September 10, 2018

A Thought or Two: Relationality in Art

I've felt this heavy shift in the last half of a year. Heavy in the good, planets shifting, mind bending kind of way.

My research and work is in relational caring, relational philosophies for working with persons with dementia. The theories resonate with me, they parallel something deep down in my psyche that I've not ever been able to put words to until now.

Relationality is how I live my life.
My relationships are a central part of my life, organically, naturally, always.
I thrive when I'm connected with others. I have a suspicion that this is how all humans thrive. So do all the relational theorists!

So how has this changed my art practice?
I still enjoy a good hours-long paint session, with good music, just me and my materials and ideas.
But I get a much bigger kick out of making art collectively, collaboratively. At work with my seniors, I work side by side or in collaboration with people all day. It's a freeing space, it lets relationships flow and grow. 

Knowing how good it feels at work to be in connection with others while making art and being creative, it made me wonder how I could translate this to my art practice. For one, I've been trying to make art with friends when we spend time together! For another, I've been re-reading all of my art school materials on relational aesthetics, thinking about how to make it a reality with my skillset.

In May I facilitated an interactive collage installation at an arts and music event. It was a total dream come true to have people come up to my collage wall, with their collage materials in hand, so excited to contribute to the collaborative collage pieces. We made 4 very colourful, bedazzled, and fascinating pieces. I loved watching people make collage decisions I never would have thought of, watching people pair things together or fold things or cut things a certain way. It was beautiful and I can still feel the high of it when I think back to the event.

I want to do this again. And again. And again. I want to make art with people indefinitely and always. It's a beautiful and healing and magical.

So, here's to relationality in art, and artwork becoming less competitive and ego driven - instead, community minded!


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