Collaborative Creativity


Collaborative Creativity

Collaborative Creativity: an experiment in responsive intuitive mark-making


Over the last few years, I have become a great believer in allowing instinct and intuition to drive not just my art practice but my life in general. This belief was encouraged by my experience a few years back in following The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The daily discipline of writing a stream of consciousness allowed all manner of ideas to filter through and connect, and allowing evolving intuition to guide me was not just incredibly exciting but also exhilaratingly rewarding.

A few months ago, I was asked to lead a creative workshop at a community retreat where the broad theme of the weekend was to be an exploration of the relationship and influence of the past, present and the future of the community. I thought it would be interesting to plan and run my session on a very open-ended and intuitive basis, thereby allowing in a very real sense past experience to influence future work. So my personal planning process consisted of allowing ideas to float and present and gradually coalesce over an extended period of time, and it became very exciting as bits gradually fell into place, and the final workshop plan emerged.

It comprised initially a couple of exercises to create art using both random and determinative processes, and collage as the medium. The results were artistically encouraging for a group of whom a number were unused to creative processes: small torn pieces of tissue dropped in a single random movement invariably produced successful aesthetic results, and the group moved confidently into the second stage game.

Here, working in teams of two or three and having each chosen a personal single colour ‘palette’ of torn magazine colours, and a third agreed group colour, the participants took turns to place ‘marks’ of collage in response to ‘marks’ placed by their partner. After some initial sparring and challenge in the early stages in fruitless efforts to establish control, the teams settled down to a quiet, intensive intellectual analysis of their emerging abstract artwork. Collaborative endeavour became more important in pursuit of a successful aesthetic result. It became noticeable how much time was spent reflecting on the mark placed by the other before a participant moved to place his/her own mark in thoughtful but intuitive response.

The results were wonderful, but just as fascinating was how the whole process had a clear metaphorical significance in the context of communication and relationships between individuals in wider society. Without realising or intending it, I had created a process and “game” with great relevance to some of the cross-cultural dialogue I have been recently involved with. I can’t (yet) precisely explain why it is of such relevance, but I have no doubt that it is the serendipitous result of all this blogging and writing in conjunction with the making of art. The free-floating, superficially unconnected topics that I blog about daily are clearly related at an unconscious level, and when I allow them to ‘meet up’, new paths of enquiry emerge.

I did forewarn yesterday of the possibility of this blog taking an unusually introspective turn, but following my own rules about following instinct, I obviously have to write about it all!



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