To continue this new series of articles on artistic collaborations, I am happy to have this team of creatives as our guests this week.
To introduce them, I asked them to tell us about their story on how they formed up. "We are eight artists from around the world who met online during the first Make Art That Sells e-course by Lilla Rogers. We consist of Katy Tanis, Victoria Weiss, Neiko Ng (United States), Kat Kalindi Cameron, Zoe Ingram, Karma Voce (Australia), Ine Beerten (Belgium), and Miriam Bos (The Netherlands)."
After the course finished they started to talk about going to Surtex and "how hard that is, as individual artists," especially for those from overseas. "Some of us had been thinking about forming a group but didn't know where to start, and this was when all the seeds of ideas sprouted.
Before we knew it, our collective Forest Foundry was up and growing! We loved the idea of forming a supportive creative tribe with like-minded artists to share experiences, to push and positively challenge each other when we need it, and to help us celebrate our successes."
What's your creative process about, I asked? "That's a tricky one to answer as a group. We all work quite differently. I guess the one thing that we all learned and agree with wholeheartedly is the message we learned from Lilla Rogers, our teacher and an art agent extraordinaire - and that is that people buy your joy. If you love what you are working on then that will seep into your work and effect the people who see it in a positive way. If you are laboring over something or just not feeling it, or doing it purely for the money, it shows. So our process as a group definitely encompasses that notion. Create what you love and it will sell itself."
They develop a product as a team by doing most of their artwork individually. Recently they collaborated on their first product, an illustrated calendar combining artwork from all eight of them. "It was a great success so we plan more for the future. Everything is done very democratically, even things that don't necessarily have anything to do with product development. We usually all come up with several ideas and then try to come to a consensus by voting and discussing the pros and cons. There's eight of us so we have lots of different opinions, but so far we've always been able to get to a consensus pretty easily."
Then they add, "It's been really inspiring and incredibly motivating to see how everyone works. Everybody has their own energy, rhythm, process and rituals. And it's just so much fun to be able to share this with people who are not only on the same journey, but are also as equally driven. We are like a self-propelling machine that constantly creates its own momentum! Or, better said, a forest that keeps on growing from its own eco-system. ;)"
"We started a private Facebook group and we still use that as our main communication tool. We also use e-mail, Skype, Dropbox, and recently introduced Asana for project management. Asana is a great free tool in which you can put your projects, add tasks and assign them to people, set reminders, comment on things, upload pictures ... it's very useful to keep a good overview of what needs to happen and who's working on what. Some of us also use ToDoist."
Before they started Forest Foundry they were all working solo at home and that can be hard, they said. "It's very easy to feel cut off and lonely and unsure of how to do things. We've found that working together is much easier. We've all got our own talents, experience and resources and we pool it all together now. We support and motivate each other, help out when help is needed, keep each other accountable to make sure things get done, and bring our artwork into the world together which seems to lessen the work load and seems less scary than when you're doing it all by yourself. Together we are much stronger than when we are each working alone (just like a forest)."
What excites them to work together is that they are fans of each others work! "How cool is that, to be in the same group with each other. To share resources and to grow our personal art practices through a group dynamic. Its like sharing a virtual studio space too, with seven other cool, dynamic creatives! :)"
Please tell us any suggestions or tips for other artists interested in starting up a group, I asked. "We would definitely encourage people to start collaborating with others. A good place to look for other artists would be through a course, online or not. Don't let geography get in the way, it's really not that important, you can do almost everything online now. Just find people you connect with and who you can share your passion with."
The Forest Foundry Art Collective:
|Artist Ine Beerten|
|© Ine Beeten - Quote from Alice in Wonderland, Hand Lettered|
|Artist Karma Voce|
© Karma Voce - Vintage Playground, GTS Competition Entry
|Artist Kat Kalindi Cameron|
|© Kat Kalindi Cameron|
|Artist Katy Tanis|
|© Katy Tanis - Bear|
|Artist Miriam Bos|
|© Miriam Bos - Girls Want to Have Fun|
|Artist Neiko NG|
|© Neiko NG|
|Artist Victoria Weiss|
|© Victoria Weiss - Journal|
|Artist Zoe Ingram|
|© Zoe Ingram - Folk Birds|