Los Angeles, USA, the entertainment capital of the world, is a beacon for artists seeking inspiration and opportunity. If you’re an artist considering a move to the City of Angels, here are some invaluable tips and advice to help you thrive in this dynamic and creative metropolis.
Choose the Right Neighborhood
Los Angeles is a sprawling city with distinct neighborhoods catering to various artistic tastes. From the bohemian vibes of Silver Lake to the artsy atmosphere of Downtown LA’s Arts District, finding a neighborhood that resonates with your artistic sensibilities is key. Consider factors like affordability, proximity to art hubs, and community engagement when making your choice. Remember that having a car is a game changer in the city, and you might want to check how far your job or school will be from your home. Los Angeles can get pretty busy with traffic, and you don’t want to be more than 30 mins away from your place of work or study.
Tap into the Arts Scene
Los Angeles boasts a thriving arts scene with numerous galleries, studios, and performance spaces. Attend art exhibitions, gallery openings, and cultural events to network with fellow artists and art enthusiasts. Building connections within the local art community can open doors to collaborations, exhibitions, and opportunities to showcase your work. Joining online communities such as Meetup or local Los Angeles Facebook Groups can really help you find your right circle!
Utilize Co-Working Spaces
Given the freelance nature of many artistic endeavors, consider utilizing co-working spaces tailored to creative professionals. These spaces provide not only a conducive work environment but also opportunities to connect with other artists, share ideas, and collaborate on projects. The app Desk Pass, for example, offers the chance to reserve your spot in many Los Angeles-based co-working spaces for a minimum daily cost.
Explore Public Art Installations and Temporary Expositions
Los Angeles is a canvas in itself, adorned with vibrant street art and public installations. Take advantage of the city’s outdoor galleries, such as the Arts District murals or the iconic Urban Light installation at LACMA. These spaces not only offer artistic inspiration but also serve as potential venues for your work. The Arts District, close to downtown, also offers a lot of local galleries and temporary expositions to check out!
Attend Workshops and Classes
Enhance your skills and expand your artistic horizons by participating in workshops and classes offered throughout the city. From painting and sculpture to digital arts and filmmaking, Los Angeles provides a wealth of educational opportunities. Engaging in continuous learning not only refines your craft but also introduces you to a broader network of fellow creatives. Many workshops are also free or donation-based. Some very interesting improv classes are offered at The Groundlings or UCB, or you can tap into the courses offered at USC, UCLA, Santa Monica College, LA City College, Loyola Marymount University, or Pepperdine, to name only a few that are open to international students.
Networking is a crucial aspect of any artistic career. Attend industry events, join online forums, and participate in meetups to connect with professionals in your field. Building a strong network can lead to collaborations, exhibition opportunities, and invaluable mentorships. Local theatre plays, stage readings, or local concerts, for example, offer great opportunities to meet the different creative circles and expand your network. Joining the newsletters of the Los Angeles Times, Deadline, Variety, or Hollywood Reporter will keep you up to speed with the trends and local events in the entertainment industry!
Embrace the Diversity
Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures, and this diversity is reflected in its art scene. Embrace the multitude of influences and perspectives, and let the city’s eclectic nature fuel your creativity. Engaging with diverse communities can provide fresh insights and broaden your artistic perspective.
Los Angeles offers very different cultural environments, from Latinos to Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, European, and much more. Explore all the different cultural areas in town! Recommended Koreatown and Chinatown for an immersion in the culture and delicious food tasting in the ethnic restaurants at night! Another favorite area is Boyle Heights: locals from the west side often flock here for affordable Mexican cuisine. Yet a great spot in Boyle Heights that many overlook happens to be the Mariachi Plaza, a vibrant street corner adorned with the lively presence of three-, four-, and five-man mariachi bands, poised to entertain every afternoon and evening.
Navigate the Business Side
Being an artist in Los Angeles is not just about creativity; it also involves navigating the business side of the industry. Familiarize yourself with contracts, copyright laws, and marketing strategies. Understanding the business aspects of your craft will empower you to make informed decisions and protect your artistic endeavors. There are courses that offer a business perspective, such as UCLA or Santa Monica College, where you could purchase single courses to familiarize yourself and dive deep into a specific area of expertise.
Living as an artist in Los Angeles offers a unique blend of challenges and opportunities. By choosing the right neighborhood, immersing yourself in the local arts scene, and strategically networking, you can turn the city’s vastness into a canvas for your creativity. Embrace the diverse influences, continue learning, and navigate the business aspects of your craft to truly thrive as an artist in the City of Dreams.
About the author