Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…
Lilly Blue and Jo Pollitt are the makers of BIG Kids Magazine. Lilly is a visual artist and Jo is a dancer and writer. Together they work in a collaborative way where lines get blurred in a continuous feedback loop of creative exchange. When they make something together from shared ideas, they are never quite sure exactly where it came from and ownership is swiftly displaced by unexpected discoveries in form and practice. They become co-authors. [Coauthored work here.]
On the 2nd of September 2010 Jo sent Lilly a message sharing an idea she had for a creative children’s magazine with an adult and child editorial staff, featuring contributions of poems, stories and artwork from kids, and offering an alternative to the current high fashion focus dominating the market. In this innocuous little note Jo invited Lilly to contribute an illustration or two for a mock up of the magazine. The rapturous, poetic and unbridled correspondence that ensued over the next days and weeks, often after midnight while their babies slept, gave birth to a bigger vision, and in the space between the two artists BIG (Bravery, Imagination, Generosity) Kids Magazine was born.
“I do believe we are starting a collaboration without uttering a spoken word”.
After a full year of working, the first actual sighting of each other was by Skype the day Lilly showed Jo the First Flight edition of BIG Kids Magazine just back from the printer. The acceleration from initial sketching of ideas to holding the first ever magazine in our hands was fast and full. It was certainly a surreal moment to turn the first BIG page.
Of course there were moments of difficulty in sorting roles and differences, at times like a storm in Narnia, all drama, dark wardrobes and late nights! But I think it is a mutual respect and trust of the other as well as a shared understanding of creative practice as rigorous, personal and poetic that makes it possible to navigate the challenges. We always come back to trusting the other will spy rock and steer us well.
Now that we have clearly established BIG as a co-authored page we continue to invest and create worlds in the spaces between us, and tend not to work with the traditional collaborative approach of writer and illustrator. It is a responsive dialogue that finds a different form depending on the demands of each new world we collide in; Jo writing worlds and words for stories Lilly has dreamt forever. Lilly responding to a choreography of lines on an unexpected page.
Our words begin to overlap. Even the paint starts to run between us.
We both hold on, and we both let go.
It all happens, all at once, all of the time.
The co-authorship of this BIG magazine provokes, prescribes, demands, dares, expects and cajoles a days work from each of us and also makes room for tiny glimpses of the hilarity, niggling, messing, playing and firing of our everyday lives. We work in the between hours: between children, between sleep, between work, between cities. BIG exists in all the available spaces but it is the collaborative space between us that ultimately supports and propels the magazine making, side by side.
Image credits: The top hoto is of Jo and Lilly working on the 2nd edition of BIG – Treasure Maps. The second image is the cover of the current issue.
Downloadable print: The owl pic is a co-authored print: Cross My Heart and Hope to Fly by Lilly Blue and Jo Pollitt) featured in the Treasure Maps edition of BIG Kids Magazine.
You can download a free hi-res printable version of the print here. For a short time only (offer now closed) – after that please support this great mag by grabbing a copy from newstands or via their website. BIG Kids Magazine