Economically and artistically, New York City today is certainly different than the one Paul encountered over 40 years ago. Yet his experience has also forged a practical resiliency, maybe even a cautious optimism. "Every generation faces challenges," he affirms. "When I came to NYC in 1973, the city was in bad shape, jobs were poor or scarce, and paying for life here was very difficult. So even though the city is ever more expensive, artists always seem to figure out a way to stay and revitalize the performing world here."
"Of course I would like for all university graduates to have no student loans," he goes on. "Of course I would like entry-level performing jobs to pay better. New York may still be the center of the art world, but it is also getting expensive! This is hard for artists starting out. And there is less space for studios and theaters, and what space there is is expensive."
He concludes by saying: "I think the biggest challenge facing artists is to have the courage to embrace their own individual vision in the face of artistic, monetary, and social pressure to do otherwise. I am happy any time anyone encounters success, but it's also important to remember the core inspirations that drive us to be creative artists."
"Sometimes it's difficult to stay in touch with these core inspirations when in the thick of the brawl of life," Paul admits. "I hope that I bring that to my own work and to the creative life of my students. The rest of it will happen, and this generation is different than mine. I trust this generation."
From "Fifty+" (2013), duet with Lance Gries. Photograph by Celine Warshaw.
Top Image: "Honor" (1998). Photo by Paula Court.