Visit with Jim – Collaborative Art is even Better Air for the Mind

Today’s post revisits Art is Air for the Mind®.  I wrote about this topic several months ago and spoke about how the creative process has helped me and opened new parts of my mind in the creative process.  I wanted to take that a step further and share a discovered collaborative art process that is fueling my creativity with a colleague.   Without a doubt, I have enjoyed creating these photographs, printing, framing and exhibiting them.  I am also deeply grateful that people see value and inspiration in the finished art and want them for their homes and office spaces.  That air, as fuel for creativity, is boundless. 

Recently, I began working with Dr. Bahar Sedarati, a colleague and friend, on a collaborative project.  Previously, we worked together at our job to create training decks and had developed a working style and synchrony to complete the project. Currently we are working together to bring two artforms into one space and use them as a point of connection between us while also adding a whole new set of creative layers.  We have Life & Leadership concepts and experiences that we have both learned and want to share with our communities.  There are several fascinating levels to this work.  To share a few, the above piece Akai was tied to Valentine’s day for a few reasons. Bahar saw a sail and loved the colors as apropos for the particular day and the lesson made sense for the post and the artwork. 

There were several weeks of the standard storming, forming, norming process as we worked out our perspectives and goals, then we had to learn how to adapt our previous working style into an afterhours back and forth that was based entirely on email, text, and Canva comments and messages.  It worked out exceedingly well.  We read our artwork and seemed to be both creating and living the messages embedded within.  The process amplified the oxygen in the room for each of us.   Once we established our rhythm and process we have a quickly growing library between the two of us. 


The original piece entitled Akai becomes a much deeper and more impactful piece of art as it is tied to a meaningful insight.  Bahar adds so much in the color coordinated and thoughtful palette on the right right.  From there we walked into this working relationship with quite a bit of give and take.  We moved through several iterations and landed on this format.  

The top right title and tag words shape the concept or learning on the lower left.  The upper right and lower left are where the real collaboration happens.  We provide feedback to each other on our individual artistic contributions, but the language and concepts are an interesting nexus point where our two minds meet.  

There is an ease and flow that happens when one of us or the other puts content on the art.  That serves as a stimulus which, in turn, calls for editing, fine tuning and revision.   With our prior experience editing PowerPoint decks across the company, we had this skillset under our belts.  The hard work is the message and how we aim to accomplish two things: brevity and concept retention.   Each word matters.  Each concept needs distillation.   The iterative process for the two of use happening through Canva is quite interesting.  Given I am EST and Bahar is PST, I will start around 6am and work through some ideas and edits and post them forward to her.  She arrives to the work later and provides the feedback and commentary.  And so it goes back and forth across time and distance in this marvelous tennis match volley of image, concept, and message. 

Grit with the tag words – strength and grace – took several weeks to get to the final distilled and crystalized version.  The photograph is called Crucible which became the stem for the title, tags and fed naturally into the message.  

We committed to one title, two tag words, and a 4 -5 line message.  That agreement led to each word, each phrase’s tense becoming crucial.  Did a change, add, detract or make no change in the message?  We want our communities to see our visual art contributions, read the art in the written word and have all four quadrants resonate and amplify each other.  It seems to be having that impact and value.  You, our LinkedIn and IG have 

audiences are the recipients of the body of work and are responding and engaging in a manner neither of us expected.  We have dozens of these artistic pages in various stages of flight.  Before we knew it, we have even had requests for prints, which sent us to the moon and back. We quickly reorganized our work and processes to be able to make them available as single pages with both a smaller personal notes version and a coffee table book.  The larger book to be an anchor piece on a table as a beautiful resource to open, read, reflect and spark a moment of sustained inspiration.   The smaller version is intended to empower you to read, meditate and write your reflections and notes upon. 

 We started this endeavor with the simple goal – we hoped that you see value, share that value and save them to return to in the future and reconsider them.   We believe that the messages are timeless, transnational, apolitical, and carry lifelong relevance. 

And so this is a profound new layer of collaborative creativity that had not dawned on me when I wrote the first version of Art is Air for the Mind®.  When I frame a piece of photographic art and work with the framing professionals, there is air introduced and oxygen infused into the creative process for that collective of ‘us’.  Similarly, and more impactfully, when Bahar and I are collaborating we are sharing ourselves, our mistakes and learnings, our wounds and healed scars, and inviting you into our pair of universes to comment, share, add to, leverage, refine and make the dialogue richer.  Not just with each other, but with you our community.  We hope your experiences with the final version is fantastic and your  lives are enhanced for having viewed and read them.  

Bahar’s creative pen within the realm of Canva is simply stunning  Our collective message and authorship continues to shock me each time we lock down a piece for publication.  Every finished touch is exactly what we want at that point in time.  Every word is in the Goldilocks’ zone of not too hot or too cool, it is just right.   The flourish is perfect in color 

Looking back on our progress, I added the Artwork “Order” to show the maturation of the the colors and artwork flow nicely.   When I look at the visual art of the text, it could be better.  That is a viewpoint from the ‘now’ however then it was perfect at the time.  Yet another lesson that resonates with the Wabi-Sabi philosophy I wrote about a while here.  Perhaps this message will find its way into a collaborative art piece down the road a bit. 

Well in closing, I want to thank you Bahar for reaching out and engaging with me on an endeavor that is cognitively, spiritually and soulfully rewarding.  I could not have seen how beneficial the activity is for me and I hope for you.  I look forward to the weekend Zoom sessions to perfect the process and plan next steps.  I suspect you will be thrilled with the boxed set that my wife and I created last weekend. 

To you, our audience, a deeply held and grateful thank you for each and every comment, like, support, love, share and save.  Let the ripples reach out and amplify far beyond us.  All we are doing is collectively generating good will and good karma.  That is never a bad thing to do.  Until my next post ….





Join the conversation

Create an account

A link to set a new password will be sent to your email address.

Password Recovery

Lost your password? Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.