Phoenix to Brooklyn: Meet the New New Yorkers
Editor's note: Claire Lawton worked at New Times and edited Jackalope Ranch for three years, 'til this summer, when she packed up and moved to Brooklyn. This week's New Times cover story focuses on the creative forces in Phoenix who've stuck around the past decade; Lawton checked in with some Phoenicians who now call New York home.
On a breezy night in October, visual artist Dave Quan, photographer Dayvid LeMmon, and I met up for a drink on the charming, bubble-lit patio of Huckleberry, a cocktail bar in Brooklyn, New York. The three of us are relatively new transplants to the Big City, and while none of us like to say we started a trend, we're part of a growing population of Phoenix creatives who recently packed our bags and moved across the country.
We all take turns calling off long lists of friends and artists who've moved here in the past few years. And since we've landed, we've all kept tabs on each other's creative projects -- and day job shifts, so we have the opportunity to talk (and have a group freak out about the fast-approaching New York winter).
Truth is, an artist moving to New York is nothing new. A number of New York-based publications have recently highlighted the influx of hipsters and creative types from all over the country that are pouring into apartments and commune-style warehouses on the Upper East Side and in Brooklyn, but the New York art scene has always been the stuff of movies and books, and a beacon for visual artists, photographers, designers, and writers alike to cut their teeth (even if they end up going back home when they're exhausted by rent and crazy work hours).
This summer marked a crowded one on flights and highways from Phoenix to the New York. The list includes LeMmon, as well as designers Derek Welte, Joseph Bergdoll, Anton Anger, and Mark Dudlik, and sustainability champion Jonce Walker and his wife Katie, who designs dresses under the name kt jean. They follow in the footsteps of plenty of Phoenix-raised creatives who have lived in New York, including Bob Carey, Billy Kidd, Erik Foss, Bradford Still, Dominique Chatterjee, Heidi Hesse, and Kelsey Dake (to name a few). And, because I jumped on a plane with two bags and a bike after running New Times' art blog Jackalope Ranch for three years, I'm reporting back on what your new New Yorkers are up to -- and why they're here.