I was a teenage artist, doing my thing and looking for an avenue. I wasn't an "art student" or under tutorship in some program. Most of my artist pains were from being alone. None of my friends were into drawing, it was Motown and girls. One day at school I went into the "other" student lounge during lunchtime. A group of guys were huddled around a table and butchering some Motown tunes, street corner crooning style. Then they hit on a tune just right and the harmony shook the room. Immediately the other kids gathered around the table, ears wide open. It was sweet, live, impromptu. Then the crowd went back to their places, they missed the interesting part. The guys then whipped out their specialties, a couple of poets, a couple drew black super hero comic book characters, one drew custom cars, a couple were into fantasy football via those plastic men on buzz boards. I brought out my sketchpad and showed my house drawings. I got oohs and aahs and critique and encouragement right then and there. I didn't even have to ask can I join, I was in. Couldn't sing, but I was in. Thus I took my talents as far as I could in that time frame, challenging my self to have something new and better to show the group. Then my family moved to a different part of the city. The new school had no such group to hangout with. It was back to lonely artist pain.
In college I was awash with stories of Silicon Valley, the tech culture. Folks there literally worked out of their garages. Tech people hung out together to trade stories, theories, to boast-n-brag, to find collaborators, make deals, etc. Today folks don't have confidence in the possible idea, or trust in other like minded persons. Other persons are adversaries, competitors, conspirators. To work with others today you need a prenuptial and a stack of disclaimers.
The cellphone is a wonderful connection device, but it is a stall, a virtual stall. Like being in a cubical, toilet, elevator, or closet, you are virtually private. There should be a law never look at a person on the phone. How many people live on their cells? Maybe I should open a "no why-fi zone" restaurant, in fact no media in it. Hey, rno's got a new place where people actually talk to each other face to face. Woe, do people do that any more? That's gotta hurt to watch eyes, moving lips and body language all at the same time. Dag, that's like being married, that's too close. You think I am funny? My wife no longer yells up the stairs after me, she calls me on my cell.
Hanging out is an art. Finding like minded souls is a bliss. They are your toughest critics and your strongest encouragement to get your art done and out there. This is the grass-roots that makes it all go.