“Stronger together” is a phrase with truth in it. Armies, soccer teams, small businesses, social change movements—all many a group that can bear witness to that truth, and so can artists.
With EcoArts, for example, our creative process for the last two years has involved bi-weekly meetings on Zoom. We have used such meetings to conceive and give shape to the big picture behind the project. We have also used them to create the body of the project moving forward and refine individual details of its parts.
The results of these Zoom meetings are often striking. Like trout snapping up mayflies during an early summer hatch, new ideas have tended to appear suddenly and spontaneously out of the depths, stimulated by the energy of our collective concentration. The ideas come from all of us. Rarely—I daresay never—have individual egos obtruded by clinging to an unworkable or premature picture simply because “it’s my idea.” The generative process has been fluid.
The actual art making, true to the traditions of the lonely artist, is often accomplished individually and alone. But, when we come together to examine and critique the individual creations, insights from one or another member of the group are invariably useful. Moreover, it must be noted how almost uncannily harmonious the unique styles or “voices” of the individual artworks tend to be when placed together. It is as though the spirit of the common ideal was at work behind the artists.
Finally, it must be noted that some projects, including those of Gulf of Maine EcoArts, are just too big to be singlehandedly accomplished. The fact that everybody brings particular skills to the table, each of which is needed, and that many hands are making light work, has been vital.
Image at top: EcoArts team artists Joe Hemes and David Mahany creating a sculpture of Ammen Rock.