This contributor post was written by Jamie of The Dancing Cat.
The who, what, when, where, and why of collaborations.
One way to gain more exposure for your work and discover a new audience is collaboration! While I’ve experienced both good and bad, and have been offered a lot of opportunities I’ve turned down, the key is in knowing what leads to a successful collaboration and how you can achieve one!
Tips for a successful collaboration:
Consider who you’d like to collaborate with.
Are you a fine artist who makes 2D art and are interested in branching out to 3D objects? Are you interested in creating a piece of work with another artist, creating a small book or collection of works that include a group of your favorite artists. Perhaps you’d like to collaborate with a gallerist or independent designer who would like to feature your work. There are all sorts of collaborations, they key is finding the perfect collaborator who meets your aesthetic understanding and desire to create something new together! Bookmark artists you like, send out letters of inquiries, start a dialogue with artists and designers you already love and admire!
Consider what you’d like to collaborate on.
Will one person create the designs, the other the fabrication? Perhaps you have the drawings and another person has the machine to screen print your work onto scarves. Or perhaps you have the words and another artist has the illustrations to go with your piece. There are all kinds of new directions your work can explore. Sit down and make a list of possible new ways your work can be seen or shown. Is there a new direction you’ve been wanting to take your work or a new field you’d like to explore?
Consider why you want to collaborate.
Make sure there is a core reason for your collaboration above and beyond finding a new audience. Make sure your collaboration is happening because you truly value the other person’s ideas, art, and work. Make sure your collaboration is going to reach an audience that values both your aesthetic sensibilities and will bring something new and of value to your fans. Don’t just make random collaborations with people whose work or ideas you aren’t truly enthusiastic about!
Consider where you want to collaborate.
Will your collaboration be available in both your shops online, in person or at a brick and mortar shop? Will you reach out to a new venue to show and sell your work? Think about new places you could feature your work that you might not have available right now. Consider overseas collaborations as well as local venues you haven’t yet explored! Perhaps your work would work well hung in the new dress shop in your city or a collaboration with a jewelry designer in Berlin who sells your work at local craft fairs.
Consider when you what to collaborate.
Collaborations take time! Be prepared to set aside ample time and commitment to your collaborator. Realize collaborations can take a lot of editing before you can come up with the perfect item or idea! Think seasons, when you’d like to unveil your collaboration and how!
*Remember trust is key when working in a collaboration. Make sure who you’re working with is someone you can trust and work well with. Set guidelines at the beginning of every collaboration, write them down so each party knows what to expect! Most importantly have fun and enjoy the process, it’s great to know someone else is working just as hard as you are to create something you love!
Feel free to brainstorm and share your ideas for collaborations below! Who knows perhaps you’ll find your next collaborator right here! 😀
Jamie is an artist and owner of The Dancing Cat, an online shop which showcases her fine art and prints. In addition she teaches a number of online art courses at The Dancing Cat Art School which explore creative thinking and the joy of making. She loves drawing, fat cats, and finding a sense of the ridiculous in everyday life. She graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design in 2006.
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[…] single time I visit. Without fail. And she wrote a few guest posts here on papernstitch as well: gaining exposure for your work with collaborations and 5 tips for artists marketing […]This Illustrated Life: 5 Illustrators that Totally Rule | papernstitch
Thank Jamie ~ these are some great tips. I’ve moved to a new area and have yet to meet other creators to collaborate with. I’m so fed by working on projects with others and hope to soon find some locals interested in co- creating but after reading this, I’m willing to reach out online… perhaps even overseas 🙂christine
Definitely deciding that I’m not right for a collab right now. Thanks for the post! I had been considering it with a certain someone on my mind, but after reading that last tip about When, I realize that I can’t devote the right amount of time right now, nor the security of scheduled meetings or definitive deadlines. And that isn’t the right working environment to set up with someone. So I’ll wait until I can make time for it and continue on my own for now!Laura
Good post! Collaborating is always exciting and allows you to learn from others. I am always open to collaborating with others because it does lead to more leads.casey