PoArtry: Round 2

Create and Share with the World, a cliche I co-opted from a commentator on the Playstation 2 Game NBA Street 2. For all it’s misplaced addition to the world of street basketball, it is one that I’ve held dear ever since. One that drives me to seek out collaborative spaces and opportunities.

With PoArtry I would be randomly paired with an artist then given three months to create a piece of poetry based on one of their existing works and vice versa. A 10 day exhibition would take place which included a dedicated poetry reading. I’ve now entered two of these projects, the latter which finished on 10th February 2020 being tied into a literature festival.

The beauty and ugliness of art is laid bare by the fluidity of interpretation. I can honestly say that I did not know what to expect when I was paired with either artist. Both were stylistic wildcards that meshed with my contrarian tendencies. I was therefore excited when I started to rifle through their work.

Although both artists took the same approach in picking elements from my poems rather than focusing on the larger concepts, they yielded rather different results. Some may say this is to be expected because people are people. What happens when the artist’s explanation of their output runs in opposition to the poet’s convictions or vice versa? Do you acknowledge the piece for what it is or try to change the narrative?

When I consider how Derek who interpreted my poem described it, there is a delicious irony in the contrast between my message and real life vs the illustration in which I could easily be the villain of the piece.

I choose to let art be art. I choose to find common ground between the truths I subscribe to and those of others. As I learn, I find new streams of inspiration.

I challenged myself to submit to the art rather than make the art bend to my penmanship. I hoped that this time, the longest conversation wouldn’t just be at the initial stages of pairing or selection of work to use. I hoped that the artist wouldn’t just give me a polite hello on the launch night but (to this day) never acknowledge my contribution to the collaboration.

I wonder if things would have turned out differently had we had meatier conversations. It’s possible that everything or maybe nothing would have changed.

Ultimately I wrote two poems and inspired a piece of art that went on sale for £450. To buy all 3 pieces of art would have cost you close to £1200. The feedback from both Derek and others was incredibly positive. Although I wonder what a more traditional artist would create from my work, I am more than happy with what was done and hope to do many more.

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