Warhol, Basquiat & The Power Of Collaboration In Your Life

Andy Warhol & Jean Michel Basquiat

Collaboration can be a way to synergize, expand, explore or just plain start making your endeavors- awful or otherwise-  larger than they are now.  Basquiat & Warhol famously collaborated, and although academics and critics like to say these are “less important” works at times, I defy that notion by saying this collaboration in art signaled a new, modern way of creating legends and promoting visions.  A collaboration- or even contemplating one- today could be the thing that takes your work in any field to the next level.

Andy Warhol & Jean Michel Basquiat

Lets look at Warhol and Basquiat.  Although Warhol was “minted” and established long before Basquiat “arrived” in the art world in New York, Basquiat found a mentor in many ways in Warhol, and Warhol saw an opportunity to push a boundary in the “acceptable” canon of the art market by fusing their distinct styles and personalities in mostly giant canvases.  Neither “had” to do this to get attention or to succeed, but both gained in blending their ways.

Andy Warhol & Jean Michel Basquiat

It was a brief time in the course of art history, but as many of Andy Warhol’s ideas, like the very revolutionary notion that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes in the future (and thanks to reality TV and You Tube, this is very possible!), collaboration opened the door for the world to react.  Decades later, musical artist collaborations amongst legends (Jay Z &  Kanye, anyone?) have become a new standard of iconic success.  Modern filmmaking has become artist collaboration on a high.  Magazines, books, blogs… even Oprah’s fortune has been built on her inclusion and collaboration with so many more geniuses along the way.  The notion that success happens in a box and that we are plucked out and rise to the top rarely happens without collaboration along the way.

Andy Warhol & Jean Michel Basquiat

So, how to use this idea in your own artistic or business life?  First of all, you have to have a solid sense of what you are all about.  You can’t collaborate if you don’t have a style, a brand or a product.  Without a great sense of what you bring to the table, you have nothing to  bring to the table.  So, if you find you can’t articulate this well, its a good starting place.  What is your mission, your flavor, your purpose and your product? Can you build on that and are you willing to develop it?

Now, who do you work with? If you are already there, and you know what you have to give… who is your contrast or your interest?  It could be your greatest “competition” or your idol, your friends in contrasting fields or someone who can fill in the missing blanks you can’t fill in yourself.  We all can’t do everything brilliantly, so who has what you need?

And, what do you do together? Whats the project that can be a perfect collaboration? If you are trying to convince someone to jump on your creative train, what’s in it for them? How can it help you both?

Ideas to think about, especially since this world is being increasingly build by collaboration. Now, it global collaboration on a societal level, and personal collaboration on a daily basis, that forms the new “networks” of life.  Think about it.  Just thinking about it can re-energize or jump start a new perspective that leads you to a masterpiece! xoxo Dana

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