Creative Guts! Celebrating Collaboration in a time of separation


Let's face it, collaborating in a time of social distancing isn't easy. Even when six-foot distancing isn't an issue, finding the time in our busy lives to collaborate and connect in a meaningful way can be complicated and time consuming. Despite all of that, the Creative Guts Podcast put forth a call for gutsy artists and creatives to submit works to their third zine that promotes and celebrates collaboration as a means for artistic connection.

The Derryfield School Lyceum Gallery was thrilled to connect AND collaborate with Creative Guts and offer this virtual gallery exhibition featuring collaborations between twenty different artists, writers, craftspeople, performers, and even bakers. Selected participants will be Zoomed into Derryfield visual arts classes this spring and will have the opportunity to share their creative process and even collaborate with the students on a remote lesson!

Creative Guts and the Lyceum Gallery hope that the zine and virtual exhibition might spark your creative connections and find unique ways in which you collaborate with a friend, family member, colleague, fellow artist, or even a stranger! Do you have the creative guts to collaborate? Tag #creativegutspodcast and #lyceumgallery and share your collaborations with us!

Laura Harper Lake & Sarah Wrightsman

Pairing the photography of Sarah and the digital photography collaging of Laura, this team of creatives produced lazily haunting pieces. The two photos reflect the dreams and pondering of another planet, inspired by how hiking can sometimes bring you to a place that feels not of this world. Aside from photography of New Hampshire landscapes, they also utilized commercial-free images from NASA.

Laura and Sarah are Co-Founders & Co-Hosts of the Creative Guts Podcast and Zine.

Laudable Lafayette, Photography & Digital Collage
Pulchritudinous Potash, Photography & Digital Collage
Bri Custer & Jennifer Lamontagne
Untitled No. 1, Mixed Media, 12” diameter

These compositions of paint and thread were created by Jennifer Lamontagne and Bri Custer for Dear So and So, a show celebrating collaboration in an innovative way, at Distillery Gallery, Boston in 2019. The work was traded back and forth over six months, gaining and losing bits from each artist along the way. A dialog formed through the process. Bri’s gouache was mixed in reaction to Jen’s compositions of fabric, and Jen’s stitches responded to Bri’s shapes in cut paper until they formed a single language. These embroidery-painting hybrids now are products of a conversation between two artists, a collision of two seemingly disparate media. Please email bri@bricuster.com for purchase inquiries.

67 Untitled No. 2, Mixed Media, 12” diameter
Shawna Crossman & Logan Ouellette

The collaborative pieces between Logan Ouellette and Shawna Crossman pits the clean, smooth, and graceful aspects of an aerial silk performance next to the dirty, rough, and chaotic setting in which these photographs were taken.

verte, Photograph, 18x12
Melissa Brennan & Marcia Wood Mertinooke

Ekphrasis is a type of visual art inspired by a literary work or vice versa. In this case, Melissa wrote a haiku-style poem and Marcia painted the image.

The poem tells the story of a woman starting a new life, how she handles its challenges and what she brings to her new home.

The painting depicts a pair of tea cups, a white rat, and block printed houses. The tea cups are a classic white china with a gold band symbolising tradition (china) and comfort (tea). The home silhouettes resemble Marcia’s childhood home in a repeated pattern -- a comment on how our first home is always with us and that we may live in many homes across our lifetimes. The rat takes center stage as the only named character, but also as symbolic of how our attitude towards change is entirely our own.

Ekphrasis 3 (poem) Melissa Brennan
Ekphrasis 3, 10” x10” Oil paint on cradled panel
Scott Baker & Mike Durkee

Our piece infuses Scott’s photography with Durkish Delights’ collage style hidden object art. It’s like a Where’s Waldo book but with photos from a world traveler meshed together with gritty, contrasted drawings and found images.

Late Nights in Yangjae, Digital collage (Click to Enlarge)
Marc Fournier & Amy MacMahon Hopkins

Amy and Marc are old friends going back to the 1990s at UNH. While neither pursued careers in art, both have taken up art as a hobby (Marc in sketching and painting, Amy with poetry) in the last few years. Amy’s poetry can be described as a blending of the natural world with the political and socio economic climate we are living in. Marc’s very eclectic — inspired both by scenic New England and by a 1970s and 1980s aesthetic. Marc and Amy chose this particular collaboration because the poem speaks to the underlying emotions of navigating the global COVID-19 pandemic for the past year, while the pastel painting of the Portsmouth Harbor Light represents both warning and safety. These concepts blend well together.

