Some creative minds don’t need to collaborate with anyone. There are and have been artists that work best (and only) by themselves, unhindered by competing voices or creative partners.
These are the minority.
They are the J.D. Salingers, the Jackson Pollocks, the Thomas Pynchons of art. Their imaginations are world-creating, their influence is inestimable and their media presence is zilch. Let’s not mince words: they are freaks of nature. With the benefit of hindsight it’s tempting to claim that they became artists because that was how it must be, and despite the funny way life unfolds it seems there was nothing “Syd” Barrett could have done with his life besides music, nothing on this earth for Vincent Van Gogh but the pen and brush. It’s not a coincidence that many of these people were obsessive about their work, idiosyncratic to the point of strangeness and tortured by personal demons. Edgar Degas acknowledged “the moods of sadness that come over anyone who takes up art,” and said further that “these dismal moods have very little compensation.” Maybe it is that art is too revealing a reflection, that by creating art one is looking too staunchly into the abyss of oneself. But this has become a slippery digression: I want merely to point out that many of these artistic powerhouses lived out their personal lives as quietly as possible, not seeking out collaboration or praise from their peers or audience.
Let’s get something else clear: I am not one of the people I am describing. And I can say with some amount of confidence that the guys I work with aren’t, either. In fact most people don’t fall into this category, and that’s not a bad thing. If everyone was Harper Lee we would all pump out one kick-ass product and then disappear forever. Nobody would be around to design infrastructure, or educate our young people, or craft important political policy.
That last one is a bad example.
My point is that the majority of successful creative endeavors thrive on collaboration, and some exist only because someone decided they needed a fresh angle on an original idea. It is not just that collaboration is good but that sometimes it is necessary, especially when the artistic and business spheres overlap. Anyone who’s ever produced a film did so with the help and talents of a crew, anyone who’s published a graphic novel did so with the aid of writers, inkers and editors. That’s what we at Imaginos Workshop are: a collaboration of creative minds, viewing the same sculpture from many different angles. What I see in a project is not necessarily what Mark sees, but somewhere in the middle might be a stronger story than either one of us had imagined. Sometimes there are clashes, sure, but ultimately collaboration keeps you honest. Get bricks thrown at you long enough and eventually you start building better walls.