Harmony Hammond Talk


Harmony Hammond's talk was very interesting to me from several perspectives, but I think that the most interesting thing that she talked about was the work on collaborative art, as with the group of feminist artists on the magazine Heresies. I feel, that in the world of art in particular, there is such an overemphasis placed on originality and uniqueness that artists are afraid to work together. They fear that if they are found to make something with the help of others, it no longer belongs to them alone and is not truly unique, but rather that they have collectively stolen from each other's brains.
In fact the opposite is true. When artists are unafraid to work together, they are able to develop their craft in a way previously inexpressible. Working together forces artists to examine the faults and flaws in their own natural thinking, which, when working alone, they cannot see.
Also, contrary to the common fears of a lack of uniqueness in their work, the collaborative effort creates something that is more unique, because this fusion of two (or more) artists is something that is unique from both of their individual works. Each, without the other, cannot attain what they can create when working side by side.
Harmony Hammond touched on a wide range of topics, illustrated numerous pieces of her own art, as well as sharing much of her own life story. But the thing that stuck out the most to me was the shared effort between the women working on Heresies. I was greatly cheered to see that not all artists are so self-absorbed as to ignore any open hand of friendship that comes their way.


I liked hearing your thoughts on collaboration. I think artists throughout time have naturally sought each other out and congregated together, often being at the heart of progressive movements and so-called bohemian lifestyles and social scenes. Collaborative work can be exciting and I think it takes many forms, including less tangible ones, such as sharing of ideas, methods, approaches, experiences, comments and feedback, supplies and media. Even the most introverted artist seems to usually have at least one other creative-minded individual with whom they discuss their work or whose opinion/suggestions they very much take to heart. If you look at the biographies of many artists they often seem to have other artists (not necessarily exclusively visual artists) around them who push and stretch them in new directions. This, to me, is a form of collaboration that should not be discounted. Even in the case of "Heresies" it sounded like this is more the type of collaboration going on, and eventually resulted in a journal as a result.

I understand you are particularly interested in when people work together to bring something specific or tangible into manifestation though. I think the artist Swoon (Callie Curry) is doing some really exciting collaborative projects, and you should check her out if you are not familiar with all the things she is up to. Locally I think there are a lot of visual artists working collaboratively with performing artists, esp smaller theater groups, to do some really great projects. Open Eye Figure Theater is one place that I have really appreciated and is worth checking out if you haven't yet discovered them. Their shows have never disappointed me in their unique and wide-ranging approaches and the imagination involved. Even when the show itself is not great, I always enjoy myself because I see others' creativity unfolding and revealing itself before me, and find that really inspiring and worthy of my appreciation. There is a lot of good will and joy involved in that kind of work, you can feel it in those presenting/making it, and it is felt and reciprocated by the audience. In that sense the audience of the work becomes part of the process of its creation, less separate.

- Allison Ruby

You made a good point about how a collective effort creates the effect of something totally new and in its own way original. The biggest problem I could see with working with others on art is that everyone has their own idea and vision. And if they are focusing on that instead of simply being original, there could still be problems. At least these women did not have that issue.

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This page contains a single entry by joh09227 published on January 29, 2013 9:51 AM.

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