“Our relationship is more like brothers. He’s kind of like my big brother.” – Samari Rolle.
One of the nicest aspects of life, in these strange times of the Coronavirus lockdown, is that I am working on an art collaboration with my cousin, Ray; photographer for the collection we are working on. The subject of our project is the seaside town of Sandown, on the Isle of Wight. At fifty-one years of age, almost three years older than me, Ray has a strong history of writing, photography and of creating publications on the beautiful Isle of Wight; namely associated with the sporting world.
While on lockdown, we are all allowed out to take a walk, for exercise, each day. This typically would be anything up to an hour. Ray takes his camera with him, on his walks, and he takes the opportunity to find subject matter for our art project. He stops briefly, to take his photograph, and then he continues and eventually heads home.
Once he has made his choice of favourite shots, Ray sends me the photos electronically and then I begin the job of narrowing down the selection of images that I will work from; creating an artwork that is inspired by the photograph. This begins with a considerable amount of sketching:
While the shots we are taking are of buildings in the Sandown area, I happily retain my ‘artistic licence’ and so there are a few changes that I may make, in order for an image to work well as a handmade artwork. Largely, I keep the artwork as close to the image in the photograph as I possibly can.
Once my artwork is completed, I frame my artwork and then I also edit, print and frame Ray’s image; my part being to simply change the image from colour, to black and white and to close in on the detail that is relevant to my art piece. This colour change better suits the project.
We work well in collaboration. Neither of us has any need to compete with the other and we are both interested in what the other sees, thinks, describes and produces. Already, the collection is developing well and, though it takes time, it is immensely satisfying. The collaborative nature of the project is reflected in our relationship; collaborative and supportive.
We are lucky that technology makes all of this possible. From being able to video call each other, through to texting and e-mailing about the project, we are able to share this collaborative experience despite that I live four and a half hours away, in the county of Suffolk. Were it not for the virus lockdown, I would be able to visit the Isle of Wight and be more present to undertake this project but, as I did make it to the Isle of Wight earlier in the year, I have now a good insight into Sandown and a strong sense of the town. I think it is an utterly charming resort and I found the people to all be incredibly kind and welcoming, while I visited. Perhaps some of you, reading this, might be inspired to work on a creative project with your family or friends, during lockdown, with the use of video-calling and e-communications technology?
Here is my part of the project, so far. I hope you like it. Admittedly, I have included an image of a lighthouse from another part of The Isle of Wight. Maybe the work will grow to represent many parts of the island?
(C) Dean and Ray Parsons. 2020.
Categories: Creative Living