#WHYNYC no.01: Michael Groth, 28, Interior/Industrial Designer
INTRO; In the last few months, I've started a personal photo project, entitled #whynyc - interviewing and documenting 'city transplants' I've met here and there. Coming up on my seven year anniversary in the apple myself, I've started to have the thoughts (I'm assuming) we all do once we get antsy in our current state, or state.
Growing up in Kentucky, I can remember spending hours upon hours daydreaming of my post high school self - finally free and skipping the few streets from my New York studio apartment, down to Central Park to enjoy my morning coffee...which I now know translates to a 99 cent paper cup of joe around the corner of my Brooklyn apartment (but hey - I'm now down to only two roommates!) I always looked to this city as a final destination. I had made it. This is where I would grow up and end up. But years later the very things that used to excite me are now becoming too expensive, too crowded and just plain tiring. Sometimes I just need a little reminder of how much I love this city and all the ways it has changed my life, for the better! - and this project was born.
All of us - the majority of my friends - have traveled to this bizarre land for a different reason, with a different end game. Has everyone had a similar experience to mine? Has everyone had moments of doubt? Moments where they'd do anything to trade 'show time' for a quiet car ride through the country? Has everyone become numb to paying five dollars a pop for caffeine? I'm always looking for a way to max out productivity during a good coffee date with a friend. Michael, a designer whom I met through a freelance gig, became my first victim. Here's a quick tour of his life story and his amazing office space he custom designed himself.
Name: Michael Groth
Occupation: Interior & Industrial Designer
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
How many years have you been living in the city? 6 years
"You have to be resourceful and ambitious and a little bit reckless..."
Why did you decide to move here?
I moved back to LA after I graduated undergrad since I didn't have much direction and wanted to explore some options. I took some woodworking and design classes while working as a Production Assistant and Tutor. I realized 2 things: I wanted to get more hands-on with my work and I didn't want to work in entertainment which is so huge in LA. I had a lot of friends in NYC and it seemed like there was more variety of work, I found an internship with a design/build firm and moved here with the money I saved living with my parents for a year.
Do you see NYC as a destination or a 'stepping stone'?
I see it as both - I don't think I ever planned to "settle down" here, I would like to have a family one day and I can't imagine raising kids in a city that doesn't have easy access to nature. So in that sense its been a stepping stone for me to explore the work I like and build a name for myself, but I think I'll always keep some ties here socially and professionally no matter where I end up.
How do you believe the city has influenced you as a person? As a creative?
I think the city has made me more savvy as a creative entrepreneur - I feel much more able to manage myself and my work than I did when I arrived. I also feel more confident after having connected with other young creatives - we are all making things up as we go along since the nature of creative work is so different these days than it was for previous generations. You need to look out for yourself and really put yourself out there, and in turn other people will be more willing to vouch for you and help you along.
What's something your time in NYC has taught you that you don't believe you could learn in any other city? You have to be resourceful and ambitious and a little bit reckless if you want to survive. Living in NYC is not easy so you really need to push yourself to get work and stay relevant.
Describe NYC in 5 words: Massive, colorful, real, surreal, hecti.