Artistic Collaboration

This week, I listened to The Collaborative Habit by Twyla Tharp and there were just too many good points raised, I just had to share it here!

I was originally going to read/listen to Tharp's other book The Creative Habit, but it cost more than her book on collaboration. Ha ha ha, yeah I'm cheap, so I listened to this book first. Turns out, I really enjoyed her writing! I'm definitely going to pick up The Creative Habit and write a post about it on Dartily.

I think what makes her writing style so great is her ability to balance storytelling, examples/case studies, and clear lists. She is a choreographer so her medium is different than mine but she made her points completely transferable between media. It was a really inspiring book and had many points that resonated with me. Here's some ideas that stood out:

  • Tell your audience what to expect.
  • In collaborations: respectful, 2.check your ego, 3.provide constructive feedback, 4.introduce openly so everyone's best comes out, clear about the goal and shared mission, 6.make a clear plan as to everyone's responsibilities including the schedule
  • If your collaborator hits a bump don't jump in to solve it. Give them the time and space to figure it out and instead focus on your contribution.
  • The audience can handle originality. They can be challenged to accept something new.
  • If you let the audience in on the background/process then they become a collaborator.
  • She references Leo Tolstoy. Bad art=makes us feel alone, Good art= promotes feelings of brotherhood
  • Collaboration can be internal by listening to others then having a conversation with yourself.
  • Fight for what feels true and authentic
  • Quality work doesn't come from factors like price and audience alone. 
  • She applies evolution to art stating that the strongest artists are those adaptable to change.

Oh and then there was this interesting statement she made that our eyes burn 1/3 of our daily calories through looking, moving, blinking, opening etc... Couldn't find any support on that one but it's interesting to take a moment to focus on how much our eyes move and the information they take in. The eyes really are always working.