Apr 6, 2010

Collaboration is tricky for branding

Well, tomorrow is the end of a special project that I am apart of called Kollaboration Kingston. There's 16 artists working on several projects in small, medium and large scale works of art in all mediums to be shown at the Sandra Whitton Gallery for the month of May. It's been a truly amazing experience in many ways and I can't wait to see the outcome. (to read more about the project go the blog http://kollaborationkingston.blogspot.com/)

What I really found interesting about this project though is not the works of art being produced, but rather, the concept of collaboration and what it means to others and how it works too.

One of my main observations is that collaboration is easy for emerging artists and it's easy and inspiring for established artists. I think it's easy for emerging artists (and new entreprneuers in general too) because they (insert we, as I'm in this category too) haven't developed a hard core clientelle yet. We haven't branded ourselves yet, we still developing that. We still often venture all over the map, trying to find our niche and therefore we are willing to collaborate with anyone on anything, with hopes it may lead us down the path of success. Plus we are still in learning mode.

For established artists (and established businesses too) collaboration is a necessity to feed inspiration. They have been doing this long enough that they need to spice it up a bit. And they have such a dedicated following and clientelle now they don't have to worry about their brand. Their customers will be intrigued and follow them anywhere.

So, that leaves the mid-career artists and entrepreneurs, the ones stuck in isolation. They have struggled to find meaningful collaborations (from my view anyways) as they are at the point in their career that really defines them as an artist. They have a following, but still need to nuture them a bit. They have proven they know their art form, but still risk looking amateur. So collaborations can be very risky for them at this point in their career. What a hard place to be. The good news is that soon they will be so amazing they will all be established artists, with a diehard fan base and need the inspiration of collaboration.

My goal? Go from emerging to established... can it be done?