Artists and Collaboration

Artists speak about the process and importance of collaboration.

 

 

 

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:

Tatiana Roulin

Tatiana Roulin

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?”

 

tea cup and cherries

Tea And Cherries by Tatiana Roulin

 

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.

 

David Stepper

Mark and David Stepper

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.

 

Aquarium sculpture

Aquarium by David and Mark Stepper

 

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.”

 

Margaret Neher

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.

 

The Secret Garden by Margaret Neher and Eric Serritella

 

Have you collaborated on artwork? Was your experience positive or negative?

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Comments

  1. I recently did a collaborative painting for the first time. It was very daunting at first as I was terrified of ‘messing up’ what my partner artist had started! But in the end it utrned out to be such fun and I learnt so much along the way! I blogged about it here if you’d like to take a look. http://jocelynfriisart.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/ready-for-exhibition.html

  2. Wendy Austin says:

    I find this works well if you agree on a plan before you begin.Talk to each other, draw pictures,so that you are both on the same page.Unless of course you both happen to be mind readers…I have recently worked on a group project, where the leader of the group had very distinct ideas on how he wanted the project to turn out. But sadly did not share this on paper. This lead to work being done twice, tempers being lost,the group being generally disgruntled. n Lucky for him, we were working volunteers for a festival, otherwise he would have been doing it himself.The end result was good ..but could have been great.

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