Collaboration is one of the highlights of being an artist. When working together with another, I am inspired to create something new formed of the union of the two that is separated and unique, away from my original voice, yet touched with the string of connection. The things that sprout forth from these efforts are wondrous in their spontaneity and the unwillingness to be predictable.
One of my favorite collaborations was done with a sustainable artist and architect named Nathan in Chicago. We never met. I was giving a reading at Quimby’s bookstore when my short fiction book Mad Anatomy published and there was an amazing blank book rack, much like a regional zine rack, that had blank books created by artists all over it. I chose one, that I purchased for a dollar, that was about five inches by five inches and made of white paper, butcher paper and small square white label stickers that formed a pattern on the laminated front cover. It was beautiful in its simplicity.
I went home and drew a comic strip in the book, covering each page. The piece was called Slave of Wonders, about the randomness of awe that alights our lives when we are least expecting it. Arrows in the heroine’s back become the sweet poison of roaming and mystery.
I sent the book back to this young man as my gift for his inspiration. He sent me another blank book made of black cardboard and stitched together with electric red ribbon. I have found it in a box after five years of sitting empty and I will be filling it with totems as I begin my next piece called The Gypsy Project. Over the next six months, I will visit a series of couches belonging to artist friends and other friends who I will engage in the process of art. All of this will be compiled into a short film called Life Is The Greatest Form of Art. Of course, I will be including teasers here along the way.