Creative collaboration has proven itself as a cornerstone of some of the greatest artistic and innovative developments that have been conceived. We listen to, write about, study, watch, feel, taste, and appreciate the greatest gifts that have been given to our senses when we involve ourselves in a collaborative effort. There are some major creative feats that would not be around today if it weren’t for artists, writers, makers, thinkers, printers, players, and lovers working together.
Take Paros, a small island that found itself at the centre of artistic production for the entirety of Greece from the 7th-5th Centuries BC. Using their finest assets, namely; skills, unique sculptural innovation, and a rare marble only found on the island, the population formed workshops that created marble works of art that were shipped all over the Greek islands. Artists, sculptors, innovators, exporters, and designers…essentially an art collective was born.
How about Ballet Russes, a ballet company established in 1909 that were based in Paris who became known for their promotion of revolutionary collaborations, injecting Parisian avant-garde culture with Russian passion and raw style; Russian dancers, French artists such as Matisse, a Spanish Picasso, designer, Coco Chanel, and the musical influence of Debussy. Artistic innovation to it’s finest amidst a tumultuous climate of the Russian Revolution.
The Dada movement began during a similar time, birthed from a small collective in Zurich including visual artists and poets, in which ideological traits were established and adopted by a network of creative throughout the world. The art itself shared very few artistic boundaries or commonalities, but were tied together by conceptual and philosophical similarities. Poets, playwrights, singers, artists, and sculptors…a new social movement was born, one that mimicked and criticised the mayhem of war and made a mockery of social order.
From the innovative musical collaborations of Tin Pan Alley, a collective of songwriters, composers, publishers, and lyricists who inhabited the American pop music scene during the first third of the 20th Century, to the equally cringe-worthy, yet brilliant collaborations of the 1980’s, musicians have also worked to make our feet dance for as long as people have listened. Hell…can you imagine a world without David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s ‘Dancing in the Street’, or Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel intensely embracing for over 6 minutes in the video clip for ‘Don’t Give Up’? I sure can’t. How about live collaborations, like the 58 episodes worth of musical genius between Johnny Cash and various artists such as Bob Dylan, Tammy Wynette, Louis Armstrong, and Joni Mitchell, or perhaps Prince and Beyonce teaming up for the Grammy’s in 2008 with ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Baby I’m A Star’.
The foundations of artistic and creative collaboration have been in the making for centuries, and it’s safe to say that without the ability to work together, inspire, critique, uphold, encourage, and involve ourselves in this; it would be impossible to take on new artistic endeavours. The notion of collective invention stands as one of the only movements with the conceptual capacity to bring us together.