Advice on Working Abroad

“The role of the artist is to be an outsider; everyone should be a foreigner somewhere”

Jon Burgerman, Artist and Illustrator, New York

I spent a summer in New York before I moved here. If you’re thinking of moving abroad, it’s best to visit the place you want to live in a bunch of times before you relocate. I think after three months or so, you get a good idea of whether you like it. Bear in mind that you’re going to have a good time and a bad time wherever you live. There’s no magical remedy. 

Have realistic expectations and be open. You can never escape yourself. I came here with no luggage, but I still had a bunch of baggage. Even if it’s not the best experience, it will probably be good for you in the long term, and doing things is better than not doing things. 

Being somewhere where people do stuff is good. I could have moved to Berlin, but a lot of my friends who had been there for a long time said, “Oh, it’s great living here. You don’t have to work so hard. You can work for three or four days, and then chill out. That’s brilliant, right?” Don't let your lazy self get the better of you. As humans, we’re predisposed to be lazy. Our brains are set up to take the short cuts. That’s how we survive, but that’s not always great creatively. 

Save time, save energy. Sometimes it’s better to do the tougher thing. Challenge yourself. You’ll find friends and have fun. Moving will add to your story, and if there’s anything that’s important, it’s your story. That’s what we’re living. We’re living our stories every day! That’s the best thing.

Do it! Doing it while you’re young is the best time to do it, and if it doesn’t work out you can move back. I think it’s the best, most fantastic thing you can do. Everyone should be a foreigner somewhere. The role of the artist is to be a bit of an outsider. You learn so much, it’s amazing. Do it.

Jon Burgerman is an artist, illustrator and professional doodler who has been based in Brooklyn, New York, for over five years. Read our full interview with him here.

Posted 22 August 2017 Collection: Working Abroad
Disciplines: Graphic Design, Illustration, Art

Working Abroad

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