In my Blog 17: Collaboration- an artist’s superpower, I talked mainly about the benefits of collaboration and how it’s an essential tool to serve more and better art, and that collaboration is not about art, it’s about the art!
In this blog, I’ll try to define it as clearly as possible – What is collaboration. And also very importantly, what and when it is not a collaboration and also how to collaborate or in other words what are the few things you must keep in mind when you want to collaborate with other artists.
Of course the ‘what is’ and the ‘what not’ itself will make you approach collaboration in the right way!
Let’s begin with ‘what is’.
What is a collaboration?
Collaboration is an act of creating/making art together with fellow artists whose intentions align (i.e, to make a unique and the most heart-moving art piece), or if the intentions aren’t matched, it’s an act where there are almost equal takeaways for each artist that belonged to that collaboration. And the takeaway might be in the form of learning, exposure to a vast audience, or money.
In simple words, Collaboration is a win-win strategy that artists use to make more and better art.
When I say ‘better’ art, I mean it is more unique.
When it is not a collaboration?
I already talked in my previous blog about how collaboration can be used to make more and better art. In this blog, however, I want to focus on the ‘win-win’. See, that’s a very essential part of a collaboration. If that’s not the way any collaboration is working, then it’s not a collaboration. It is not a collaboration if it is a win-lose or a lose-win strategy.
A win-lose or lose-win strategy is simply an act of manipulation by one of the participants.
Questlove in his book the Creative Quest says – ” Collaboration work best this way when there’s a mutual desire to see what the other side adds. You know that what you’re making on your own has value, but the sum is more than the parts, and every part knows it”
Think about it, reflect!
So whenever you’re getting into a collaboration, ensure it’s a win-win scenario.
When you are the inviter for collaboration, have the intention to ensure the satisfaction of all the participants. Your invite to the collaboration should help the invited participants as much as it helped you!
When you are an invitee to a collaboration, beware of hack-minded people who may pull an act of manipulation and push you into a lose-win scenario and you gain nothing (subjectively) out of it! Try to negotiate politely for your choice of benefit – more creative freedom in the project, or financial compensation for your time!
I say this because, I’ve experienced collaboration in these angles, win-win scenarios, and lose-win scenarios. You get people who ask you to make a violin cover over their vocal tracks for nothing. I mean, there’s no creative freedom and control there, because the main track is already done and no financial compensation in the name of ‘collaboration’ nor do they upload it to a YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers or so to speak of so-called ‘exposure’. It’s just manipulation, taking advantage of the artist.
And if someone is asking for an instrumental cover on their tracks, it clearly means they only require the skill of playing that particular instrument from you. But that’s not who an artist is. An artist is not just a skilled laborer. I spoke about it in detail in my Blog 19: Are you truly an artist?.
An artist is one who is skilled, creates something original or let’s say very unique that it seems original, and then shares it with people, it is his way of serving people, An artist’s way!
If you need an artist, collaborate! If you need skilled laborers, hire! It’s as simple as that!
Sanath Kumar Naibhi