Friday, February 11, 2011

Ray Johnson, Mary Jane Jacob and the Collaborative Process

     Ray Johnson, a contemporary artist of his time left behind a legacy. Known for his intricate and indulging collages, Ray Johnson is also known as one of if not the pioneer of mail artist. According to the documentary How to Draw a Bunny  Ray Johnson had multiple personalities which made it very difficult for all who came into contact with him to truly define him as someone they knew very well. Nevertheless, he was very creative and passionate about art and lived all his life making art and sharing it with others. As and artist, Ray was very well connected with his fellow artist in one way or the other and collaborated with them directly or indirectly. I believe it is through this collaborative process that his unique works still leaves today.

     I find its very inspiring as an upcoming artist, that in fact one can leave a life full of passion for one's profession as Ray Johnson did. He made more prints that anything considering the amount of art work found his house before he committed suicide. The irony of his death, the stories and memories he left in the minds and hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing him in of its self can be seen as art. Ray Johnson's life was a performance art as explain by Stephen Perkins at his WC Gallery   in De Pere, Wisconsin.  Having had  his fair share and experience with Ray,  he believed his suicide should be seen as the last performing art of Ray Johnson. As sad as his death might have seemed we can all agree that it was well thought out and ended the way he had planned for himself. On one hand Ray Johnson was a strong self motivated artist who work carry with it strong thought provoking messages but yet very unique and somehow childish look whiles on the other hand he was a lonely, and unhappy man.

    After listening to Mary Jane Jacob and her talk on collaboration, I couldn't help but think about my collaborative process as I work on my senior project. in she speech she did address four important points that helps or works in favor off a collaborative process especially if it involves and outside world. In order of importance she lists observation, co-generation, action, and integration. From personal experience dealing with people who consider you as an outsider, it is very important even if you are from there but leaving outside the country or town in this case to step aside and observe how things are done before jumping in to offer solution or advice. In such case there will be less of a resistance as you take time to reassess your approach.

I think co-generation, action and integration can works together since it all tends to address the issue of incorporation of one's audience in equally to achieve whatever it is that you as the artist works towards. As Mrs. Jacob talks about her project Places with a Past and how the had to engage the community to which in turn help them to successfully achieve their aim of making Charleston a place with history and painful emotions become a place of healing for the community and the artist themselves.

   One thing I also noticed with Mrs. Jacob was how she relates her work closely  with her religion. Her Buddhism beliefs are very much a part of even how she views art and curatorial work. It was all about faith and experience one encounters with an art work something I realized after several discussion forums with her. It was a privilege having someone very influential and  experience to come talk to us as we seek career goals and aspirations