Cade on collaboration
As a photographer my collaborative projects are typically a very hands-on, mind-on process. Yet from the moment Vincent Serritella and I were introduced, it was clear that this collaboration was to be wholly different, both Vincent and I would be on our own, alone with the images.
Mine to initiate, I returned to New Orleans to create images of The Market Street Power Plant — a defunct early 20th Century structure that has had its hooks in me. Built in 1905 and located on The Mississippi just upriver of the Crescent City Connection, it has been closed since 1973, decaying for 46 years.
Love of creative adventure is how I was raised and once inside I felt connected with the easy juxtaposition of decay and fresh graffiti, the very spirit of New Orleans baked into the way the past played literal gallery for the now.
I walked the vast factory with curiosity and a storyteller’s spirit, capturing what I saw, what moved me and what caught my eye. Character oozed from each corner of the space – its palpable history and lost purpose, the graffiti of artists seeking canvas and a voice, and an air of possibility of how that building could take on new life through Vincent’s and my mixing of media.
In the end, the true essence of a collaboration remains: that the tweaking, testing, introducing something new and beautifying both elevates and reveals. That through a mingling of familiar and unfamiliar, of work that speaks to the beauty that will show itself when we move beyond our comfort zones, that lies in the unfamiliar.
Vincent on collaboration
Over the course of my education and artistic career, I’ve allowed influences from every angle of my life, cognizant of keeping myself receptive to all perspectives and ideas. Despite the uniquely choreographed nature of our collective work, from the onset, I knew that collaborating with photographer Cade Martin on this project would challenge my own studio habits, choices and techniques in the service of an unimagined end product.
Later, in contemplating the rawness of this abandoned and street-art filled power-plant, I was reminded about the spontaneity and direct dialog street artists have as they add-to or subtract-from their surfaces. I found myself in the same position when working with Cade’s photography.
Over the course of a year, I let the paper collect dust, dirt, debris and footsteps on the floor of my studio allowing the prints to begin to decay like the century-old structure captured in the imagery. Then a juxtaposing of media — spray paint, oil and grease pencil. Layered finally with chalkboard paint, acrylic, cray-pas and charcoal to add texture, richness and depth to the surface of the paper. The work then framed without glazing to allow the natural atmospheric elements to further decay the paper and work, continuing the impermanence of leaving the life of the image unknown and perhaps to decay if left abandoned.
Through the asymmetry of objective realism in the photograph and abstraction in the painted marks, I set out to create an experience that allows the viewer to bounce between the original stories told through Cade’s photography and the surface of the paper. Our large-scale works are meant to fully engage the viewer with the space, putting them both in the shoes of the street artist and photographer at the same time.
Ultimately, revealing something new and unexpected that Cade or myself could not have produced alone in our respective studios.