By Evan Blackwell
Collaboration is a critical element that defines many different work places; but for the artist, it becomes something more than brainstorming or group presentations. For an artist, collaboration means a meeting of the minds and the hands of many different creative humans, working towards the creative conception of one work. The ideals are similar, but the process and outcome are quite different.
At the K. A. Artist Shop, we were able to test the collaborative nature of our local artists in a live art exhibition, as 21 different creative minds took on one large mural on our gallery wall. This experiential evening loosely followed a game show format. There was a ball juggler and everything! Our “contestants” would pick a ball from the juggler, which would then direct them to an instructive phrase or idea that would inform their timed mark-making on the wall. For example: “close your eyes” or “childlike.” Some could be interpreted, while others guided the artist more specifically. It was an interesting experiment to say the least. Having so many different hands attacking one visual space left everything to chance. No mark was sacred; instead, the experience became the precious part. Having to work your mark next to or on top of another person’s created chaos. This allowed for new methods of approaching a work, and consequently beautiful vignettes, where everything must be considered, but conversely, nothing is. This paradoxical realization fit perfectly into the evening’s theme of “duality,” and this theme emerged more so in retrospect. Rather than dictating the imagery, it appeared in the process, in the form of counterbalancing marks and shapes. It was an exciting night, with some crazy turns here and there, but in the end it came together. This mural wasn’t necessarily something that any of us would claim as our own, but something that we will proudly say we were a part of.
Evan Blackwell is a studio assistant at the K. A. Artist Shop and is a painter who graduated from the University of Georgia with a BFA in Fine Arts. She will be attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for her MFA.