Collaborations & its benefits

Earrings by WillowVirgina, Illustration by Catherine LaleveeHaving recently rekindled a friendship, and found my very own partner in crime in jeweller Willow Virginia, I have come to realise that for me, art has always been about collaborations.

Some of my most exciting work has about through working with other creative inidividual. The importance of community in the creative industry can oten be neglected, but surrounding yourself with other creative and like-minded people is good for you. It helps you think, create, and most importantly for me- less alone.

Who doesn’t fight those weapon yielding demons defending your self doubt, day in and day out? Creative people keep me sane, they have helped me accept these words:

I am an artist.

Look at history, what artists succeeded out of solitude- away from other artists? Sure, a few have, including Van Gogh(and that was after his death). But who knows how things could have been for him, if he had been surrounded by like-minded artists? Speaking to his brother, Theo, he wrote:

Do you know what makes the prison disappear? Every deep, genuine affection. Being friends, being brothers, loving, that is what opens the prison, with supreme power, by some magic force. Without these one stays dead. But whenever affection is revived, there life revives.”Letter to Theo van Gogh (July 1880) as translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger

Photo from Today’s Muse

One of my favorite collaborations of all time is the partnership between Salavador Dali and Luis Bunuel. In ‘Un Chien Andalou’, Dali and Bunuel explore the limits of the unconscious by illustrating their own dream states and presenting them in a non-conforming narrative. Have a look at it if you can bear the razor and the eye scene, but don’t worry it was actually filmed with the eye of a dead calf! So nobody was actually injured.

Don’t expect it to make any sense, but imagine just having coffee with Dali and Bunuel in a busy Parisian cafe, cigarette in hand, when they start ‘I had the strangest dream last night…’ then you will be ready for ‘Un Chien Andalou’. You can watch the whole thing here.

I have done many collaboration in my time (which is pretty short!) but one of my favorite has been creating a short film with photographer Karl Dmitri Bishop. You can read more about the process, and the artists involved here.

So, get on facebook, or your phone, or simply grab a pen, and have a think of the creative people in your life. Have a coffee and share some ideas, working with friends is so much fun and really does lead to the most amazing works.

See also


Van Gogh’s letter to Theo

Karl Dmitri Bishop

The Seashell and the Clergymen (1928) by Germaine Dulac

Emak Bakia (1926) by Man Ray

The Exquisite Corpse – Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism’s Parlor Game



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