The Trial and Tribulations of Collaborative Works

In a recent art class I took at American University we were assigned to create a class installation: one piece of art created by fifteen people.  I’ve always enjoyed art in part due to how personal it is for me. It becomes an escape, an area for me to freely express myself. In this project I was all of a sudden thrown into a realm that questioned my reasoning for loving art. However, by the end of the project I learned so much about myself, my approach to the arts, and the way in which art (even individual projects) are an interaction with others. Although, my vision of the piece was far from it’s outcome, I grew attached to the piece. I was able to find signatures of each member of the class, these hidden bits of personality created an overarching theme that created mood of the piece.

 Working with others is a challenge. The best thing you can do in this situation is ACCEPT IT. It’s going to take a lot of negotiating and maybe even some arguments. However, by the time you’ve created a final piece, I can guarantee you will have learned a lot, and take away new skills and perspective for when you go back to the more comforting individual projects.

One artist I spoke to recently discussed a group show she is working on. Group shows challenge the gallery to create a display in a viewer friendly manner. The artist I spoke with is also working on a collaborative piece, she explained how working with another artist has forced her to see the materials different and try new methods when working.

The beauty of collaborative works is that they throw an artist into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable area. This forces us to grow, to cultivate and strengthen are artist ability. We must become familiar with what originally seems so unapproachable, and find comfort in the discomfort. Although I will not rush into another collaborative pieces in the near future, I will remember that they help me become a stronger artist, and no longer fear them. 

Bringing the Art in DC to You,
Abby