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carl heyward, usa: on artist collaboration

Artist collaboration with Alvaro Sanchez and 
Cesar Pineda Moncrieff, Guatemala

It is always a pleasure to engage two or more artists who come together in a selfless act of creating a work of art. What is even more impressive is when the expression reveals a true merging of style that speaks a uniform and seamless interpretation. This is the artistic language that has translated into a recent collaborative expression between Alvaro Santiago and Cesar both of Guatemala.  Artist and Founder of the Global Arts Project will share his experience on the art of collaboration. Carl conducts workshops both in the USA and internationally. The collaboration process is one of the core elements of his group’s approach to art.

Carl Heyward, USA on the collaboration process:

Jazzed out funereal feel mix of fun and fiction in the surreal tradition of magical realism in Latin American art and literature infused with dias de los muertos foreboding yet inviting synthesis of punk, graffiti and a joyful comic feel of a twisted futuristic anatomical text book. Carl Heyward
No list or highly articulated detailed description can replace the value of the direct experience of this collaborative process. It is akin to a musical improvisation engaged in high-energy, rapid movements; of an insect colony seemingly of one mind persuaded to follow as one body through a silent, intuitive, almost telepathic dance; a high-tension tightrope walk over the treacherous heights of ego and control exhausting both. The resulting outcomes could not exist without this exchange of openness and exploration.

The truth of collaboration lies in the cessation of relying solely on ego as the definitive source of power or drive…it is the recognition, I think, of the omnipresence of fear and ego and its appropriateness or inappropriate utilization from setting to setting, from one event to the another in our lives. If we more or less define ourselves by what we do or feel we are capable of doing, then ego or ego-fear, while certainly having its place, proves to be inadequate in the journey of realizing the fullness of personal and interpersonal interaction. It is limiting, not to say that satisfactory products cannot be produced in this primal motif, but a universe of possibilities that ultimately inform one’s practice is lost without a lowering of the boundaries, the thin membrane of resistance that blinds and binds us. In collaboration, and there are many forms and modalities, one is privy to their process, where it comes from and how it resonates or flops in the presence of another; the commonality of ideas and approaches as well as the techniques employed to produce vastly different results often resulting in surprising works surpassing expectation. Collaboration is a process, discovering the Other or Third Mind (Burroughs and Gysin) that emerges when two or more bring themselves completely upon this process. Like any relationship, there is growth richness, change, and variation in these products as well as in the participants who carry over into personal works as well as into other collaborations.

Primary to any understanding of the approach that GAP (global art project) has undertaken in its collaborative art practice is the principle of trust; trust in one’s fellow artists; trust in the process and trust in self. Without these essential elements nothing can be created; there is no GAP. Add openness, willingness, a spirit of adventure and a love for experimentation with an equal amount of non-attachment to the results and you have the intellectual basis of our collaborative ambitions.

Carl Heyward is an artist/writer living in San Francisco; he has exhibited mixed-media paintings and artists’ books internationally.  He is the founder of the Global Arts Project (GAP) and conducts international and national arts workshops.  Ron Shelton contributed to this story.

alvaro and cesar collaboration
alvaro and cesar collaboration
alvaro and cesar collaboration
"untitled" watercolor charcoal, colored pencils, acrylic on paper 18 x 24in
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