Printmaking is considered a collaborative field. Certainly the artist-printer relationship is one way to think about this. There is also a great deal of cooperation and impromptu exchange of ideas that happens while working in confined spaces of community printshops. However, other models provide more deliberate and equal frameworks for joint decision-making that are equally exhilarating and unpredictable.
Collaborations vary considerably, from small informal improvisations with other artists to multidisciplinary ones that involve professionals of other fields. Each collaboration has its particularities and unique challenges, as well as different goals and outcomes. In this presentation, I will examine a number of known contemporary collaborations while sharing my own experiences of successful collaboration, with OSSIA New Music, Rochester, NY, musician Christa Robinson, and artists Yuko Kimura (printmaker), Serge Marchetta (fibre and installation artist), and Allison Paschke (sculptor and mixed media artist).
The advantages of collaborations are many: one develops a greater degree of flexibility, an expanded vocabulary, and adaptability. The work takes more unexpected turns and there are opportunities for a multiplicity of responses, which may never have taken place within the singular artist’s practice. There are also challenges: one must navigate a variety of personalities and be able to anticipate the response of the other artist(s). But perhaps the biggest challenge of all is to let go of control. On the other side, one can go too far and absorb oneself in the other artist’s work to the detriment of his or her own practice. While this is not an issue for artists who work exclusively as a team (Komar and Leonid, for example), it will be challenging for those whose practice includes both collaborations and individual expression.
This presentation will touch on various models of collaboration and discuss both their rich possibilities and potentials while acknowledging the difficulties and issues that often arise.