspiring place as an artist. What about Istanbul? I heard about it lately.

  12. Charmaine says:

    Berlin is waaaaaay cheaper than that. You can have a lovely apartment for 300$, if you’re paying 750 for a studio there they are ripping you off. This is not a very good advice list.. No emerging artist can afford the prices that are named here.

    1. Hey, some relief from you. I actually heard about a much more gentrification in berlin especially for artist/musicians. I heard cost of life and rent are going up faster and faster. Is Berlin kind of ..over?

  13. I’m currently thinking about changing cities and I’m not sure I agree with the suggestion of Barcelona as being one of the best places to live as an artist. Yeah, sure, it’s cheaper, it’s sunnier and there’s lots of parties etc….but I’m not sure how these things help an emerging artist in the long term? I live here at the moment, and the one thing that’s missing here is support/money for artists. I also find that if you’re not Spanish…let alone Catalan, it’s not so easy to integrate into the artist community here. And yes, I speak Spanish. Barcelona is quite a small city too, so the creative scene can be very ‘clicky.’ So, from the outsider looking in, it may seem like the perfect place, but there are a lot of other things to consider as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love Barcelona, I’m just not sure it’s the best place for an emerging artist…just my opinion.

  14. Please do not move to Berlin as a struggling artist!
    You will regret it! sooner or later, probably sooner because the city is changing very rapidly, the rents and costs of living here are rising, it is becoming difficult to find a flat anyway, there is a major housing crisis, with a major influx of people from both other parts of Germany and other countries – at the pace of almost 50,000 new residents every year – and it’s become a lot more stressful, a lot less affordable, a lot less friendly and open to foreigners as a result. There are also more and more tourists, by the millions each year, and the city infrastructure is simply not coping well with all this.

    Please, at the very least, if you are contemplating the crazy idea of moving to Berlin now in 2015 based on outdated, irresponsible HYPE, do some research and read up on the situation. The advice in this blog post was hugely optimistic and already very much dated by the time it was written which was early 2014, it’s August 2015 now and telling “struggling artists” to pack their bags and move to Berlin now has become irresponsible.

    The only people still happy enough to move here are Londoners for whom it’s still cheaper than London but hey yeah anywhere in Europe is cheaper than London and you’d have a much better quality of life elsewhere. The other thousands of people moving here do so because of jobs in specific sectors, which have nothing to do with art. Then there’s the migration from poorer immigrants too. More and more people are moving to the cities, it’s a global trend, but the reasons are not the kind of reasons you’d have as an artist. Smaller urban centres all over Europe are far worthier destinations.

    In Berlin, the market for artists who are not already well-connected, well-promoted, well-inserted into the cliques of those with money (ie. mostly native German) is inexistent or inaccessible to you as a foreigner, you will have to struggle harder, everyone expects you to do stuff for free, and you will struggle with every other aspect of your daily life.

    I am not an artist myself, but I do have friends who are and moved here a few years ago and they’re all talking of leaving.

    By all means, at least visit the city and try staying a few weeks and talk to these people who already made the move – not the ones with fancy jobs at some startup that’s gonna fold in a couple of years, not the ones with money from their family, not the ones who are content enough in their little corner of the city because they came ten years ago and snatched up a good deal on rent and have not been forced to move by scrupleless landlords, in other words, not the ones who got lucky. And if you just want to enjoy a taste of the party life, which is also changing a lot, a short stay is enough.

    TL;DR: Please do not move to Berlin as a struggling artist based on outdated hype.

    1. Thanks for the insider scoop on the changing scene in Berlin. I do have friends living there and a few of them have moved back and have told me the same thing. Now that Berlin has changed, which city is ideal for creative types? Would love to hear your opinion on this.

  15. Seems to me that any artist that was rely truly making it pay day to pay day with barely what they need in food water and housing, could make better use f this list as where not to move IT IS 1000$ FOR A SHARED ROOM IN SF, not that sharing a place is always bad but I would never pay a thousand dollars to do it. that’s like over a years worth
    of art supplies more if you thrift.
    My list personally would be
    Eugene OR
    Raleigh NC
    Ashville NC
    Arcata CA.
    Flagstaff AZ
    Portland OR(although its not to much cheep then seattle its got way more places to sale art and so on)
    there are more then that most likely but these are the ones that came to mind
    these cities aren’t all bellow us average but anything is cheep compared to NY NY..

