4 Phases of Collaboration

April 26th, 2009 by jules


In our work, we may underestimate exactly what we are capable of, but we usually have a good idea of where we are as .  Collaborating with another Artist can change these beliefs infinitely.  The possibilities can be endless…

There are 4 main phases in any project:

1.  Initiation. Ideas=Potential.   In the initiation phase of the project, both Artists are filled with excitement.  Harness this excitement and toss around as many ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and commonalities as you can.  Find that something you have in common.  The possibilities to create something distinct and more extraordinary than what you could do alone is the gift of collaboration.  There is a style that benefits all involved, you just have to find it.

2.  Planning.   Priorities=Challenges.  Finding your style together is the challenge.  Priorities and methods are things that need to be addressed.  So how do you start?  What is most important, is it the message, the process, the subject matter, the technique, the final outcome…what is most important to both of you?  To overcome this challenge, search for commonalities as well as differences, and look for the good in different approaches.  Plan to test a few ideas before you make your decisions, see where they lead you.

3.  Execution. Methods=Joy.  Do you work in the same way, can you each work in your own way and pull it together in a cohesive way?  There is always more than one way of doing things, and some approaches are better suited to some projects than others.  So how can we  collaborate in the most effective way possible?  Experiment…try a few of the following methods if you like.  Often you’ll organically come upon your style, although it may take some time.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves, just enjoy the process, and each other.

6 Ways jn has collaborated with a variety of Artists in the past:

  1. Both work in your individual styles and layer on top of each other.  Either at the same time if your canvas is large enough, and the method allows for it.  Or one at a time-you could tag off as quickly as every minute or as slowly as every day or longer.
  2. Both agree on a final outcome you’d like to achieve and take turns at the canvas.  Work toward the final version, however that needs to happen.  Be open to “happy accidents” as Bob would say.
  3. Direct each other with lots of dialogue during the process.  Talk and discuss each idea before and during execution so you’re both sure you’re on track.
  4. Say nothing-don’t talk at all and let the piece grow organically.  Let the process dictate the outcome.  You can always paint over what does not work for you.
  5. Divide up the work then bring it together in a common way.  Work separately in the beginning and together at a later point.
  6. Do what ever one artist wants on one piece, then change the lead Artist for the next piece and see what you have to work with.

4.  Closure. Happiness=Completion.  Of course, sometimes collaborations will be less than successful, although its success is only determined by those involved.  You’ll know you are done when you are both happy with the work.  When it is successful, its incredible-you can’t beat it.  Before saying good-bye, have a quick “Did well-Do better” chat to set the stage for the next collaboration!

How do you go about collaborating?  Do you love it/avoid it, have any tips?  Please share in the comments!

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