During my time at University one of things that made me most anxious was group work and group assignments. Anytime a professor would announce one I would immediately feel a full-body cringe coming on. I hated them, the uncertainty of them, the unfamiliarity of them. Growing up, I was never a huge collaborator. I’d always worked on creative projects independently. I’d never tried to write a story or script or poem or essay with anyone else . Sure, I had to do some group presentations in High School but that was it. So the idea of collaborating on anything creative was quite daunting.
You never know who you are going to be stuck with. What if their ideas are horrible and you can’t tell them, what if they think your ideas are horrible and won’t tell you, or even worse, they do tell you, and are really nasty about it! What if they want to take over the whole project and won’t let you get a word in otherwise, what if they are the kind of people that commit to doing a lot and then call you up at two in the morning to let you know they haven’t had a chance to do any of it, and then you have to miraculously save the project or suffer the consequences…
To say the least, working with others on artistic endeavours can be very scary, and challenging. But it can also teach you so many things, and push you and pull you to places you might never reach without them, or they without you.
Choosing creative partners or collaborators can also be challenging. You need to have similar goals for the art piece or project, but your differences can help make the project reach new levels and places and blossom into things you would never have expected.
Collaborations are magical, especially when they work, but also when they don’t.
There is something magnetic about them, some push and some pull. When two or more minds bounce ideas off each other and create something that is not ‘mine’ or ‘yours’ but ‘ours’ or ‘theirs’ together.
Chalk with Me was not a project born from my mind, nor from Shiphrah’s alone, and as it changes and grows and takes on new directions and possibilities, I am continually aware and thankful that it is a collaboration, always. We are open to other voices, your ideas, your artistic input, your chalking hands, to help us, pull us, pull you; venture together into places we are needed and perhaps even places and spaces we never expected to go, or to chalk!