Paper Trail (an inspiring collaborative project)

image via Rookie
This morning I came across this collaborative collage project posted here on Rookie Magazine. The two collaborators describe their build up of "daunting" unused materials and their efforts to finally overcome them together. This was the perfect thing for me to come across today, as whether working collaboratively or not it's always worth being reminded that materials are there to be used. Everything is transient, including all forms of my produced art, and regarding them as special can get in the way of making, moving, shifting, recycling, etc. The only constant is change.

Further Thoughts On Collaboration

Following my previous post on LAB451, performance art, and my ideas for creating collaborative artworks, I have discovered a couple of useful/relevant/interesting things today. The first is a blog in which an artist details her (reluctant, at first - on her part) collaborations with her daughter. Her daughter essentially demanded that this artist share her sketchbook. Whilst the artist was initially peeved at this idea, she soon discovered that co-creating with her daughter was incredible fun. This blog post is here, and the most delightful part talks about the child's unashamed derision of her mother's artistic choices.

The second thing I found is an article by Brian Sherwin, titled "Collaboration in Art -- mutual respect, mutual work, mutual exposure". In it, he discusses the potentially beneficial effects of collaboration. Sensitivity is mentioned. It's true that artists often work in their own worlds. Art can be very solitary and personal, so often in order to collaborate effectively, artists must struggle through their psychological responses and habits. Anyone reading this is likely to have struggled through agonising group work at some point. Working with others can be exhausting, stressful, and downright impossible. If a collaboration is successfully traversed, however, it does offer some fantastic benefits. There is a great scope for learning through working with others. Collaboration forces people to address and modify their methods and barriers. This can easily be a disaster with the wrong people/situation, but with the right components in place it is ideal. Artists should recognise the importance in continuous re-evaluation, progression, and improvement. The right collaboration can facilitate just that.

LAB451 at Camden Image Gallery, performance, and collaboration


I don't get to see much performance art very often usually, but my band recently performed at a performance art focused event in Camden. Performance is effectively a component in every artwork through the process of creating it and the process of showing it. These actions can be termed performance and can be viewed through the lens of performance. Performance art is not something I directly and purposefully interact with in my art practice, however I perform in a musical context, and in a wider sense my art practise concerns itself with the methods via which I make art and the emotive transmissions and transferences therein.

I made a video journal depicting the night at LAB451 which is viewable below.

During our performance, my band/duo (Rescue A Family) played projected videos with each song. My bandmate, Ed, usually controls visual filters and effects as we play. Different effects are assigned to a series of knobs which increase or decrease effects as they are turned one way or the other. We wanted to invite audience participation after our initial performance by running our videos and allowing people to play with our effects as Ed does as we perform.


In tandem with my MCP essay (currently titled "Why Do People Reject Themselves As Artists?") I have been increasingly interested in collaborative art. My art practice has always been very solitary, and following criticisms of it's insular nature and accessibility concerns it seems it might be an idea to work with other people as a way of pushing myself towards work that is more comprehensible and purposeful. I particularly would like to collaborate on projects with people who are reluctant or shy about art.

I'm interested in bringing "non artists" (or as I like to refer to them, the "artistically dormant") into my art practise and into art making generally, as an exercise that would serve to create bonds between both us as people, and between my collaborate and art. Functionally, I sort of want to drag someone into art against their will.

I have elicited several drawings from my boyfriend - a person who doesn't really draw. I thought a nice way of making "unwilling" collaborative art would be to collect requested drawings and then myself organise them into a college, which I can then embellish. Thus the collaboration is completed without directly collaborative participation from my collaborator. Sneaky.

I have attempted to have us both draw alongside each other in a booklet, but (as is evidently the natural fearful response of someone who is not really used to drawing) he tends to locate his drawings far away from mine and usually with quite a lot of blank space around them. This doesn't really work for collaborative purposes as he instinctively distances his drawings from mine (as well as from each other). This is the reason I came up with the idea of my doctoring of his images as a means to construct collaborative artworks, as that way he can contribute in a passive way to a collaborative project - the only way it would be possible (unless he shed his artistic instincts and barriers).