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Project seeks funding to unite local artists, foster collaboration


Oklahoma City artists Romy Owens and Kelsey Karper pose for a photo at Joey's Pizzeria in Oklahoma City's Film Row, Monday, April 13, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Oklahoma City artists Romy Owens and Kelsey Karper pose for a photo at Joey's Pizzeria in Oklahoma City's Film Row, Monday, April 13, 2015.

For non-art majors, “exquisite corpse” sounds a little unsettling, but the term simply describes a fascinating technique. Oklahoma City artists Romy Owens and Kelsey Karper chose the technique as the structure of a collaborative art project that involves more than 50 local artists.

“The exquisite corpse involves drawing on different panels of paper, all of which are invisible to you except the one you’re drawing on,” Owens said. “Each artist only sees a line or two from the previous and successive pieces.”

The pair launched a GoFundMe campaign to help offset costs, and they submitted their idea to the curating committee at Individual Artists of Oklahoma (IAO). The project was accepted, and the project — The Elaborate Collaborate — debuts July 17 at IAO Gallery in tandem with Premiere on Film Row.

“We are really excited because this work will evolve over five weeks,” Karper said. “Once the paper component is installed, artists will have access to the installation whenever the gallery is open, and they are free to change any artist’s piece.”
The installation features a paper component and a video component. Karper and Owens selected 42 visual artists in various styles and media for the paper collaboration. Each sheet of paper is 22” x 30,” and artists will only see lines on both sides of the paper that the pair marked ahead of time. The artists know who is before and after them in the project, and Karper said they are free to discuss what they are doing or not.

“We even have husband-and-wife teams involved, so it’ll be interesting to see if they share or work in secret,” Karper said.

The video component features 10 artists, both those who work in a fine arts and those who create feature or documentary films. Each video is one minute long, and participants see only 10 seconds of the preceding clip. To make things even more interesting, Eli Casiano, another local artist, was selected to write the film’s score.

“His composition will set the mood or tone for the film,” Owens said. “He will be able to view the completed film before he scores it.”

Owens said she and Karper wanted a collaborative project because the local creative community works well together but they don’t collaborate as often as they would like.

“We started with the idea of collaboration because we have both seen how, in our art and in others’ art, collaboration makes us think about our work and how it pushes us forward in ways that don’t happen when we work alone,” Karper said.

The pair is seeking sponsors, who also will be invited to a July 10 sponsor-only preview. That is the only day the original piece will be available for viewing. After that, the piece changes every day.

“We really expect to have someone working on the piece whenever the gallery is open, and there will definitely be work going on the night of the public opening,” Owens said.

Learn more at elaborate.

Print headline: Artistic union, A GoFundMe campaign fosters collaboration in the art community.


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