Imagine my surprise when I opened our mail and saw this!
Last year I was invited by fellow artist Rocky Bridges to join what sounded like an interesting project – Visual Unity 2. Rocky had previously organized a similar exhibition in 2009 with the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg. The big idea – organize the artists into teams and work together to create new art. Rocky had secured the backing of the Polk Museum of Art to organize a similar invitational exhibit on a larger scale.
Polk Museum executive director Daniel Stetson and curator Adam Justice got together with Rocky and cooked up some amazing artists teams – among them myself and Tony Eitharong. Brave souls – this type of exhibition can be tricky for both the museum and the artist – it adds an element of uncertainty for the museum to show previously unseen work, without being able to review and select ahead of time. The teams were selected to create a diverse body of work, a creative mix of media and styles. Luckily, this was a great match.
Little did they know that Tony and I were already a good team – we sometimes travel to shows together, eat lots of extra-spicy Thai food, drink beer, you know those things that artists do when they hang out. Here’s a photo while at Tony’s studio,
In short, we’ve influenced each other over the years. So this was a great chance to actually work on something together, not just give each other feedback on our respective work.
Curator Adam Justice, “Collaboration means compromise. It can also mean association and coexistence. History has proven that by experimenting collaboratively, artists can either build a reciprocating relationship or become segregated rivals. But the potential toxicity of an unbalanced mixture of personality and ideas in an artists’ studio can often be remedied by its own nature; although two vehicles of creativity may forcefully collide, they will likely reconstruct one another into new and unexpected engines“.
View the Catalog:
Read an excerpt of the catalog for the “Visual Unity 2” collaboration between Jeff League and Tony Eitharong