Today was a day working in three small, collaborative journals. Though I most often work in a large 11 inch by 14 inch journal, I do have other sizes of journals to work in as well, and right now I have three 4 inch by 6 inch collaborative journals that I’m working in.
Perhaps you have taken part in a round robin where a group of people send their journals around to each other, working and adding to each other’s journals. Well, this is similar, but a little different. These journals are part of the tet[R]ad: Draw and Play Here project developed by two close friends and artistic accomplices, David Modler and Sam Peck. With this project, journals are usually exchanged one-on-one, so you always know who has the journal. Also, the journal is a true space of collaboration. In a traditional round robin, each artist has their own pages, but with the tet[R]ad project, any and all pages can be worked on and added to by each artist making the process about negotiation and response.
That means looking through what other artists have done, and deciding when and if to add to a page. Sometimes a page is completed by primarily one of us, and other times, a page is a blend of each of us as lines and imagery, color and text, style and techniques of different individuals merge and blend. This collaboration offers surprises and new directions, and it also offers risk and vulnerability. It’s like a conversation as I put something on a page and wait for a response, and so I’ll put down some watercolor or lines or a little collage. I might layer a few things together allowing room for the other person to add and expand upon the things that I’ve started. I also “listen” to what has been said by the other person and respond to the ideas, images, and elements already on the page, and I can continue a thought or change the direction all together.
It’s a challenge to collaborate with another artist when that collaboration is strictly on the pages since they most often live far away in a different state. It’s a collaboration with in the space of the journal since we don’t talk about, discuss, or plan what happens within those pages, and that’s what is fun and challenging about it.
To find out more about the project, check out the Draw and Play here website (which by the way, I designed!)