Wednesday, November 17, 2010


1. the act of working with another or others on a joint project
2. something created by working jointly with another or others

Most writing and most art is created in a gladiatorial-type setting. The artist stands alone, facing his adversary: the blank canvas. Writers. too, begin with a blank sheet of paper.

At the beginning of this year, as I considered the direction I wanted my art to go, I experienced (saw, heard, felt) a wonderful collaboration called 3N6D (three nights in six dimensions.) I came away from that weekend stimulated to think outside the box.

There are all kinds of ways writers, artists and musicians can collaborate. What's exciting is when you dare to give up control and let the piece become its own life. Jam sessions produce some wonderful effects when the collaborators are packed with talent. George Harrison gave us a glimpse of the kind of jamming at Apple Studios on sides five and six of his first solo album All Things Must Pass.

Shortly after 3N6D John Heino and I discussed the possibility of a collaborative project this year. Even though it didn't happen yet, it got the ball rolling for me. I began looking for potential collaborators.

The live painting event that I participated in at Norm's in October was one outcome of this. While four bands performed in succession, film maker Chani Becker set up a camera to capture the live action taking place on my easel which was then projected on a large screen to the right of the room. On the left side an endless loop of surrealistic imagery was displayed, again assembled by Becker. The effect was engaging for all who were involved.

During the year I was also seeking out a screen printer with whom I could work in a collaborative manner. My Sitting Bull x 4 (top) was produced in conjunction with screen printer Gary Reed. Though the piece itself is not screen printed, Gary made a significant contribution to the outcome.

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque collaborated during the development of Cubism in the mid-teens of the last century. They produced paintings in a style which viewers were unable to discern whose hand was holding the brushes.

In the year ahead I'm looking forward to more such projects. One of these will be a project called Artist Kamikazi in which paired collaborators produce something original in a live setting. Conceived and produced by Eris Vafias, the event -- now in its third year --will take place in March at Pizza Luce and my collaborator will likely be photographer Andrew Perfetti. Another project is also in the discussion stages for April, but we'll see where that one goes.

Idea for a group collaboration: What if... we each do something today to make the world a better place. No one needs to know which brushstrokes were yours or mine, but somehow if we blend our acts.... Well, you get the picture.

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