Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

I’m honored to be participating in the upcoming exhibit, Inspiring Change for the Climate Crisis, curated by Adriana G. Prat, at the Arthaus Art Gallery in Allston. For those of you local to the area, opening reception will be July 28, 6:30-8:30, with wine, refreshments and live music. Hope to see you there!

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On view as you enter the front door.

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When Steve tapered the legs of the dining room table he made by hand this pandemic season … I gardened, he made furniture … these pieces of wood were left behind. Now he told me about these pieces before I actually saw them and said, “I can turn them into a fan for you to do something with. I just need to get the right bolt.” “You mean like a Japanese fan?” He shrugged. “Yeah, more or less.” And I exclaimed with glee, “Yes, make that and we’ll hang it on the wall.”

Given that I don’t work with wood yet and he can’t read my mind yet, we each merrily traveled down a mental path completely unaware that we were not on the same page. He made the fan, 9 pieces bolted together and because of the nature of the design they have to hang down and not up as I had imagined in my head. And while I thought it was a totally him piece … his creation … he seemed stuck on this idea of collaboration. Well, I do declare. “You can stain it like you did the table,” I said. He nodded slowly then said, “But I think a watercolor wash might be better. That’s just me.” And for an eternity … actually only a few moments … we went back and forth. Finally I threw up my hands in exasperation. “Okay, mister, I’ve got some watercolors somewhere. What’s your vision?” He shrugged. “I don’t have one. You’re the artist.” He walked away as I semi-glared.

And then I began to play …

… knowing that nothing would be perfect and that I was learning along the way.

There are nine leaves to the fan. I began to think of the leaves as nine opportunities to tell a story or vignette. I think that is how I will handle such an opportunity in the future.

Watercolor on wood. You can’t get much more ephemeral so who knows I may use these same thin pieces again one day. But this fan can stay as it is for a bit because a certain someone is beginning to work on a new table. A much smaller table. We’ll see what falls by the wayside this time for our next collaboration. Be well,everyone. 🙂

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the completed trough

Nope, that is not the opening to one of my fairly gentle political posts. Just breathe. Those are the words I repeat to myself the night before I attempt to set up my first installation for the exhibit Peace: Cutting through Turmoil. My contribution to the show I guess I can say is a three dimensional representation of my artistic and emotional experiences after chancing upon 1930’s Federal Writers’ Project slave narratives in the public library, and then later reading more narratives online. It was a short paragraph that set me on this path, a recount of childhood memories of eating from a trough with a mussel shell. Shells pulled from the branches …


What I am creating is ephemeral. Paper, prints, words produced to physically be on display for a little less than a month. A contribution that I think will be part of a powerful whole when viewed in the company of the works by the other participants who have esteemed careers in the arts. I feel a bit like the new kid on the block. A little scary but freeing too.


It will be an assemblage of pieces and parts, words and images, some culled from nature, some acquired collaboratively with the aid of friends. The least ephemeral of the whole is the trough. While he did let me hold a chisel or two, it was Steve who carved the trough for me using a fallen tree, and a pivotal tool, both shared by friends.



Shared by friends. No matter what happens with this project it has been a wonderful collaborative effort. I was even able to involve one of my littlest friends, aged 9 and going on 21, who agreed to hold a mussel shell for me.


Hmmm. What else is there to say? Before this night is done, I have a few more shells to drill holes in and string, and I still need to discuss with Steve how to hang … oops, I can’t tell you what I intend to hang or from what. At least not yet. Meanwhile, I just breathe. 🙂

Peace: Cutting through Turmoil

Brick Bottom Artists Gallery, Somerville, MA

Opening Reception Thursday June 8, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

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It is a unique collaboration of sorts, and not a collaboration that I will do with many people. But I think that Zoe Langosy and I have worked together for so many years in so many different ways, and always around the visual, that I trust her when she pulls me aside to show me something she’s tucked away because she saw it and thought of me and my photography.

No expectations around output just an instinct that this thing that she saw – a fallen leaf, a rock, and in this case a moth – might interest me and perhaps even empower me to stretch myself as a photographer using whatever tools I have at hand.

She likes to cut up my photography to use in her collage. I’m grateful that she finds whole objects to share with me in return.

