A Brief Examination of Creative Togetherness

A Brief Examination of Creative Togetherness

by Ali LaBelle & Alysia Alex

Alysia: Okay so, let’s tell the people how we met.
Ali: You came in for an interview at our old job — I was looking for someone to work with me on building an artist program.
Alysia: Yeah, like, a person who would work with artists to create work for the brand in a way we felt good about.
Ali: Yes exactly, and we ended up being sort of partners? Like, I’d build some art direction, then you would find a bunch of artists that would make it happen, and we’d work together to work with those artists and turn their work into products and things. And we sat next to each other.
Alysia: And talked all day long…I’m sure everyone around us was so annoyed.
Ali: Totally. But we were, like, always riffing off each other! 
Alysia: Endlessly talking about podcasts and music videos and stuff we’d read.
Ali: It was so sad when we didn’t work together anymore and there wasn’t anyone on my left to turn to and say “Ohmygod did you see…”
Alysia: I know. It was an adjustment.
Ali: But now you’re doing something cool…
Alysia: Now I’m at ArtCenter, where I help students prepare themselves for real life.
Ali: And I’m freelance creative directing…the broadest title on planet earth.
Alysia: But we’re better friends than ever?
Ali: I think so. I mean, we’ve done couples costumes.
Alysia: And we have regular 6-hour dinners.
Ali: Really, really long dinners. You’re my favorite person to ask for advice, especially creatively. Like, because we know each other so well, I feel like you can get into my head and see what I see and help me work through it. Like I can just look at you really intensely and you’re like, yep, mind read, here’s what you should do.
Alysia: I always tell people you’re my friend but more importantly my creative soulmate. It’s not even that we have the same style or thoughts on everything. It’s more about the ease of idea flow that happens when I get to access your brain and visa versa. I think because we get to tap back into that dynamic of helping each other make our projects stronger or just being there to offer general support and cheerleading. 
Ali: And it’s extra fun that we like to do a lot of the same things. We could do them alone, sure, but it’s a million times more interesting to do them together.
Alysia: Exactly! I think we both can agree that there’s a lot of joy and power in being together, especially being creative together. 
Ali: “Creative togetherness.”
Alysia: That’s it! So it makes sense we’d focus our syllabus on just that — a look at the many manifestations of “creative togetherness” across music, friendship, art, and pop culture…people doing things they love with the people they love to do them with.
Ali: Beautiful. That should be the tagline for our book. No one steal that!


How Friendship Helps Us Transcend Ourselves 
By Megan O’Grady
“It’s hard to imagine Emerson existing in literary history in quite the same way without Henry David Thoreau, his friend, fellow Transcendentalist, and disciple; in the same way, it’s hard to imagine Romy without Michele, Frog without Toad, Charlie Brown without Linus van Pelt or Thelma without Louise.”

Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Formative Friendship 
By Karen Chernick
A peek into their relationship and the impact it had on Kahlo’s work.

The Story of Bode and Green River Project
True Collaboration With the Future of Fashion and Furniture Design
By Max Lakin
The weaving of two ongoing projects and how a shared appreciation for craft and the handmade unites them.

Meet the Women of Frogtown, An Artist Community Like No Other
By Dodie Kazanjian
An inside look at how artists Ruby Neri, Lily Stockman, Megan Reed, Hilary Pecis, and Austyn Weiner have banded together in an L.A. complex to create a vibe far from the intensely competitive climate common to many artistic spaces.


Tig and Cheryl True Story
By Tig Notaro & Cheryl Hines
Episode: March of the Penguins 
Tig and Cheryl are an unlikely duo, but their friendship spans decades and has led to the production of this perfect podcast, and specifically, this perfect episode.

By Hrishikesh Hirway & Mailchimp
Episode: Kim Malek & Tyler Malek (the founders of Salt & Straw, and also cousins)
A podcast about notable creative partners. In the show’s trailer, Hirway says, “Every successful partnership, no matter what kind, is sort of a love story.” 

Sentimental in the City
By Caroline O’Donoghue and Dolly Alderton
Established authors and longtime friends Caroline and Dolly collaborate on a limited series podcast dedicated to deeply and humorously dissecting each Sex and the City season. More than that it’s a beautiful demonstration of female friendship by way of enthusiastic fandom and conversation. 

While My Guitar Gently Weeps
By Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Windwood, Dhani Harrison, and Prince
A tribute to George Harrison when he was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by a lot of incredible musicians who really loved him.

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends 
Audio Tour of Exhibition
A 2017 MOMA retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg’s work that highlights the way collaboration was a critical component of his work and practice. “My whole area of art has always been addressed to working with other people,” he reflected. “Ideas are not real estate.”


Dancing In The Street
Mick Jagger and David Bowie
Two friends coming together to make what might be the silliest video of the ‘80s. 

The Making of a Found Family
By Alima Lee
Melina Matsoukas, Shiona Turini, Lena Waithe, Daniel Kaluuya and other creative forces have formed a close-knit collective, remaking Hollywood by supporting each other and carving a path for the next generation of artists as they do. 

What is an Art Collective
By Tate Modern
Explores the history and meaning of Art Collectives by speaking to the artists working within them.

Hacks on HBO
A show about the unlikely mentorship and creative partnership between a legendary Las Vegas comic and an entitled, outcast 25-year-old comedy writer. 

While I Yet Live
By Maris Curran
An immersive film about a group of master quilters in the small town of Gee’s Bend, Ala. Curran paints a tender portrait of a tightly-bound community of African-American women and how they integrate craft, faith and family into their art.