Over the last few years, I have been exploring fine art collaborations and several artist collectives. Justin Strom, my printmaking professor at the University of Maryland, introduced me to the concept of collaborative art making. He worked hard to keep his students up to date on fine art printmaking culture. The contemporary printmaking world offers a large amount of collaborations.
Printmaking is a uniquely community-based art form. While painters, drawers, and graphic designers work alone in an intentionally private space, printmakers constantly share equipment and information. Printmakers hold conferences several times a year to get together and share recently developed techniques. Printmakers truly believe two heads are better than one, and several hundred heads are better than two.
The communal tendencies of printmaking lead to many collaborations. Justin Strom, like several of his colleagues, participate in formal artist collectives. Justin's collective is Satan's Camaro. He partners with another artist, Lenore Thomas, to regularly produce and exhibit collaborative works. He and Lenore still also produce individual work.
Justin has exposed me to other printmaking collectives as well. Many of them member he met through working on printshop teams or attending informational printmaking conferences. These collectives include the Amazing Hancock Brothers, Drive by Press, and the Little Friends of Printmaking.
Inspired by the challenge of collaborate printmaking, another one of Justin's students and I started an informal collective. My partner's name is Ilan Gutin. We made our joint alias God's Cadillac in response to our instructor's Satan's Camaro. God's Cadillac began just to see if Ilan and I could successfully combine our two favorite subjects (nebulae and weapons) without killing each other. The challenge gave birth to our Guns in Space series. We agreed that the first project, Lightyear 1, was incredibly difficult and educational. We continued on to make other collaborative prints.
Given my history with collaborations, I am excited for this class. However, in the past my experience and knowledge has been contained within the realm of printmaking. I am curious to see how cross-media collaborations will progress.