Would you collaborate with another artist? Should you? Opinions abound on whether collaboration enhances you as an artist and should be pursued, or is constricting and can produce confusing, banal art. The Atlantic Magazine even asked, “Does Artistic Collaboration Ever Work?”
Yet some artists only work in collaboration and consider it essential to their work and their brand.
TalentHouse calls itself “the artistic home for creative collaboration” and trades on promoting collaboration between artists, filmmakers, musicians and others, to help artists increase their influence and forward their careers. This popular site boasts over a million artists and creators, and is a major cheerleader for collaboration.
What are the standards for collaboration? Who gets the credit for the art? Does quality and artistic vision suffer when combined with conflicting viewpoints? Would this dissuade you from working on a group project?
Collaborations become great only when everyone in them is free to do his or her absolute best — and is committed to seeing other members do their best as well.
Richard Loveless, American artist and educator
Could you thrive creatively in collaboration, or is it not for you?
We asked three artists about their very different experiences working with others, and their results:
Many years ago, I taught art classes for kids and besides watching them working on their own projects and ideas, I also held an exciting activity for making a collaborative artwork as a group. Working on art collaborations can teach people how to put your own ego aside and work on something as a team.
Artists can inform each other on improving the direction of the combined effort by saying perhaps “this might work better” or “would you consider to do it this way?” or “what do you think if we change/add this?”
Kids are more open to communications and very cooperative – sometimes way better than adult artists, who occasionally have a very hard time agreeing on how things should be done. All in all, it’s a good experience to have, because it tests your ability to work together, be unselfish and able to listen and agree with others. On the other hand, it’s also about being able to offer your own solution and your own opinion on a subject matter – and at the end realizing that the whole experience was a joint effort to achieve a goal.
Collaboration has played a key role in nearly every facet of Sculptures By Stepper over the past sixteen years. As identical twins, Mark & I share an inherent trust and ability to work together as a team, which has significantly strengthened our business. We consult with one another during the entire creative process, from developing the initial concept, to sculpting the final design.
Mark and I both have our individual artistic strengths, so when one of us is sculpting a new animal design and becomes creatively blocked when working on a specific element of the design, the other twin will lend a hand to complete that element and move the creative process forward. This collaboration continues throughout our sales and marketing efforts. Our business thrives off this blending of ideas, artistic execution and marketing strategy.”
Collaborating with ceramic artist Eric Serritella gave me the opportunity to do work on a scale that would be impossible by myself. His ability to sculpt a large, yet detailed structure for me to build on allowed our work to combine beautifully. Our aesthetic and way of approaching and executing an idea is very similar, so the process was satisfying, and also a lot of fun.
Have you collaborated on artwork? Was your experience positive or negative?