Artistic Growth: Benefits of Collaboration

07 Dec

Lolita’s cyberbuddy, Marko, shared with her a rather rough but precious piece of audio a few months back.  Marko, who currently resides in the south of Germany, has been kind enough to contribute quite a bit of music to the website.  Lolita, who also writes for the site, has been intending for some time to refine this bit of audio, to shine it up a little, and excerpt it for presentation with art.

These collaborative efforts can be a bit of a tricky business.  We are forced, to some degree or another, to step out of our own personal creative comfort zone, to respond to another artist’s concept, techniques, strengths, weaknesses, esthetic.  As is most always the case with new projects, the collaboration requires a bit of new learning.

In Lolita’s case, the subject audio begged for some equalization, some thoughtful emphasizing and de-emphasizing of various frequencies in the audio spectrum to bring out the distinct melodic elements of the composition.  Equalization, or EQ as it is usually known, is a tricky business even when all the parts reside on separate tracks.  When the parts are already combined, into an MP3 recording, for example, the balancing act becomes exponentially more challenging.

Lolita, always up for a challenge, dove into this collaborative effort.  It felt good to be motivated by her desire to make someone else’s work shine, to promote someone else.  This is also a unique and wonderful feature of collaborative efforts – we are working not just for our sake but for the sake of our team.  There is a sense of connection, of common goals, which is quite therapeutic for the oftimes isolated artist.

At any rate – the EQ exercise went well generally speaking.  What happened was that Lolita became a bit obsessive about the whole process and went way past the optimal point in her work to shine up Marko’s piece.  What occurred to Lolita, and what saved the project, was the realization that she was trying to transform the piece into her own – rather than accept and work within the artistic parameters which Marko had already established.

Once she got over this bit of ego involvement – she returned for one more round at the project and it took just an hour or so to get the piece in shape.  It was Marko’s piece, with a bit of polish courtesy of Lolita.

Collaborative efforts are an opportunity for the artist to expand her capacity to callibrate her own personal involvement in the effort, her level of contribution – the extent, the intensity, the complexity of that contribution.  You have an opportunity to fully value some very basic artistic strengths that you bring to the table and perhaps can take for granted from time to time.  And this capacity to callibrate, it turns out, is fully applicable to your solo efforts as well.  Sometimes a project is really just a piece of low-hanging fruit.  The creative thought is ripe, the new learning is straightforward, the method of execution is well-tested.

Even as you show great courage and strength in climbing the high mountains, taking on the difficult challenges of creative life, you can enjoy those points along the way when a project is simply given to you.  It is a gift from the Creator, an affirmation of the good work you are doing, and Her full support in your process.

Spark on


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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in creative collaboration


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