Many of my artworks are based on my collaboration with professional photographers. Read in this mini series about how this has expanded my personal horizon.
The Power of Collaborations
While my global approach was the major driving force behind my collaborations with international photographers (>> cf. 20 | The Photographers I Work With (1) ), and the powerful impact of other artists have accelerated my creative growth (>> cf. 22 | The Photographers I Work With (2) ), there were more unprecedented effects popping up after a while.
Being an artist can be a lonesome occupation. This does have advantages for semi-introverts and independent souls like me. It can, however, decrease the opportunities for inspiration and change caused by frequent encounters with other people. (And I don’t mean your own people at your own house here, of course.) When I started working with photographers, then at first it was all about their beautiful photos. But then you get to know each other gradually, of course, and you start to understand more about each other’s passions. You start exchanging thoughts after a while and debating them like you do with everyone you know. At best, you learn from each other.
Artists, unfortunately, are often difficult to collaborate with. I don’t really understand why. I suppose it’s because many artists are struggling financially, some also emotionally, competition on the art market can be tough. I have had unpleasant experiences too. About my experiences with photographers I have had so far, I can really only tell good things, though. It may be easier when you share the same passion but not the same genre. It is a truly enriching experience.
I personally thrive on collaboration to a large extent. That is when they and I click on a personal basis, course. Chemistry is always important.
Let me now continue introducing you to some of the photographers I work with and let me tell you about how much I gain from this collaboration – as an artist and as a person.
Laia López Barnadas, from Barcelona | Spain – currently based in Middle East
When I contacted Laia after seeing her photos on Instagram I was basically having in mind that I wished to work with a woman as well. I had no idea what an adventurer she is and how her biography has equipped her with an unsatiable desire to travel. Her grandmother used to travel around the world, visited innumerable countries all over the world (except for Africa) between the late 60s and beginning 90s – very unsual for a woman during those decades. And now Laia, at the age of 42, has already seen more than 80 countries with more than 26 of them in Africa!
Leaving The Comfort Zone
I usually pick the photos I wish to paint myself. I have different reasons why I select some and not others. There are technical aspects, of course, not all photos are good reference photos for paintings. A painter has a different view than a photographer. But there are other reasons. Sometimes I may not be interested too much in a specific country. Sometimes the photo and I do just not “fall in love at first sight”. And then I always ask myself – in my normal life as well as in my art – whether it is “politically correct” what I do. This is very important to me.
Laia has visited several tribal communities. For some reason, I was hesitant painting a tribe member. I did not want to be mistaken as someone interested in displaying exotic people only. Laia has convinced me that the opposite is true. We even have a moral obligation to remind ourselves and others of with whom we share our planet and how diverse the world still is. Tribal communities have preserved ancient ways of life, languages and rituals over many centuries until today. They can show us where we as humankind are coming from.
The modern world and its societies, however, are currently heading towards a turning point of which we do not know what will happen after it. The world climate, the world economy, the political stability are all in severe danger. These tribal communities may disappear very soon if we do not save our planet. We must contemplate the real beauty of the world and see that constant and ongoing growth is no longer possible. We must take the opportunity to reach out and shape our common global future more consciously from here onward and to preserve life-forms – of both humans and nature – that have worked so perfectly well for our planet for such a long time. We must make the turnaround – for the sake of all life on earth.
Read more about the photographers I work with:
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