Excerpt from “CUE THE MOURNING” Amy MacMahon Hopkins
Cue the Mourning - Marc Fournier
Becky Barsi & Alison Palizzolo
A Violet Exchange Diptych, Mixed Media on Canvas 10x20

Artists Becky Barsi and Alison Palizzolo present a mixed-media collaboration that explores color, texture, and movement on a two-dimensional surface. The artists each approached a blank canvas and used their own creative techniques to activate the surface. The artists then exchanged the canvases and worked into each other’s design to create these wholly unique compositions. Palizzolo’s voluminous texture is overt and literal, while Barsi’s paper collage is communicated to the viewer more subtly.

Air Mail Exchange Diptych, Mixed Media on Canvas 10x20
Nicole Speidel & Sarah Thompson
Untitled, pen, ink, digital

This is a piece in which Nicole writes about her experiences on a bike. The musings that come from existing within the moment, so much, that it in turn becomes a place of healing and beautiful ideals. Stability in root, Wonder in the breeze, well being in wandering, being within the physical to a visceral point, yet it almost seems she has breached the thin veil of our physical realm allowing it to be dreamlike, though that magic is all from the self. I interpret these ideas through my own visual aesthetic using pen and ink, then play around with digital media.

Marnie Blair & Erin Boake
Our Daily Bread #6, Oil on Board, 8” x 8”, 2020

What began as a privileged act of staying home with the kids and making bread, quickly turned into a practice of making affordable art and a reliable source of income, for best friends Marnie Blair and Erin Boake.

Blair is a sessional faculty member at Red Deer College and Boake is the owner and operator of Artribute Art School, in Red Deer. The Red Deer artists have raised more than $1,800 in an online auction for paintings...of bread. With neither of them working outside of the home, Blair spontaneously decided she was going to take on a challenge — bake a loaf of bread every day for fourteen days. “It was totally a joke,” said Boake. Blair started sending pictures of her home-baked bread to Boake. That’s when Boake decided she wanted to pursue her own challenge. What started off as a joke quickly turned into a collaborative project and the connection they needed. The photographs exchanged between the two have become something to look forward to daily.

Measuring ingredients, kneading, proofing and baking with her five year old, Blair found solace in the kitchen with her child. She was among the many who found sanity in recipes for stillness by channeling anxious energy into the kitchen instead of the studio. Boake, the mother of a three year old and five year old, painted at night after the children were sleeping. A need to create and support from the community has kept the duo busy making more than fourteen.

All paintings have been purchased by women who support the project. The work has become a series of pandemic time capsules and the project has strengthened their friendship despite being apart. The series is at 42 works to date and will continue as long as we are in quarantine.

Our Daily Bread #17, Oil on Board, 8” x 8”, 2020
Elizabeth Lavoie & Haley Searcy
These Things Out Loud, Poetry

Our collaborative pieces explore our feelings surrounding climate change. As young adults, we feel frustrated that discussions around climate change are not as serious as they should be, and that sometimes we feel silenced by those who do not understand the importance of climate change and its impact on our lives. It is also a struggle to act in ways that will protect our earth and future generations because it feels as though every action is futile compared to the large corporations that cause so much damage to our planet, and the years and years of hurt our planet has endured from our society’s collective lack of knowledge. Though these things can sometimes feel hopeless, we can create art that makes a statement and see if that sparks any changes.

Talking, Watercolor and ink on paper, 5x7


Creative Guts is on a mission to awaken creativity within people of all ages by curating an environment for connection, collaboration, and the opportunity for gutsy creatives to share their stories with the world. We do this through programs, zines, events, and a podcast that is focused on the pursuit of creativity. Podcast episodes are available to listen on all major podcast platforms and our website.

The Lyceum Gallery is an indoor exhibition space at The Derryfield School in Manchester, NH. Learn more about the Lyceum Gallery, our wonderful partner in this zine edition, at www.instagram.com/lyceumgallery.

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