Collaborative art project
This 2012 ‘restoration’ the fresco "Ecce Homo" by 19th century painter Elias Garcia Martinez, is what got me pondering the whole idea of art and what happens when an outside contributor alters it. This restored version (right side) is now a huge tourist attraction and the elderly Spanish woman who did the ‘restoration’ work apparently is asking for royalties now. Here’s a link to more info about this fresco fiasco!
A brand new project that I’ve been wanting to start for several years, I am happy to finally launch it in fall 2019. In brief, I am looking to work with a handful of participants through the mail on creating collaborative art pieces.
I don’t yet know what the final project is, however have considered creating an online gallery, a printed catalogue, or an exhibition depending on a variety of factors around participation interest and of course exhibition space. This is likely a multi-year project.
If you are interested in the possibilities of working collaboratively through the medium of visual (and the mail), I’d love to chat further with you to see if we’d make a good team!
QUESTIONING ART: A BIT ABOUT THE FOUNDATION OF THIS PROJECT
I love that art is perceived as precious, that our instinct is to treat it as a precious object - yet in reality, what is it? Speaking purely in physical sense, it is typically materials on a surface, put in order by someone who puts things in order on surfaces, aka Artists.
Okay, so considering there are many professions that perform this act that do not result in the preciousness factor, at what point do materials on a surface turn into a work of ‘art’?
Is it when a particular individual picks up a paint brush or pencil? If that is the case, what about all the times that person had to make marks on other surfaces during their lifetime (grocery lists, post-it notes, signatures on paperwork, checking boxes)? Are all those things art too?
Is it when a piece is declared to be ‘art’? If so, how to we generally accept this declaration from one person but not another?
What about objects from the past, where it had a functional purpose but by today’s standards is considered art or of cultural importance?
Or does it become precious when someone has put a lot of time and effort into making it? Could that logic be applied towards many non-art things?
What of mass produced art objects pumped out of factories as tchotchkes? What about tole painting? What about paint by number and colouring books?
What if you didn’t know it was ‘Art’ and you changed it? What if you changed it but realized afterwards that it was ‘Art’?
Does a thing achieve the status of Art when the person creating it has the intention to make it art is the driving force (when the person who puts materials on a surface personally determines that they are making art)? What about a a tradesperson using their leftover materials to create a sculpture?
Collaboratively speaking, what happens if you decide to make changes or add to the thing that an artist already made? What if you alter a thrift store painting? Or one that someone threw in the garbage?
And if the original image gets changed by a new contributor, is its ‘value’ as an art piece altered? Does that depend on who alters it? What if a famous artist doodled onto your shopping list?
In working collaboratively with others I aim to inspire dialogue around what is precious, what is art, and perhaps more importantly to invite others to reconsider how they feel about art and their hand in it; to have a one on one relationship with a piece of paper that someone else started.
OKAY, SO HOW WOULD THIS ACTUALY WORK?
This project is about working collaboratively with others through the mail. Because I am still in the early stages and not sure how many people will be interested in working in this way, I have sorted out a really rough framework, as follows:
Interested collaborators should contact me to let me know that they want to participate and why. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking for participants who are open to the process, willing to put in their skills but also be conscious that changes may be done to their own contribution (including erasing, painting over, additions, and other changes). Most importantly, I want to work with people who wont fight the process along the way and who will be receptive to whatever happens.
If you want to proceed I ask that you pay a small participation fee of $25 through my online shop (I’ll send you a link). Please note that this helps cover my startup costs of materials, shipping of the initially started piece over to you, plus the pre-paid return envelope so you can send it back when done your part.
I’ll mail you the partially started work on paper.
After you receive the package and make your contributions, you simply send it back to me. If you are on social media you can snap a picture and tag #collabwithsarahronald
Once I receive it I will review and determine if I can to add something else to it (or not), and figure out next steps (scan, photograph it, frame it? tbc). In some cases we may send a piece back and forth multiple times before we decide it is finished.
Interested? Shoot my an email!