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Re-Image/Re-Imagine: Artist Collaborations

Last week, my fellow graduate students and I were invited to bring in five “failed” drawings and exchange them with our peers. The challenge was to re-imagine three of the works in any format, and the results were illuminating and inspiring.

These collaborations were a wonderful opportunity to loosen up and rediscover the infinite possibilities of the creative process. I’ve spent the past few weeks as a deep-sea diver in thematic and aesthetic research, so it was invigorating to resurface for fresh new inspiration and the freedom to experiment with any medium. With works by Jessica Glover, Jeel Gada, and Professor Carson herself as my starting point, I was tasked with doing justice to the original integrity of the works while re-imaginating them. Given this, I decided not to alter the originals but to re-configure the scale of some and the medium of others.

For my first piece, I began with a sacred heart sketch by Jessica Glover. Glover has developed a particular fondness for sacred heart imagery as of late, and her work evinces a poetic tenderness and deep appreciation for gestures of the hand. Inspired by Cy Twombly, she has a particular penchant for emotive line. I chose to re-imagine her sketch in a medium very much in touch with both tenderness and line: embroidery. This is a medium which I have picked up in recent months and would like to incorporate into my work, so it was wonderful to have the chance to practice it in reference to another artist’s approach.

The resulting piece elicited wonderful feedback from the original artist, who suggested that we continue the project with an artist-made shirt exchange. I’m looking forward to this extended collaboration, and to sharing the results here.

For my second piece, I chose to enlarge and merge the works I received from Jeel Gada and Professor Denise Carson. Gada is an observant artist who imbues her images with an ephemeral sense of place, transporting viewers into the miniature worlds contained in her drawings, and Carson masterfully employs a variety of media to explore themes of “childhood, faith, suffering, loss, compassion and unconditional love,” often through abstraction and portraiture. Using her patterning and palette as the ground upon which to situate Gada’s drawing, I translated her original mixed media collage into watercolor and acrylic before painting in the enlarged scene. I then responded to the resulting visual interactions between the images, selecting additional colors to draw out silhouettes and intersections.

This technique was also reminiscent of the approach of Carrie Moyer, who expertly layers abstractions in a variety of colors and opacities. As in Moyer’s work, this three-person collaboration revealed the unexpected harmonies that can arise between disparate forms and approaches.

Artistic collaborations are always an opportunity for discovering surprising solutions to creative questions, and the creation of these impromptu hybrid works was a liberating and fruitful experience. To discover the works of my talented collaborators:

Jessica Glover: (For a special post by the artist about her affinity for sacred heart imagery, click here:

Jeel Gada:

Instagram: @colorato.jeel

Professor Denise Carson:, Instagram: @denisecarsonart

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