Collaborative art projects are the order of the day in Atlanta. You can’t swing a brush in this town without hearing someone’s emphatic description of the “awesome” new project, art show, or performance they’re cooking up with other local creatives. And, really, why shouldn’t it be like that? Funding is hard to come by, let alone carving out a living as a full-time artist. In many ways, the traditional rules have been thrown out in favor of make-it-up-as-you-go-along collaborative experimentation.
One likely reason can be traced to a seemingly inhospitable environment for lowbrow art. When artists go for long enough feeling estranged from upscale galleries, the glossy art world, and its promise of financial support, they lose no heart and start forging their own communities, complete with their own hangouts, social protocols, and uniquely freeing sense of no rules. Making money, while always a nice occasional side effect of making art, is largely taken out of the equation. Suddenly your contemporaries aren’t your competition; they are your allies and, in many cases, your partners in crime.
And so it goes for our art collaboration du jour: Here We Hide, a group show by the Paper Twins, Joe Tsambiras, and Sam Parker opening this Saturday, February 27, from 8-11PM, at MINT Gallery.
As the foursome spent their Tuesday going crazy on some nails, paint, and stencils, I got a chance to hang out amidst their palpably excited pre-opening vibe. Having only first come together in December (the pairing was the brainchild of MINT’s Mike Germon), the group quickly realized that they “existed in the same universe,” and from there the show began to take form. While they acknowledge that the relatively short time frame was stressful, they assert with easy smiles that the “stress is fun.”
Joe Tsambiras explains, “It’s like, I planted this garden, so why not cultivate it?”
The way they talk about their ideas and process shows a gentle like-mindedness that doesn’t overextend itself; it seems they are all aware of the newness of their relationships as artists, while basking in the energizing warmth of knowing they have a congruent vision for the show. Hanging out with them is like tagging along on someone’s first date and observing that it’s going really, really well.
The foundation of Here We Hide is the idea of creating a completely transformed interior space that combines a multitude of artistic elements (the specifics of which I have been sworn to secrecy about, but I will say that it’s a warmly rich, fantastic reverie). The group repeatedly referenced the idea of moving in with a significant other and the sweet decorative collaborations that go into combining separate visions of an ideal home. And with four artists, all of whom are producing on a number of works independently of the others, the most exciting part will be seeing it all come together (or “making the invisible visible,” as Tsambiras puts it).
MINT Gallery is located in Unit B of the Sampson Street Lofts at 684 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue. Please contact Erica Jamison at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.