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illustration by zoe langosy

illustration by zoe langosy

Pencil has met paper. Lines have been drawn. Soon images will be cut and painstakingly applied to a sensuous form. An original concept has evolved with the core idea the same — figures clothed by nature. My photography as the “fabric” in the hands of fashion illustrator Zoe Langosy.  Here’s a sneak peek at her current work in progress, a rendering of a Valentino dress to be collaged with three of my photos.

creative swatch by zoe langosy

creative swatch by zoe langosy

In her own words: What has surprised me about the evolution of this work is that the initial drawing was classical in its rendering in part because Valentino is so classical, his fashion prim and romantic.

illustration by zoe langosy

illustration by zoe langosy

But after the initial drawing which echoed that romantic sentiment, I lost interest and began a new drawing, one more dynamic and sensual. The wonderful challenge for me is to use the Valentino dress in a different way, to take this beautiful classical garment by a master designer, and render it with a darker edge that’s more inline with my own artistic style.

photo courtesy of zoe langosy

The artist is at work, ladies and gentlemen. Stay tuned for future updates. New to this story of a unique collaboration?  Read more here: a new year and new collaborations and here fashion plus nature equals


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As artist Zoe Langosy and I move forward on a new collaboration, I follow her lead. And what a fabulous journey it is. I’m not the most stylish person on the block but even I know of Valentino, Alexander McQueen and a few other fashion makers out there. Zoe has introduced me to a part of the fashion world I knew little about, fashion illustration. It is amazing to me how an artist can translate the signature apparel of designers like Valentino into another medium that both promotes the original work of the designer and yet expresses the unique skills and vision of the illustrator. In this visual age there appears to be a renaissance taking place with regard to fashion illustration.  Many artists, many styles. Collage is Zoe’s medium of choice.

Creative Swatch by Zoe Langosy, pairing dress by Valentino with photographs by Cynthia Staples

I want her to write more about her creative process. How she can look at this dress by Valentino and then imagine collaging an illustration using my photos.  This is a creative swatch that she has put together to layout the pictures she intends to cut up. From top to bottom they are birch trees and grasses along the Mystic River, ice crystals on a window, and sunlight shining through an icicle.

Stay tuned for future updates!

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Kay Nielsen illustration for “The Story of a Mother” by Hans Christian Andersen

When I asked artist Zoe Langosy what she liked about this illustration by Kay Nielsen, she said, “I love the combination of nature and fashion that evokes a certain melancholy as well as beauty. A lone figure in a stark landscape, not unlike my own artwork as a fashion illustrator.  Decorative, yes, and through the decoration an emotion unveiled hinting at love, romance and most of all loss.” We weren’t sure at the time what story this work illustrated but even so “without any words embedded in the imagery is clearly a story.”  The viewing of this illustration has sparked a new collaboration — Zoe illustrating fashion collections using my nature images as part of her collage work.  Remember the Geishas? 😉

The Nielsen illustration was shared by friend, Donna Stenwall.  Donna, a former New England Regional Manager for Laura Ashley, remarked that she was drawn to the image because she has always loved winter scenes.  “This image looked so stormy, so desolate, and yet it was delicate and breathtakingly beautiful.  I was reminded of animation in the inherent motion on the page, this delicate female form, so dark in the white landscape with just a hint of caramel in her hair. Rather reminiscent of Zoe’s work.”

As we discussed collaboration, I shared with Zoe this image of evening light falling on marsh grasses. She didn’t react with her usual, “I can’t wait to cut this up!” Instead, she said, with raised eyebrow, “Can’t you imagine this as a Valentino wedding dress?” I can’t but she can and that’s the beauty of collaborating with this amazing artist. Stay tuned for updates on our progress!


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A friend recently asked me to photograph her moonstones.  As I wrapped up my photo shoot, I decided to submerge one of the stones in a glass of tap water.  That’s all that is … a rock beneath water.

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Spring/Summer Geisha, artwork by Zoe Langosy

Spring/Summer Geisha, artwork by Zoe Langosy

I feel like I was just complaining about how long the winter was and now spring is easing into summer.  That’s all the excuse I need to share this post from the past — Embodying Nature Through Collage — about a collaboration with artist Zoe Langosy who is one of the few people in the world encouraged to cut up my photos because she incorporates the pieces into such beauty, like this Spring/Summer Geisha.  Have a good weekend, folks, and here’s to having a good summer. 😉

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