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Artist Collaboration: Fuel for Creative Exploration

scripted Narrative_Lynette Ubel

The merging of materials and style through artist collaboration can create some of the most groundbreaking artistic works. History has shown us that artistic expansion happens when minds like Andy Warhol & Jean Michel Basquiat, Walt Disney & Salvador Dali, and Jackson Pollack & Lee Krasner meld their creative genius and complementary skills. In this post, I’ll share details about an artistic collaboration I’m involved with as well as how getting immersed in a creative duo can be energizing for both parties.


Collaboration in theatre and music is becoming mainstream, but the fine arts tend to gravitate toward solitary expression. Many artists dodge even the thought of art collaborations because they are so accustomed to working alone or they don’t want to give their creative process away. To do so, however, can be well worth stepping outside of this comfort zone to experience the evolution of artistic possibility.

When artists open themselves up to the knowledge and experience of other artists from a genre that is different from their own, they are rewarded with seeing their unrelated mediums harmonize in the creation of transformative artwork. Typically each artist’s creative contribution is discernible in the new work, and it’s the juxtaposition of the two styles that create a transformative effect.

last-cutline-Lynette Ubel_artist collaboration
Which painting style will be best suited for collaboration with a 3-dimensional resin artist? We are considering them all, but see the most potential in work similar to, “Scripted Narrative” [far right].


Sometimes an artist is searching for an opportunity to explore materials and form that are foreign to them so, they seek out an artist that is well versed, or even a master, of that form. An example of this would be a metal sculptor seeking out a glass artist to come up with new work that has both the density of metal and the transparency of glass in a single piece of art. Sometimes masters in a particular genre find themselves in need of an infusion of fresh energy to revitalize their work, so they pair up with an artist outside their wheelhouse.

What’s key to successful art collaboration is the conversation between artists that unlocks creative riches that will expand and benefit both of them in a multitude of ways. What you will have when you are finished is a visible record of the “give and take” in the artistic conversation that has manifested itself into a piece of art. There is no way to know where the conversation will lead you until you put yourself out there and take part in one!


In January of this year I received an invitation from the owner at Hilliard Gallery, in Kansas City. They represent my work locally and therefore are very familiar with my style. They sent out a call for entry to select local artists to participate in a collaborative show that will open in October of 2019 for First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District.

The goal for this unique show at Hilliard Gallery is to highlight the creative magic that results from the formation of creative duos combining the talents of local Kansas City artists. The only theme for the show is that all pieces will be collaborative either interdisciplinary or cross disciplines. We may work in any combination of mediums, and in any size desired.

We are free to explore different genres for ourselves. Although we were selected for this venture based on our past work, we aren’t required to stay truthful to that genre, but our style in each piece should be somewhat discernible within the work.  In other words, it is totally up to each of us what we create and how we create it. If you follow my blog you have most likely noticed I have an affinity for self-imposed challenges…so I said yes!

The placemats served as sketchpads for a brainstorming lunch with artist Jennifer Walker, while thinking about how we will best merge my painting and her sculpture.

This project should be fun and mind expanding, but also a totally new challenge for me. There are sixteen artists that have been paired for the collaboration. I am excited to be teamed with resin artist Jennifer Walker. She is experienced in sculpting with a variety of materials, including: fiberglass, casting resin, plaster, concretes, molding clay and rubber molding compounds. She is currently narrowing her focus on her illuminated resin sculpture which will be the material that we plan to merge with my painting.

The two of us came together for our first brainstorm session at a local restaurant. The paper placemats served as our sketchpads. We let the conversation begin and crazy ideas fly! By the time we left we had a direction that we were both very excited about. We are to create two pieces of art for the show in October. Even though the exhibit is months away we are glad to be starting now, with the artwork and commissions we both are working on otherwise.

I’m excited to be part of this collaborative spirit and to see what comes of it for all the artists involved. We will be able to draw on everyone’s creative perspective to manifest art that will transform each of us and transform the gallery in October!

Have you ever collaborated with another artist? What was the outcome? Would you do a collaboration in the future? Share your experience below!

While Lynette’s 25+ year career has produced a versatile portfolio of award-winning photography and design, it is her calling as an abstract painter that is emerging in full, vibrant fashion today. Her artistic vision now manifests itself in contemporary abstract acrylic paintings that feature an explosive style of remarkable depth, motion, and fluidity.

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