gold-leafed sparrow on glazed terracotta, copyright Monica Wilson and Valerie Mann, 8 x 8 x 3"
Being an artist can be very solitary. Spending a lot of time alone, working on my own ideas - it can become a habit to take myself too seriously. Collaborating is a good antidote to that. In many other disciplines of the arts, collaboration happens on a daily basis - think dance, music composition and performance, film making, for example. One of the great things about collaboration is that I have to be able to explain clearly what I'm thinking - what my vision is.
I often think, when I watch a movie like 'The Incredibles' or a really funny comedy sketch by performers like Key and Peele, that it must be have been so fun to be a part of the writing or production team - to bounce all those ideas off one another, laughing and giving each other feedback. Well, collaboration can be really fun like that - invigorating. It's exciting to throw ideas out and problem-solve the logistics of making a piece together. I learn something or expand my idea of what's possible each time Monica and I work together.
One of the other great things about collaborating is that you can't be too attached to doing things one way - you have to be willing to give and take on projects. I think it's very healthy to have to negotiate and, when an idea seems too important to compromise, be able to verbalize exactly why..... and then be willing to let it all go.
I've admired Monica's work since I first saw it. The forms she fabricates in clay are unlikely and fresh - I could see them all as large-scale outdoor sculptures! The surfaces she makes in her pieces are so raw and delicious! The subtle things that happen because of the matte finish or the 'imperfect' surface of the clay are visually seductive and essential-feeling. I make work that deals in subtlety, as well. Subtle shifts in surface quality, sheen and color interest me. Many of my pieces play with the precarious balance between 2D and 3D, incorporating shadow and rewarding the careful viewer with little moments of delight and wonder.