What happens in a collaboration between two artists? Much like when two musicians collaborate on a song, a collaborative art project utilizes the talents of all artists involved to create a final project. Artistic collaboration requires communication and a willingness to meld ideas – not always an easy task for the classically individualistic artistic temperament. CollabArts.org, a site dedicated to the fostering of discussion surrounding artistic collaboration, notes that collaborative art runs contrary to what many people see as the “solitary figure” that is the artist.
Can the solitary artist coexist alongside this new model of idea sharing, conflation, and creation of a joint finished product? In her fascinating essay on creativity and originality, Dr. Nancy Roth argues that it can. Roth stresses an important point – collaborative art is a new way of looking at creativity, but it doesn’t necessarily replace the classic lone artist figure. Roth likens collaborative models of creativity to the advent of digital publishing – it doesn’t erase print media, but it does provide an alternative means to go about it.
So what exactly happens in artistic collaboration? Collaborations can be between artists of different disciplines – a beautiful example is this book. It’s a collaboration between a painter and a poet, both of whom started their lives in rural America and found themselves in Paris. Same-discipline collaboration also occurs. Often, this is a process that takes time and input from both. Artists will usually meet to talk about the goals they have for the project before beginning. As the process is under way, continued communication is necessary. Collaboration is, most of all, a weaving of different ideas so that they synergize and form a unique product that is born of multiple artistic visions.