Why do so many artist come to (and stay in) Berlin?
Berlin always had much historical and creative capital. Its demographic is quite young and integrative towards internationals. Berlin welcomes experimental, intellectual, new creative thinking and innovation. This attracts people to stay or to use it as a transit hub. It really became a European epicentre for the creative class. Both creative work and living space are relatively cheap and available, compared to the rest of Europe or Germany. So it also became increasingly a center for a start-up scene, evolving around creative expression. Soundcloud is such a story, for example.
Berlin contains the world-leading electronic music scene, which allows for a great variety of educated music-driven locations. More importantly for artists, there is more than 600 galleries, with many of them leading in Germany and Europe. This is very attractive for artists regarding both their development of artistic production. This blend makes it a very contemporary and creative place.
More importantly for artists, rents are affordable here, allowing them to both have a living place and a studio close to the center. So shorter distances enable to work with less distractions. In New York or London this is impossible until you are really successful. As overall living costs are moderate, artists have more time to think and to work more experimentally, being less forced by the market to produce objects—but to also work performance, film—or installation based. This allows them also to produce interesting “in-between-genre” works, not necessarily catering straight to the market but generating deeper, experimental work and research. Berlin is very much an in-between place and this attracts artists.
Berlin is not an institutional city. Yet, the city´s somehow slower tempo allows artists to live life in-synch with the timing of a typically European city. Lastly, Berlin is amidst the center of Europe and has good flight connections to destinations all over Europe, New York and Los Angeles, and the Middle East.