Tim Stone/Liz Longo Collaboration
Over the past year, Chicago studio artist Tim Stone and I have been working on a collaborative project. The initial idea was simply an excuse to spend more time together outside of our busy workplace.
Tim and I share a love of caffeine, gory detective shows, and the Chicago food scene. Working on a project together at my apartment seemed like the perfect way to be productive while indulging in these vices!
From there we were faced with the considerable challenge of finding a way to merge our vastly different styles into a cohesive project. From our output to our process, we are complete creative opposites.
Tim is an abstract artist, and my training is in scientific illustration.
Tim’s pieces evolve and change from beginning to end, and his process is what shapes the end result. He engages with his audience, enjoying the interplay between his intention and the viewers’ perception.
My inspiration comes from specific memories that appear in my mind as detailed scenes, which I then try to accurately depict. The work is all about personal narrative, which may or may not be translated to the viewer.
Tim is much more flexible in his practice. He’s able to focus in the open and social environment of our studio, and frequently collaborates with other artists.
My own process is extremely private, I usually work alone in the middle of the night. This project is my first intensive collaboration with another visual artist.
After thinking for some time, I approached Tim with the idea of him painting on bones to be displayed together with my illustrations of a wilderness encounter. Having Tim work with items that appear to have come directly out of the scene into the three dimensional world seemed like a unique way to merge our approaches while allowing both of us to work individually in our preferred way.
As a scientific illustrator, my house is full of collected bones, skulls, and antlers. This can throw some people off, and I was initially concerned that Tim would be hesitant to work with such raw natural items.
Instead, Tim surprised me by saying, “Liz, come on. Why would I think that was weird? Georgia O’Keefe, Pablo Alonzo, the Mexican Museum of Art…” and listed off extensive examples of artwork incorporating bones.
I’ve always been in awe of Tim’s talent, but I found myself surprised at how seamlessly our art blended. Not only aesthetically, but conceptually. Tim’s treatment of the bones amplifies the primal emotions we feel when coming close to the natural world, which is at the basis of my illustrations for the project.
After a full year of monthly work sessions (and countless dirty chai lattes and X-Files episodes later) we will be exhibiting the first phase of our collaborative project at The Arts of Life’s annual “How We Make It” exhibition. The show will be held at our Chicago Studio beginning April 25th and feature the work of our volunteers and staff members.
It seems like a perfect fit to premiere this project at an event that celebrates our community. Our collaboration had nothing to do with disability, and everything to do with the unique relationship we’ve developed through being co-workers at The Arts of Life.
Working together with Tim, I was able to open up and truly share my creative process with someone for the first time. As Tim says, “We have a very special friendship. We trust each other a lot and have a very strong friendship that is strengthened by our art.”