As artists and creatives, we have all fallen victim to the dark cloud of isolation that sometimes comes with piles of work and looming deadlines. While locking yourself in a room is sometimes necessary and effective, locking yourself in a room with other artists and creatives is also sometimes necessary and effective. This is a truth I learned in art school, and one that has gotten me through many lagging and uninspired projects.
Something happens when you break routine and make things with other people. Even if you’re only working next to each other, creative energy manifests and compounds to more than the sum of its parts. It can take on a life of its own and provide energy in that long 25th hour.
Stay with me…
This intangible organism that fills the room is what I like to call…
Right?! What kind of artist doesn’t like to collaborate? It’s in our DNA. Sometimes it’s all that gets us out of bed in the morning… Okay, okay. Maybe not, but it’s still pretty rad!
My personal experience with collaboration in art is firmly rooted in illustration and zines.
“What is a zine?” roughly 30% of you may be asking? Allow me…
Recently, I took the office on a creative journey through zines and another of my fav collaboration tools – exquisite corpse drawing. I love this “game” because it encourages even the wallflowers to jump in and participate (see: stickers). Another reason to love exquisite corpse – which, to be honest, is at odds with my general position in life – is that its success relies on the full picture, not the individual pieces or the process. It’s not about painstakingly creating a masterpiece in the section of paper that’s in front of you. Rather, it’s an exercise in spontaneity, with no rules and where anything goes.
All told, the hidden treasure in exquisite corpse is that no matter how well you know the people around you, creating an exquisite corpse together will no doubt deliver some surprising insights and you’ll leave knowing something more about your fellow artists and creatives.