I moved to San Francisco in 2010 to work at a startup. At the time I was living in NYC and the technology hacking scene there was utter garbage. It was dominated by these stupid "artists" who had a strangle hold on the local scene and ostracized anyone who wasn't cool, hip, GGG, libertine hacker guys like them. I still remember wondering where the hell they all got their thick rimmed black glasses? Did they rob a Warby Parker or something?
At first living in San Francisco was great, and it really was the technologist's paradise I envisioned. Then the tech bros showed up. As the money in tech prolapsed into the local economy the brogrammers in the industry confused their acquisition of a loan with being real super dudes. This the fueled the anti-intellectual libertines of San Francisco to skip a couple burning man orgies and fight the brogrammers for the intestines of the city.
This really makes the city an ugly place to live and work, and I hope in the future technology companies simply avoid San Francisco. Not because San Francisco is necessarily a bad city. The entire bay area definitely has a huge problem with corruption and graft, more than any other city I've lived in. Rather, this constant fight between the wannabe libertines just trying to get whipped at The Citadel, and the brogrammers living off Zuck's scraps, ends up ruining what could be a fantastic place to live.
San Francisco will always be a bitter sweet place for me in my life. On the one hand, my books took off there and I was able to start a new career doing something I really enjoy. I also learned to paint, which I will always cherish for the rest of my life. I loved some women so deeply it still makes me sad that they didn't work out in the end. San Francisco was also where I had the most terrible heart breaks of my life. Where I saw the most violence and governmental indifference I'd ever seen. Where I encountered groups of people who abused and fed off their peers for tiny scraps of small points on worthless startups, and other groups who attacked their fellow denizens for simply having a job.
My fondest memory of San Francisco will be the sunny days I spent at Union Square, playing guitars I made and talking to random wonderful weird regulars. Union Square healed the hands broken by a terrible NYC teacher and his "improved" scales. Without that warm sunshine and an open place to just do scales for hours I would have given up on guitar entirely. Now my hands str all fixed up and I'll always remember what that felt like.
I'll also remember that I first learned to draw at Fort Mason on March 13, 2014. I mean I think that's right, but that's close enough for the memory. I'll remember sitting there, looking at the docks, drawing the scene, feeling that blissful peace I have when I paint or draw now, listening to my lover hum and draw along with me. It'll always be a permanent loving memory for me that helps me realize not everything in San Francisco was bad.
I'll also miss all the incredible museums and art schools. I owe the Legion of Honor, the De Young, the SF MOMA, and the SFAI so much for teaching me about art from all time periods. If you live there and you aren't going to the museums on a regular basis you are truly missing out on one of the gems of the US museum world. If you can also pop a flight down to LA and visit the Getty you definitely should. The Getty is a work of art on its own and I probably went there 20 times for whole days just because.
New York is that lover I sometimes check out to see if she's doing alright. She was actually cool and way out of my league. I just wasn't cool enough for her at the time. San Francisco will always be that lover who made me feel awesome and successful while cheating on me and calling me a "fag nerd". Those places are all over for me now, except for the occasional visit. Goodbye, it was fun...almost...I mean yeah you know what I mean.
The first reason is simply it was time for a change. I actually wanted to leave a few years ago but things always kept me there. Relationships, art schools, work, or just too many guitars I didn't want to ship. My time in San Francisco was very lonely and my only social interactions were with the women I dated, so it ended up that relationships meant a lot to me even if they were flawed and doomed to fail. Once there was a break in this pattern I was able to finally plan a move.
The second reason is I have a goal of living and studying art overseas in the next few years. There's one tiny wrinkle in this: California is ruthless about collecting taxes from people who live overseas. Everyone I talked to said definitely move to a state without income tax before you move overseas or California will grab your bank account without any warning. I did some research, and most states without income tax are freezing cold or fairly lame. Florida wasn't that appealing, but Miami seemed really great when I visited. Clean, modern, everyone is generally happy, great weather, and easy to live here. I don't even need a car here.
I'm also looking to improve my landscape painting, marine painting, and art in general, and Miami has a killer art scene. I'd say way better than San Francisco in terms of actual art sales, although so far the Museums here are nothing compared to San Francisco's. Miami just fits my idea of a new place to paint different landscapes and improve my artistic practice while also saving money on rent.
The final reason is I wanted a place that wasn't so pissed off and depressed all the time. I tell people when you live in a city you can sort of feel a personality permeating everything. The personality of New York was a bipolar court jester. There were days you could tell NYC was pissed off at you, other days where Gotham loved you like a mother, and most of the time it was fucking hilarious. San Francisco's personality is definitely that of a depressed but brilliant failed artist. It was always sad that it wasn't considered a greater city and jealous everyone overlooked it's good qualities, so it took that out on everyone living there. I guess in many ways I kind of adopted the personalities of the cities while I lived there.
I don't know what Miami is like yet, but I'm getting the sense that Miami actually doesn't give a fuck what I think about her. Miami is looking too fabulous to care.