Sunday, January 29, 2012

On art, literature & collaboration



I recently read Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's YA novel, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List (sophisticated, witty, poignant). I picked it up at SCBWI-LA Writer's Day last spring, where Rachel Cohn spoke about how she and David Levithan tag team wrote this book, as well their earlier novel, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Their process involved writing alternating chapters from the various POVs of their characters.

Now, I'm reading Why We Broke Up, the new YA novel by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), with art by Maira Kalman. I'm captivated by the story, the characters - and the art. A different form of collaboration, obviously, from that of Cohn and Levithan's, but in this case, Kalman's art brings a rich added dimension to the story. I'm a huge fan of Maira Kalman, who has illustrated several books and New Yorker covers, wrote two illustrated blogs for the New York Times, and whose marvelous 2010/2011 exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center I wrote about here.

A few days ago, I sat in on a writing session with two other journalists as we tossed ideas around and argued about word choice and syntax. All of this to say - I'm intrigued by the idea of collaborating on a major writing project, and would love to try it some day.

I'm constantly juggling my passions for art and literature, and try to marry the two by writing about art. Los Angeles is a great place for an art critic to be right now. Pacific Standard Time, the collaborative (there's that term again) retrospective of more than 60 cultural institutions celebrating the evolution of the Los Angeles art scene, began in October, and I've been going to a lot of art exhibits.  Here's a link to my most recent article published in WhiteHot Magazine of Contemporary Art - a review of Lisa Adams' exhibit, Paradise Notwithstanding at CB1 Gallery, and an interview with the artist.

If you've had any experience collaborating on a creative project, I'd love to know about it - negative or positive. Please share.

4 comments:

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

Whenever I collaborate, the other person betrays me to the art police.
Sincerely,
Le Resistance

Bill Kirk said...

Nice blog, Megan. You're keeping busy. Collaboration can be like the girl with the curl. When the partners work well together, it can be great. Otherwise... horrid.

Barbara Watson said...

I haven't collaborated but can imagine how difficult it could be but how wonderful if things click with those working together.

It's great to hear what you've been doing too. I love the personal update posts.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Lisa and Laura Rocker wrote Liar Society together. I don't know if they switched off chapter by chapter, but it's a fun read.

I'm collaborating on a picture book right now. I'm not sure if we are doing it "right." But I think when we get to the finished product we will have a good one. :)