    GOOD luck fellow artist on your source for a place to call home and what ever you do ,do not sell out your art,

  16. This list is so unrealistic! San Fran beats New York?? It’s just as much for rent and WAY less visual art.

  17. Detroit. A re-emerging city. Detroit’s reputation is much worse than the facts. It is a beautiful city in a beautiful state. Large and growing art community. World class art museum and 2 world class art schools Cranbrook Academy of Art and College for Creative Studies. Inexpensive housing, even a poor artist can BUY a large house in a good, safe neighborhood. Low cost of living. Ethnic diversity. Wealthy suburbs. Fairly close to Ann Arbor, Toronto and other wealthy art minded cities.

    1. Philip Carroll says:

      Amen Kay, any such list without Detroit has little credibility.

  18. Stockholm is actually quite intolerant and very snobby. That city really lost it’s cool in the late 90’s. I know, because I am a swede, and I have been to Stockholm many times.
    They really don’t like outsiders, meaning people outside of Stockholm, they are very snobby, and you most likely won’t even get in to a restaurant, because you look “wrong” or you dress “wrong. That is after you have been standing outside for hours so they can look exclusive and clever they think. I am dead serious. It’s really bad, unless you are an artist, and very casual, move in the right part of the city, you will not like it much at all. People there also think that Stockholm is Sweden. Everything else is farmland, with funny accents. The country itself is not that good anymore. Sad but true. It went downhill fast after 1999. They still promote and sell Sweden abroad like it’s still the good old 80’s. It’s disappointing to see it change so much for the worse really. Still, good luck!

  19. thurston bokris says:

    Good article, and generally I agree with the list – but I live in London and 2,432.55 USD for a studio flat is insane. This article was written nearly 2 years ago and I know people who just moved into a very nice split-level 2 bedroom flat in the best part of East London and only just pay this now in late 2015. I don’t pay anywhere near this 2,432.55USD either and I live in post-gentrification Hackney. London is suffocatingly expensive, but this London price in this article isn’t realistic.

  20. This list is interesting, however I would disagree with New York being a place for emerging artist to thrive. As an artist myself who is influence by comic books and graffiti, I found that the art scene in New York is non supportive towards new emerging artist and art styles. New York is about commercial arts and artist who art celebrated by the artist elite. Yes its true that there are many artists in New York especially Brooklyn being the “new scene ” for the arts; however the only art that gets any spotlight is abstract art or art from decease artists new ideas of expression is not celebrated.

  21. Actually Detroit and cheap areas around the Great Lakes are ideal. WIth the Internet, jet airlines… You can live almost anywhere, just have your own community. Affordability will allow several trips to all the cities on this list and living would be cheaper in the long run.

  22. Gimme a break! These are the most EXPENSIVE cities in the world!!

  23. Anthony Saggers says:

    Give me a break, barely any of these places are accessible to a starving, struggling artist.

    I think your conception of how much a “struggling artist” can afford to spend is miles away from the reality.

  24. This list is awful. I feel you have misused the word struggling. Almost all these cities have sky high rents and are so full of the most successful artists that getting a foothold would be EXTREMELY hard. Montreal and Berlin seem okay, but anything with an over $1000.00 rent is absurd. Look at San Miguel de Allende, Buenos Aires, and Phoenix, AZ -All good cost of living and local grassroots art scenes with many opportunities.

  25. I thought it was an interesting list. I’m going to dissent here and advise against moving anywhere to be near the ‘art scene’, at least without some connections or an expressed reason. I would advise staying wherever you are and making art, then travel to these cities whenever you can get into a gallery or show. Go to these cities for conferences if you can, even if you have to fly. What I’m saying is let the city pull you in instead of trying to throw yourself in headlong in hopes of making it. I just left LA after living there two years. I moved there to be near the art scene. Personally I wasted so much time just trying to figure the place out and make rent that I barely made anything creative. If you are making good art, the doors will open. LA, London, NYC will come looking for you if you start to develop a buzz. A brilliant artist I know summed it up like this: Focus on your vocation, not your location. He’s worldwide now.

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