A thank-you to my collaborators past, present and future.
I have been ruminating on the question:
“What do you enjoy about collaborative process?”
I can get wrapped up in my interior world, spending long periods of time comfortably alone. Much of the work I create is solo, partly because of my desire to give a hand at everything and partly because I won’t ask an artist to collaborate with me unless I can pay them. This said, one of my greatest loves in life is to enter into a studio with other artists. Collaborative work encourages me – demands of me – that I am present in my relationships. It allows me to imagine, if not embody, alternative perspectives. It is always a negotiation. It requires accountability and generosity. It reminds me to find a balance between rigor and play and to ride the wave of exchanging energies. In many ways I feel that I have found myself through the ensemble work I have engaged in. For years I felt ever the outsider and created a myth around my existence that made me feel very alone. Through collaborating intimately with other artists, being privy to their fears and sorrows and joys, I began to recognize my common humanity. Shortcomings that I thought were mine alone took on a human significance and I began to begin to forgive myself for being human. I also began to touch beauty, to experience both the vulnerability and resiliency of my collaborators, and by extension to understand that I too was beautiful. I feel like this is part of the process of growing up, but, I think, it can only be understood in relationship, in community. In recent years I have been becoming increasingly aware of how limited my experience of the world is. It is awakening in me a desire to seek opportunities away from my creative home of Vancouver. I have a hunger to work with artists from around the globe with various living and art-making practices. Collaborative processes can blow apart notions about what one thinks they know. They can move an artist beyond the habitual by presenting alternative methodologies. Each collaborative experience is different depending on the unique individuals who comprise it and the needs of the creative endeavor. This is one of the joys of embarking on a new collaborative process. One can never fully know what to expect. We must embrace the mystery to unleash the potential. We can prepare, but at the end of the day we must surrender and trust.