Collaboration In The Time Of Covid
For most of the world's population, myself included, the global pandemic has been a singularly unique challenge unlike any other in our lifetime. The pandemic has allowed us, or forced us, depending on your view, to think of the “us” and the “we” and not the “I” and the “me”. How can we make it through? How can we learn from this and be better as humans? How can we prepare for the future to ensure this doesn’t happen again? This can also be said for the "Black Lives Matter" Movement.
There are many questions, while many of the answers are still being worked out. Remaining isolated has been a challenge, especially for someone who loves human engagement, but one of the interesting discoveries has been thinking of the “we” through the lens of collaboration. I can’t hang with my friends as of yet, but I can speak with them and also find ways to work with them while we all remain at our required distance.
As a photographer, working on a long term project titled "The Cape Series" my subjects were my friends and collaboration was natural. Now as a jewelry artist; I spend each and every day in the studio but sometimes living in my own head, day after day, isn’t a healthy thing. And for those of you who know me and my head, I’m sure you can attest. So one of the things I’ve been attempting to do is work on strategic collaborative projects with fellow artists and creatives. Being around the creative world for so long means I have a lot of friends who are far more talented than I am, and fortunately, they are generous with their time and expertise.
One such project is a print piece comprised of three small Zines (informal magazine) each covering the talents and career of three individual artists while utilizing the feedback from the group with weekly zoom meetings. First is my friend Laura; an LA-based landscape designer who is creating an inspirational and visual journal of her approach and connection to the land. The second is my friend Tonia, a Santa Fe based interior designer who is also doing a journal but her Zine will focus on interior space through design, spiritual, and physical connection. Mine? Well, take a guess. Hmm, jewelry? Righto.
However, working with the group has forced me to think in a far broader way about the myth and meaning behind what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. There is nothing quite like working with a group and having them share their interpretation, insight, and direction. It’s invaluable, and perhaps more importantly, it’s uplifting in a way that feels essential. As a collective, we are stronger than the sum of our individual parts. As a species, we currently face a myriad of challenges, but collaboration has reemphasized that together we can do more and we can be more.