For a long time, I made art in a secluded bubble. There were people around who understood and supported me, but they were often involved in their own, very separate creative pursuits. I just thought solitude was a necessity for creation, and perhaps that is partially true. I have also learned that you can find or create a community with common goals, which will spur you on to greater heights.
My tribe is The Visage Art Tribe. (Please do not ask me how long it took for us to settle on that name, just be glad we didn’t choose “Sexy Chicken.”) We are a group of painters who like to show together, paint together, talk about art, eat food, and look at art. Sometimes we also garden, exercise, and try to play music together. Only one of us can actually play an instrument, so we don’t make music that often. We are friends who make art.
Working together is much more fun than the solo creative journey. When you are going solo, it is easy to give up more quickly. You may stop entering competitive shows, or you may even be less productive. However, if you know your friends are painting, you will try to keep up with them. If they get in a show and you don’t, you will probably try to paint something more awesome to enter next time.
In addition to The Visage Art Tribe, I also collaborate with my partner, Ironmaster Lance Wadlow when creating sculpture. I am currently in the process of finding financial support for the Taos Iron Pour, which will happen in September of this year. It has been a very interesting and educational journey. I am so glad that Kimberly Henkel has been helping me (or should I say, doing most of the work at this point).
In general, cast iron art is very collaborative because you need a crew to run the furnace. Being part of an iron pour is awesome fun. Sparks, fire, the rushing sound of the furnace, all come together creating a spectacular event. At the end of the night, you are tired and hungry, and you feel like a big family who has just made the trek from hell and back. You have been near iron as hot as the stuff beneath the crust of the earth and survived to tell the tale. As an added bonus, you have also made some art, which will be too hot to touch until the morning.
I have known for a long time that I am committed to creating art. However, recently I am increasingly aware of my wonderful friendships and the many ways they strengthen my belief in the importance of a life filled with creativity. Thank goodness I have found my people.
How have friendships strengthened your creativity?
What do you think about working as a group? (Leading question?)
What amount of solitude is the right amount?
What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends?