Two heads are better than one? Together we stand, separated we fall? Well, to combine information, to create something new, there must be a meeting of minds, a honest to good co-mingling of intelligences. If you are fortunate, good-will, celebration, and joy will be present also.We, the Paleo-Poet and RuthTruth, are at the beginning of our “shared” creative journey. We are co-creating MEMEs in the form of art and science. Yes! There is a lot of uncertainty. How to merge? We are separate beings, with entirely separate ideas. We had the good fortune of meeting each other late in life—we were both 40-something, so we were well-defined individuals!
(The above photo shows RuthTruth with her beloved PaleoPoet, who read his deep and meaningful humorous paleopoetry at the 2009 Valentine Follies hosted by Theatre on the Prowl at Sycamore Place Gallery in Decatur. Notice that RuthTruth is wearing an ammonite around her neck. Life couldn't be better when one is celebrating the Paleo Past!)
Our roughing out the PLAN began on Valentine’s Day 2010. It was the PalePoet’s sweetheart’s gift to me. We would brainstorm our ideas for the 2011 Darwin exhibit at Fernbank Museum. At this time, I was counting on him to be the SCIENTIST, and I would be the INTUITIVE VISIONARY—“seeing” the way our collaboration might go. But the PaleoPoet is more than a scientist—my husband is also a skilled artist who can draw anything he wants, and everyone will stand back viewing his creation with stunned appreciation! Whew!
Earnest in mapping out a creative plan, we succeeded in outlining 7 engaging ideas. Yet there was an underlying dis-EASE. Who would do what, what media would we use, how could we present this creative collaboration to the public without spending our small academic salaries on expensive framing?
That was cold February 14. Fast forward 6 months and we found ourselves in the heart of hot July. In addition to his academic responsibilities at Emory, the PaleoPoet had completed writing his book, “Life Traces of the Georgia Coast,” written and filmed “Major Transitions in Evolution,” a DVD course with The Teaching Company, and done his Great Cretaceous Walk in southeastern Australia along the Victoria coast for a month. He was well engaged in illustrating the figures for his book. During the same time, RuthTruth had blogged weekly on “Coffee with Hallelujah” exploring the creative process by making art daily—no matter what! Guided and celebrated teenage refugee artists from the Global Village School at Mingei for Decatur’s annual Art Walk. Joyfully assisted the PaleoPoet in his Australian fieldwork for a week, viewed contemporary art at the 17th Art Biennale in Sydney, and artistically studied dinosaurs and mega fauna in the outback of Queensland. Along with her art hurrahs, by mid-July, RuthTruth was teaching Korean executives in a month long intensive English program in Georgia Tech’s College of Management.
(The two photos below show the PaleoPoet studying the fossil fish traces in a garage facility where the fossils are stored at Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming. Notice on the table is the acetate with the fossil fish traces. We are using these markings to make our collaborative art! You also see RuthTruth, who is taking a break from documenting the PaleoPoet and her own work on a story about a Bahamian Hutia!)
In the midst of ALL the above, PaleoPoet and RuthTruth delved into deciding which collaborative piece to begin with—a fossil fish trace. We decided to use the “footprint” of the original trace that Tony had sketched on acetate in July 2008. Graphically, it is visually interesting and lends itself to a beautiful painting—one that will draw viewers in and then knock their socks off when they learn of the origin of the graphic! Two four-foot long boards are purchased at Lowes. We sanded, primed, and gessoed these boards. This preliminary work devoured my art making space at our dining room table. Rolls of photographs and plastic, boards, paintbrushes, cans of paint and newspapers were everywhere. Chaos?
I could not proceed with Hallelujah Truth’s daily art making practice (no matter what); we were without a place to eat our meals. The collaboration of RuthTruth and PaleoPoet required a workspace expansion. At the beginning of September, we signed a lease for studio space at Sycamore Place Gallery in Decatur—delightfully located a 10-minute bike ride from where we live and next to Fellini’s, a place that sells 7 dollar pitchers of good beer along with tasty pizza slices. Collaboration couldn’t look better for MEME GENERATION!
(Behold our studio space at Sycamore Place Gallery in Decatur! We love the quality of light and the possibilities this space offers our meme making future. The PaleoPoet poses above with Sylvia Cross, artist extraordinaire and gallery owner and operator. Please note that the PaleoPoet is wearing a Ray Troll shirt, "The Data is in the Strata." We are intense fans of Ray Troll's scientific artwork made easily available to all of us on too-cool t-shirts.)