Sunday, January 2, 2011

Collaboration -- my theme for 2011

A subject that has been on my mind recently is collaboration -- not the kind where they shave your head after the war is over, but the kind where you work in some context with another artist, allowing your ideas to cross-fertilize one another's creativity.  Over the years I've participated in a number of challenges and joint projects with others but never really felt they rose to the level of art, and have thought seriously about why they didn't.  So my challenge to myself for this year is to work in collaboration.

Collaboration can take two forms.  You can actually work with somebody else in making a single object, each one contributing a part and/or putting additional work onto the other person's part.  Or you can work in parallel to an agreed-upon theme and set of rules.  I think each form has its appeal.  Parallel work obviously recommends itself when you live a long way apart, or when the collaborating artist works in a different vein than you do, or when you each want to have your own piece at the end of the project.  But there's also an exhilaration in knowing that this very piece of fabric or paper was in your friend's hand not so long ago, or will be there again.

Since the year is 2011, I'm going to do eleven collaborations.  Some of them are already committed to, two have already begun (hey, it's my project and I make the rules, and if I say it just has to occur, not start, in 2011 that's OK), and some are yet to be determined.

To kick off the 11/11 Project, I asked my sister and brother to be my collaborators.  We each took five photos on New Year's Day.  No set theme or rules, but each of us found a concept.

First, from my brother, Bruce Arnold.

Next, from my sister, Bethany Uhl. 

Finally, my photos.

Happy New Year from all the Arnold children!

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