‘Lyricale’ the next painting in collaboration with Tommy Beavitt and his translation of Vysotsky’s song Lyricale – Лирическая.
I am used to working in collaboration on comic books and graphic novels where a team with distinct tasks will work together to bring a story to life. I am also used to how artists will influence each other when working in proximity. In contemporary Art so much emphasis is placed on originality, the individual striving to stand out from all their peers, yet when you stand back & look at the work coming out of a particular city, or college or region – it is clear that stylistic clusters form, art movements. But yet we all still fight for and cling to our sense of individuality. Working collaboratively in a team does away with all that pressure, the pressure instead is to do the best I can for the team, the project.
I think the notion of artistic individuality is a bit of an illusion. At school we are channeled into very narrow curriculum based ideals of what is and isn’t art- Now I’m not talking about technical drawing skills here, technical skills and craftsmanship are important. At Art college we are lambasted and crushed ( I’ve yet to meet anyone who found it a positive creative experience ). then as professionals we are molded and shaped by the market, fashion, the agents and gallery owners- still clinging to our sense of artistic freedom and individuality?
Of course we all have ways of navigating through this, I have battled both to find a niche, break out of niches, work out what i’m doing, for whom and why. In that journey I have found myself taking on many styles, techniques and subjects. One of the down sides being fragmentation, being spread too thin and getting criticised for not specialising. The up side includes working with a wide range of people, acquiring a wide skill set and not getting bogged down or in an artistic cul de sac. An other thing is discipline, if i was painting in my garret for my own gratification or surrounded by yes-men, nothing would ever get done. Deadlines and making commitments to others are great drivers.
Yes I always feel the work isn’t good enough, but thats also a good tool. So It is a wonderful challenge, privilege and honour to work in collaboration on these songs. To have ones art edited by a respected other is a rare treat. Writers are more used to this but artists generally are either accepted or rejected. What a buzz! Tho the 3am painting mania is a bit exhausting. There will be more…. and what a great excuse to wallow in Russian music, its a tough job but someone has got to do it.