ericamerylthomas [at] gmail [dot] com

real estate as conceptual art

Added on by Erica Thomas.

As both research into my interest in the city as art material and as a potential means to sustain my art practice, I have been studying to obtain a real estate license. I have struggled with what this means for my identity as an artist. Can I still call myself an artist if my income is generated from real estate? (Of course I can, but the voice of self-doubt can be quite loud and difficult to tune out sometimes. I mean, just ask any musician/bartender. Teacher/playwright. Etc.) Ultimately I believe so deeply that I simply AM an artist, that I cannot not be an artist, that I am forging ahead with this pursuit of financial sustainability. And occasionally, mired deep in the thickets of appraisal processes and valuation concepts I find gems like this,

"The principle of change holds that value estimates are valid only as of a specific point in time as neighborhoods and properties tend to go through a four-stage life cycle: 

1. Integration (development or growth)
2. Equilibrium (stability or maturity)
3. Disintegration (deterioration or old age)
4. Revitalization or rehabilitation"

Hard stop. With all of my willpower I finished this section of study first and then spent the rest of the evening thinking about this concept. I understand the utility, for the purpose of state licensing prep, of putting it in succinct, black and white terms like this, but I have so many questions. Is this still true? In Portland? In Pittsburgh? In Detroit? In SanFrancisco? How is it unique in each city? In each neighborhood? What would a step 5 look like? How can this cycle be interrupted? Can art be the interruption?