Recently I’ve been really into the work of Paul Madonna, an artist whose series of drawings and prints, ‘All Over Coffee,’ has incorporated short, stunning fiction and nonfiction by a number of writers I happen to love.
It’s got me thinking about collaboration. “[Each writer and I] make at least two pieces,” Madonna writes in his statement. “One where I make an image then present it to them to write for, the second where they write a story and I respond with a drawing. …The relationship between text and image is not meant to be literal, and so I asked that the writers think about the images as visual metaphors rather than direct illustrations.” The result? The narrative in each piece of writing is given a visual space to live that changes its context, elicits a different kind of feeling from the reader than it would on its own; meanwhile, each image becomes more complex too, as the site of a thought or memory.
In working on assembling IR’s winter issue, we’ve looked over a number of artists’ work. Although none of what we’ve seen has contained words within the actual image, the juxtaposition of visual art beside the poems and stories we publish inevitably gives both the image and the writing beside it new meaning. It’s an inspiring thing about literary journals, I think: The whole will always be greater than the sum of its parts because it contains the links between them.
Do you have a favorite collaborative team? Have you ever collaborated with another writer, an artist, a musician?