Stop, collaborate and paint

Altered Esthetics’ “Resident Artist VI” shows what happens when artists team up.

Artists Kara Hendershot and Summer Scharringhausen stand if front of their panting titled “Penelope” at Altered Esthetics on Tuesday. The new exhibit features collaborative artwork.

Aleutian Calabay

Artists Kara Hendershot and Summer Scharringhausen stand if front of their panting titled “Penelope” at Altered Esthetics on Tuesday. The new exhibit features collaborative artwork.

by Tony Libera

WHAT: âÄúResident Artist VI: Creative CollaborationsâÄù WHEN: Opening Reception: Friday, April 2, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., Show runs April 1 to May 1 WHERE: Altered Esthetics, 1224 Quincy Street N.E., Mpls. The life of an artist is often a solitary one, tucked back in a paint-speckled studio, chopping away at the latest opus. While isolation is a common stereotype of the occupation, the folks at Altered Esthetics have made it their goal to promote the communal aspect of art. Their upcoming exhibit, âÄúResident Artist VI: Creative Collaborations,âÄù demonstrates the benefits of putting two heads together by featuring a collection of joint pieces. In the past, the Resident Artist exhibits have allowed artists to display pieces that didnâÄôt necessarily fit into Altered EstheticsâÄô themed shows. But when it came time for this yearâÄôs event, the board decided to do something different, picking up the broad theme of collaboration. Some of those submitting had already been working together, while the gallery paired up others for unfinished pieces. âÄúItâÄôs a chance for artists to interact with one another,âÄù said Kristin Thompson, exhibitions director at Altered Esthetics, âÄúto reach outside of their medium and try something different, or to meet another artist within the community that they hadnâÄôt known before.âÄù In ThompsonâÄôs eyes, collaboration brings a unique dynamism to artwork. Those commissioned to finish pieces tweaked the first artistâÄôs formula, adding their own idiosyncratic take while keeping close to the original intent. Meanwhile, those who worked together on pieces were able to test their skills in an unfamiliar environment. âÄúIt was a really cool process, because you donâÄôt know what to expect and it forces you to use some new techniques,âÄù said Kara Hendershot, Altered Esthetics communications director and one of the featured artists in the upcoming show. âÄúIt teaches you to let go of your expectations of what the piece is going to look like, and to just go with the moment.âÄù For her submission, Hendershot teamed up with Gallery Director Summer Scharringhausen. Calling themselves Happy Accidents, the pair set out to produce a laid-back, organic piece, free from the solemnity that can often plague the art world. âÄúOur little philosophy is just to paint and let ourselves lead what happens instead of having to come up with some grand plan,âÄù said Scharringhausen. âÄúThe range of ideas that you come up with are a lot wider when youâÄôre working with someone else and when youâÄôre not tied down by anything.âÄù Their carefree collaboration resulted in âÄúPenelope,âÄù a plywood board covered in David Lynch-inspired weirdness. The painting, which was ultimately chosen as the exhibitâÄôs featured piece, shows a set of wide-eyed dolls standing in front of a decaying Minneapolitan backdrop, winter hats adorning their creepy little heads. The piece is funny, strange and would warrant deeper analysis, if that werenâÄôt completely against the point. For both Hendershot and Scharringhausen, âÄúResident Artist VIâÄù is an opportunity for artists to develop their craft, branch out into new stylistic territory and, perhaps most importantly, converse with the art community. As Scharringhausen put it, âÄúI think for other artists to see collaborations, it opens up the possibility that you donâÄôt have to just sit in your hole and do your thing. We can come together and do this.âÄù