Collaborating with Roshan

Day 1 of our collaboration, on my studio wall.
When I was looking for an artist to work with, I didn't have a particular vision of how what the process of collaboration might be. I've avoided making work with anyone else because I couldn't imagine how it could work for me - partly because I make single pieces that relate to the next piece I'm making, for example a sculpture that will form part of a set of similar size pieces to make up an installation; and also because I enjoy the physical process of making too much to want to share it - even the drudgery like sanding or undercoating is soothing and allows the mind the wander.

Also it's an ego thing - I'm used to the artworks originating in my imagination, in identifying the forms and inspiration that lurk there and teasing them out till they are clear enough to become real, so I couldn't iagine how this could be helped by having two people trying to imagine the same work.

To start with, Roshan and I had to get to understand each other as artists and people, apart from becoming familiar with each others' practises and works. We identified common threds such as a fascination with what the 'colour' black can do and mean, how to depict movement in drawing, drawing funny things.

There is something new and unfamiliar to me about a prolonged conversation in written form; because I'm from an older generation it seems to me like passing notes in the back of class, quick, intimate, haphazard, full of spelling mistakes, sudden silences, rushes of ideas. In this manner a template for our working emerged, the idea that we could begin with an image and make suggestions to each other about what to do next. For example, Roshan suggested I look at Joseph Kosuth, who places a hyper-real painitng of an object next to the object itself. In displays of his drawimgs and paintings I liked the way Roshan had put a black oil can, so I painted my work shoes black and placed them on a little plinth next to a photo I as painting. Roshan has enjoyed the correspondence of colour and form that chimes with his istallations, and it has become a motif in our installations.

I took the idea of using text fom him too - I've never tried to put any kind of writing anywhere near my work, but it was immensely liberating to write out scraps of our chat, and to use the framing device of the round-cornered boxes of Instagram to present scraps of ides that suggest a longer talk.

Both of us have found this way of working very exciting and stimulating, and capable of generating unexpected possibilites of working, both together and in our own ways.

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