Collaboration can often be daunting – dealing with multiple moving parts, personalities, different disciplines. Often times, creative makers are conditioned to work in solitude and isolation, it’s habitual. Group work makes us squirm. With so much in our own control, we decide which color to use, which movement to form, which sentence will use poetic devices. We are the sole producer, director, and performer – all creative decisions fall on our own shoulders. As exciting and liberating creative control may have, it also brings a whole lot of anxiety and pressure to the individualize maker.
If this doesn’t work, I might look foolish.
I need to research this idea more before I speak on.
What if no one gets it?
Where the hell do I even start?
The list goes on…and on…and on…. Thinking of creative production as a martyrdom (the age old myth) can lead to a lot of resistant and fear. So how do you counter that? What if new perspectives and disparate minds could come together and operate as a strategy for sticking your head out of the burrowed hole of the studio? And what then gets made? What is making?
These questions are very fresh on our collective mind at Basin Arts – all spurred from our April ArtWalk event. SURFACE: The Work of Brittney Pelloquin came together through pure creative osmosis; after a last minute change of plans in exhibition coordination, Basin Arts approached Pelloquin with an exhibition of her work as a body painter. But rather than just drawing the line there, we started to play. A lot of what if’s were thrown around (over coffee, of course) and one conversation leading to the next gave the framework to what then became Pelloquin’s culminating exhibition – a collaboration between herself, a choreographer, two dancers, a violinist, and a fellow painter. Pelloquin and her creative team crafted a movement performance, relating the body to sculptural form, painting, and sound. The exhibition provided a sliver in time where all of these practices came together, a testament to what happens when warm bodies disclose, generate, and share.
The exhibition capitalized on all of it moving parts. But even after the performance was finished, we were still curious. Pelloquin’s experiment got us thinking a lot about the role of collaboration and exploration in creative group think.
Thus, CoLAB Nite formed into fruition. Basin Arts invited its participants to cross-pollinate with fellow creatives in this interdisciplinary collaboration event. CoLab Nite encouraged for artists of all disciplines: dancers, musicians, visual artists, writers, filmmakers, architects, and more. Even more so, Basin Arts implored those who don’t work in a particular artistic discipline but are curious people interested in tapping into more of their own creativity…think creative problem solving, outside of your box type of programming.
Through a series of various tasks and starting points, each participant jumped right into crossfire of creative exchange. This hands-on participatory experience aimed at sharpening the creative muscle, followed by a group discussion about collaborative practice. This dialogue felt fruitful, allowing each person to express what their collaborative experience was like.
Here are some sentiments from Wednesday’s event:
I was surprised with each group being able to work effectively in such a short span of time with great results. CoLAB creatively helped me to think outside of the box. It opened me up to a new perception of art, allowing me to use what I have on hand to create.
– Herb Green, musician & instructor
My husband Brian and I, after a long day, had the impulse to bail out of attending CoLab to slump on the couch and binge watch Netflix. But we finished supper, put our shoes back on, and headed for Basin Arts. We know from experience that creating from a base of play, combined with willingness to be vulnerable with people we don’t know well, is a muscle. The more we exercise it the easier it is to drop into collaboration whenever we really need it. It’s like a gym for creativity.
– Kelly Clayton, writer & Brian Schneider, lighting designer
I’m a big fan of Basin Arts and I keep my eye out for Basin Arts events. The CoLab posting on Facebook caught my eye. I wasn’t certain what was actually going to take place, but lack of familiarity rarely stops me from showing up somewhere or at some event. As the format was revealed, I gave a thought to grabbing my gear and heading home, but chose to stay the course. What a delight to be randomly partnered with one acquaintance of mine and with two strangers; to accept the direction of Clare Cook, and to see our random and purposeful thoughts develop into a written and spoken narrative that movement supported.
– Jackie Lyle, arts producer
Participating in CoLab was great exercise for my creative process. Collaborating with other artist gives a nice change of pace to my everyday studio work. I am always searching for new angles in my artwork and I believe that the CoLab definitely helped me achieve this. I look forward to the next CoLab night and also to other collaborations that are in the works!
– Dirk Guidry, painter
As a choreographer, collaboration is a key component in the creative process. Having an evening to just simply be reminded of the tools, to have an opportunity to be guided by prompts, and to contribute to conversation is a treat. I was curious of how the evening would unfold, and at the end I was energized by the process!
– Paige Krause, choreographer and dancer