I speak a lot about collaborations and the highs & lows of it. After spending three days working for clients and shooting personal work in the Netherlands with an amazing team & some real lovely people: I thought it would be time as well to write a little about how I currently feel about this entire industry of "working in name of art" (from my perspective & also answer some much asked questions while I'm on it:)
The question of "can we work together/collaborate?" is an almost daily on one my social media and one I always answer the same too: "No. This is my job. Here are my rates" (more or less). There are some rare occassions where I do meet up with some new lovely creatures who are actively pursuing a career or their passion in this world of art; but I feel less & less both inspired as insisted to work with new people.
The next part will sound very selfish and very self-centered; but I think from a certain point (and I've realised this way too late) it's a very necessary thing to achieve and pursue in this creative industry once you hit a certain mark and have a certain goal or career in sight. The market is heavily oversaturated these days as photography and everything around has become super accessible for even the lowest budgets. And while there is nothing wrong with that; I do feel there is a massive shift when it comes to a certain entitlement that anyone can get anything from everyone. This is something I heavily struggled with as I'm a serious people pleaser and I like to do nothing more than to see people happy with photos I've made off/for them. Which, in return, does not pay my bills. It does not give me the necessary time to recharge and it definitely doesn't give my body and mind the necessary break to deal with the crazy schedule I work on. Leading to my current state of pure exhaustion (a happy exhaustion, but on this monday I won't be doing much retouching for some commissions I have waiting, making my near future another heavy long day).
And there is nothing wrong with that; I can do the coolest job I could dream off. But I've realised now for real that I do not wish to continue this path as it's not giving me the artgasms to finish a new piece of art (except for the past days, but that was because I did the very thing I'm about to say): I'm only creating for myself again, with people around me who both embrace me as a person as my artistic vision.
I've decided to give barely any ground to those (in terms of time, investment & energy) if they're not my personal close friends or concepts/themes I'm not interested in. I'm not interested anymore in working with those who only want to work with me for the models or designer pieces I get to work with and want to do their thing with it or give me the feeling my voice gets lost. I want to work with people I can easily go get a hot chocolat with as well as create something epic we all feel the art-vibes from while together merging our aesthetics & vision to make a beautiful art-symphony. And those I look up to, I reach out to myself: because I'm incredibly inspired and I want to give all I have for it with them (if they want me that is).
Collaborations have shifted as much as I have and I've come on a very personal point in life where I feel my life is drained of everything that makes it worth living and beautifully inspired. For someone who basically is a walking maelstrom of concepts & ideas; not feeling the vibes as I should feel them makes me very unhappy (as shallow as it sounds). Together with the urgent loom of aging (I'm turning 27 in a month, which seems very young yet I can feel the first touches of aging coming): I want to do things that make me happy because this is my life and when I die, I would regret not doing it.
Creating art is like growing up: mistakes will be made, perspectives shift, you outgrow certain things and grow into new things. In a year, or two or ten: I will go back to my old ways. Life and history repeats itself, always. And that's perfectly fine too! But we live in the present and sometimes (or a bit more often): one should do the things you love the most. I'm so deeply grateful for the opportunities that life and people have given me. It's not a light decision I made either however, it's one that can only benefit my life and those around me. And for me right now: that's the most important thing. As for me now: creating something new is less important compared to the time I could give to those around me & myself. And not just to create something new for social media.
P.S I'm not quitting collaborations. I got a massive list of amazing people (new and old) I'm teaming up with; as well as some new faces (mostly clients! I got such stunning clients ...) who I want to gently borrow for one of my many ongoing ideas. I just don't feel urged anymore by my surroundings and/or social media to "be refreshing/be new/create/post/..." - I just want to do what I enjoy and now I'm coming out of a heavy life period in my private life; I feel spending time differently for other results is more interesting to me than yet another something-art I don't feel the vibes from as I'm simply creating too much (its a thing yes). I just feel being "selfish" is an amazing thing a lot more people should do. It also has given me a much deeper understanding and appreciation of those who work with me; as well as a deeper understanding of what I want & others want. And it's okay to part ways over that and support them in other ways in their journey. Be it direct or indirect. So *raises glass of chocolat* here is to a new life lesson!