Three-part collaboration (artist, writer, stranger)

Three-part collaboration (artist, writer, stranger)
Three-part collaboration (artist, writer, stranger)
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The concept is utterly simple, bordering on brilliant and spectacularly smile-inducing. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Draw a squiggle.
Step 2. Suggest a subject.
Step 3: An artist draws a picture of your subject using the squiggle.
Step 4: A writer writes about the picture.

 

The artist and writer in question are, respectively, Matt Lively and his longtime friend Janet Freisner. Five days a week (they take weekends off) a stranger provides them with a squiggle and a subject. After Matt makes his drawing, Freisner adds the written component, which through the years has taken the form of captions, limericks, obituaries, diary entries, song lyrics, book jacket blurbs and more.

A recent example showing the original squggle (left), Matt's drawing & Janet's writing.

A recent example showing the original squggle (left), Matt’s drawing & Janet’s writing.

The two post every squiggle – now numbering more than 500 – on their popular blogspot, “Squiggle This.”

 

Rather than taking the expected route of illustrating existing words, Lively likes the “backwards” nature of the process. He also likes that “the person who sets off the creative process [the stranger] a minute ago was not interested in it at all.”  As for Janet, she’s part of the project because it’s fun, plain and simple. “The collaboration is exciting to me,” she adds. “You think of writers as solitary people but this is not at all a solitary thing. This is very much a collaboration between the squiggle maker, Matt and me.”

 

A painting from the show at Quirk thru 6/28.

A painting from the show at Quirk thru 6/28.

A book of squiggles – “Art 180 Squiggles: Grandma’s Big Breakfast & 99 Other Drawings” – is available for purchase at Quirk Gallery (sales benefit Art 180:)

 

“Very Sleepy River,” Matt’s show of new paintings inspired by the James River, at Quirk Gallery through June 28:

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