The idea of collaborating with another artist, scientist or writer can give you greater exposure and also increase the possibilities of sales.
So often artists are working alone with limited means, but by pooling resources with others they can often get much further. Filmmaking is of course an obvious example, with a large crew, paid or unpaid, there is greater possibility for success and failure, but the stakes are higher.
In art, the same can happen with visual media. Artists collaborate in residencies with scientists or engineers, or people are even making their own residencies by renting a room and starting a collaboration independently with a writer, artist, technician, scientist, in their living room.
You don’t need a big idea to start collaborating either, in fact you don’t have to have any ideas at all.
When my wife and I were about to have a solo show in a 5,000 square foot space of the Whitney Museum in NY, called the Whitney Altria, we had no idea how to fill that space, even with ideas we proposed.
So we took out a Craigslist ad and asked if anyone wanted to collaborate on a large scale art installation that would probably be interactive. Several were interested and we would meet them at cafes and tell them we had this show, this space, but what to do in it? The conversation begins not with a blank canvas, but an empty space and the job of the conversation is filling it.
So we talked with usually two or three people at a time, and had conversations that generated ideas about making art that drew from their experiences as well as ours. And then we picked three at the end to develop something with.
It turned out to be something we would have never thought of on our own and it worked out very well. We built a series of structures with about a thousand milk crates and made a film. I just found some documentation of it which you can see by clicking here if you like.
Then there is collaboration for fundraising. One example that I still like is the Regresy Tarot project. Twenty-five artists from all over the world collaborated on making different cards of a Tarot deck. If they raised enough money, they would print the deck and get paid. Because there were so many collaborators, it helped it to become a big success because each collaborator has their own sphere of influence.
Many other crowd-funded projects are done collaboratively for the same reason as the Tarot deck, but also because it is easier and often more fun than doing it alone.
Wishing you a great week.