Poems Paired with Paintings

Painting of transparent icebergs in a lake


Recently some of my paintings were paired wih poetry by The Paris Review and The Storialist. I had been featured on a popular art blog called Booooooom which lead to my images being picked up by a number of other blogs, including one of my fave art blogs called The Jealous Curator. The Storialist's blog sparked my interest in particular. She writes a poem each day inspired by a piece of art or an image, and in this case she chose my painting (pictured above) called Two Icebergs Falling in Love. I was flattered to be included in The Storialist project but also it was really great to correspond with Hannah Stephenson (aka The Storialist) over email and get introduced to her beautiful writing. I guess I never realized how easy it might be to connect with people in a collaborative spirit over the internet.


Here is Hannah Stephenson's poem inspired by the painting above:


Fresh Air

Calm down, it’s not a net 
around you, it’s a tent.

The flap is right here,
step outside if you need 

fresh air, for this place 
to spritz you with air

straight from a pine tree’s
mouth. Thunder’s ok,

rain is ok, that’s what 
the tent is for, remember.

Don’t confuse shelter with
trap, the mountains are

all around, and the grass
is still soft on either side

of the path that you sidled
down when you came to us

this morning. Last year, 
I mean. Whenever, it’s

summer here and winter
elsewhere, simultaneously,

anyway. Looking back, who 
knows what you’ll think.



I was really inspired by this connection and collaborative experience. Normally I work alone and I can easily go an entire day without talking to anyone. The more dedicated I have become to my craft the more isolated I find myself throughout my day-to-day activities. This isolation can be a strength - as I dedicate more time to improving my skills and developing my style.


 Quote from Henry Miller: An artist is always alone - if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness.


I opt out of nights on the town or dinners with friends and, instead, stay in studio considering the content of my work. The achilles heel of the situation is perhaps all-too-familiar to some of you - if you have questions, doubts or fears there is no one to debate them, someone to offer suggestions or support. Simple collaborative experiences can enlighten me and help me to understand my work in a different way. 


I am inspired, and perhaps a little baffled, by artists who can collaborate on such a level that they are actually creating art together - though I am not sure how common that situation is. The work of Kozyndan has always intrigued me - I often try to figure out which part of the painting was created by which member of this married couple who have become relatively famous for their extensive collaborative visual art. I imagine that they really enjoy their process together! Here is a great quote on the benefit of collaboration from Matthew Dalziel of the Scottish artist collaboration Dalziel & Scullion:


"The most liberating thing is breaking away from that myth of the artist as 'special unique individual' - the solitary Kafka-like personality working away on their own and in suffering... it is far more enjoyable to discuss ideas with someone who has also invested in the work..."

Image source [1]

Image source [2]

Written by: rebecca chaperon
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