Artistic collaboration. To musicians it's a no brainer - they are all contributing to one sound experience that gains dimension and intrigue with the mixing of instruments and sensibilities. The 6 piece band is a finely tuned machine: a drummer, a bassist, a lead guitarist, a somewhat overlooked rhythm guitarist, a keyboard player, and a singer, each with a clear role coming together to make a clear sound. But with visual arts, it gets a little more tricky. For this kickstarter project, we propose to establish a collaborative community of 6 emerging artists in rural New Mexico as part of a one month artist residency. While each of us will be developing our own vision, we will be engaging in collaborative projects and making rewards.
One challenge that younger artists face is finding a core group of colleagues to challenge each other and create meaningful dialogue. Another is finding time and space to focus on developing their artistic practice in an environment free of distractions. This artist residency is meant to address both issues.
Collaborative art poses the unique problem of learning how to coexist on the same page without stepping on each others' toes, especially when those toes are as finicky and deeply personal as one's "artistic vision." This residency will address the challenge of how to collaboratively come up with a joint artistic vision and successfully execute that vision.
Who We Are:
We are 6 individual artists and we are looking to make some breakthroughs this summer. With the exception of Rev Cevlon, we all went to Reed College. We are all artists by various names.
Rev Cevlon has always drawn and he paints with equal conviction as his drawings. His drawings are pulled from an inner world that feed off of real objects - a building, a chair - that then find themselves arranged in an alien landscape filled with absurd logics.
Annelyse Gelman is a writer, musician and photographer raised somewhere between California and New Zealand. Her plan for the residency is to write music and poetry, and to collaborate with the other members.
Auden Lincoln-Vogel is continually covered in clay. He may not call himself a ceramist or even a ceramicist, but his passion for moldable earth is crusted all over his hands and overalls. Auden's current focus is on animation.
Rachel Schmerge is a sculptor, both of works on pedestals and of the pedestals by themselves. She works with wood and the expanded field. She is very concerned about the adequacy of the tools present at the residency.
Alisa Bones is a very serious painter. Her process-intensive works are both milky smooth and eye-poppingly rich. Her most recent body of work uses acrylic, cleaning products and vinyl floor wax.
I am Arty Johnstone (it's funny because I do art). I am a life drawer and painter. I like to work from life, rather than from photos (though I do make exceptions). I am interested in obscene levels of productivity and the ability to capture my surroundings quickly and effectively.
Each of us has our own artistic territory that we are exploring. Most of our waking hours will go towards working on our individual projects and developing our artistic vision. We will be making the rewards, postcards, medium and large pieces in the vein of our chosen creative direction. To get a better idea of what our individual visions look like, check out the blog. There is a post about each artist and some samples of our work:
We will have scheduled collaborative time, where we sit down together, play off of each other's ideas, offer feedback, and make works that directly react to each other's process. We are interested in not getting too tangled in the exact details of what this will look like before it happens. In the action-based words of the artist Jasper Johns talking about his collaborations with Robert Rauschenberg :
"You get a lot by doing... The kind of exchange we had was stronger than talking. If you do something then I do something then you do something, it means more than what you say. It's nice to have verbal ideas about painting, but better to express them through the medium itself."
In this manner we hope to set up a space for this kind of doing-based collaboration. We are more interested in the production rather than the talking about it. Without undercutting that point, here is an example of this kind of collaboration between Auden and myself. Last summer I stretched a canvas and Auden and I decided to do a turn-based collaborative painting and to compile a time lapse of photos taken after and during each turn:
What We Will Do:
At the property we will adhere to a group schedule. We will take turns cooking communal meals and performing chores around the barn. The schedule will be finalized once we are all assembled, but our tentative schedule is as follows: get up at your own pace, 7-9 am breakfast/coffee, 9-12 am work on individual projects, 12-1 pm group lunch, 1-3 pm work on art, 3-5 pm work on collaborative projects, 5-6:30 pm cook and do chores, 6:30-7:30 pm eat dinner, 7:30-9 pm work on art or other activities, after 9 pm do whatever and sleep.
During the summer, the temperatures outside the barn reach above 100 F, so we may have a midday siesta, take a dip in the nearby creek and have more creative time in the evening.
How the Money Will Be Used:
The money will go towards buying art supplies, food (to feed the body), gas (to feed the car to get us out there and then to get the food to feed the body), and postage (to send the rewards).
If we achieve the $6,000 goal, the budget will break down like this:
$3,000 for art supplies ($500 each)
$1,500 for food and supplies for 6 people for 1 month
$700 for gas and transportation costs
$800 for kickstarter fees, printing, and shipping costs to reward our supporters
About the Property:
My parents own 24 acres of land near the Arizona border in the Gila National Forest. They have generously offered this land for the purpose of an artist residency. The land has a giant metal barn which houses two trailers, a make shift kitchen, a wood stove, sofas, a wood shop and a metal shop. The barn will be our home base, a living/cooking/workspace for the duration of the residency. The barn is 100 yards from a creek. Giant cotton woods line the creek and many have fallen over the years, some blown over by strong winds, others felled by beavers. Recently we had a well drilled, so there is drinkable ground water. The barn has electricity but no internet (a modern convenience, whose absence will be felt).
Risks and challenges
We as individual artists will be giving up our artistic privacy for the sake of an intense art community. We are, generally speaking, a sensitive group, which may result in conflict. We will do our best to work through these kinks when they arise.
How do you put 6 creative individuals together under one roof, allowing for personal artistic freedom while promoting intense collaboration? This challenge is perhaps the main concern of this residency. There are many examples of the artist-in-residence model of success. Two ways in which we are different from preexisting residencies:
1) They are selected by their own mysterious forces, picking from a wide group of applicants who do not know each other and have already honed their portfolios to polished level.
2) The residencies have been figured out already. From the living quarters to the eating times to the final shows, the problems of many individual artists coming together to inspire and be inspired by each other have been solved. It has become routine. The artists who are selected are sent through a time honored process to emerge from the other end with a finished product. And where is the fun in that?
There have been many wild animal sightings in the area. A few months ago, one of the neighbors (1/2 mile away) left their dog chained outside the house. During the night a mountain lion got to the dog and took a big portion with it. Mountain lions generally shy from people, but a run-in is a real possibility out in rural New Mexico. As a precaution we shall travel in packs when we leave the safety of the barn and carry long sticks with sharpened rocks attached to the ends. But in all seriousness, we will be in relative isolation in a rural environment and that will present an interesting set of challenges.
Please join in supporting emerging artists and the community and collaboration that will result from this exciting opportunity!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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