An Artistic Collaboration

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by Carolyn Edlund

Artists Pamela Goldberg and Sabin Cannon run a studio called Double Exposure.  We recently had a conversation on how collaboration enhances their art and their lives.

 

“Reflecting” mixed media on Aquabord, 12″ x 12″, collaboration by Sabin Cannon and Pamela Goldberg

 

AS: How did you meet as artists and why did you decide to create together?

Sabin: Some years after graduating Savannah Collage of Art and Design, I was spending my time creating and selling my artwork on River Street in Savannah, Georgia.

Pamela: After some big life events, I decided I wanted warmer weather than New England offered. I relocated to Savannah, arriving on New Years Eve in 2010. I spent much of my time walking around exploring the city.

Sabin: During the winter, I wasn’t down on River Street as much and was living on the South Side. In the spring, I wanted to spend more time on River Street selling my artwork, so I moved to the historical downtown.

Pamela: River Street was one of my favorite places to go. One day I came across Sabin and was captivated by his amazing artwork. I also lived downtown, and we would often cross paths on our walks. Eventually we engaged in conversation. A friendship ensued.

Sabin: I was intrigued to learn that Pamela was an artist and exhibited her art in a local coop gallery. We also discovered we both have a passion for music and color.

Pamela: Yes, especially jazz and blues music. And color, vibrant color.

 

watercolor landscape of Providence River by Pamela Goldberg

“Providence River View 1″ watercolors on Aquabord, 16″ x 20” by Pamela Goldberg

 

Sabin: Creating together really was an evolution. Our first piece was a tribute for local jazz musician Ben Tucker. I had known his wife Dian. She would take the ferry across the river to hear her husband play at the Hotel Sunday Jazz Brunch. Often, she would stop and talk with me about my artwork.

Pamela: I knew Ben Tucker through a friend. I would often go see him play at the Sunday Jazz Brunch. Unfortunately, Ben died in a heartbreaking accident. There was a “New Orleans” style processional to the church. We decided to stay in my studio and collaborate on a tribute piece.

Sabin: It was experimental, and to our surprise our different mediums seemed perfect together. I would draw the image with graphite and pass it back to Pamela.

Pamela: Then, I would paint with watercolors and pass it back to Sabin.

Sabin: I would render it out more with colored pencils.

Pamela: That was the beginning of our music-themed collaborations. Meshing our two very different styles and medium together, an alchemy emerged.

Sabin: We found people were drawn to the art and the story.

 

Mixed media painting of singer Sarah Vaughn

“Sarah Vaughan” mixed media on wood, 16″ x 20″ by Sabin Cannon

 

AS: How much of your work is individual and how much is collaboration?

Sabin: Probably about 10% is collaboration. The rest is independent artwork.

AS: Do you share studio space?

Pamela: We recently relocated to Providence, Rhode Island into a loft which we have designed to be live/workspace. Our studios are separate, but in the same space.

AS:  When you promote and sell your artwork, is it an effort you undertake separately or together?

Pamela: We generally market our work together since we usually exhibit and sell together.

Sabin: We also promote and do commission work independently. It’s a good mix.

 

Watercolor painting by Pamela Goldberg

“Hope” watercolors on Aquabord, 16″ x 20″ by Pamela Goldberg

 

AS: What challenges have you encountered when creating together?

Sabin: Sometimes Pamela likes to mix metallic pigment in her watercolors. I found it difficult for my colored pencils to glide well over the grittier painted surface.

Pamela: Initially Sabin’s drawing was a little too heavy, and the graphite muddied the watercolor paint. Of course, we both modified our technique for the sake of art.

 

Collaborative painting of Lady in Blue singing by Sabin Cannon and Pamela Goldberg

“Lady in Blue” mixed media on Aquabord, 12″ x 12″, collaboration by Sabin Cannon & Pamela Goldberg

 

AS: What makes it work for you to collaborate on art together?

Pamela: Our innate understanding and masterful use of color is a big reason we can collaborate on artwork together.

Sabin: It also works because our mediums are different, but complementary. I like dry medium and Pamela likes wet medium.

Pamela: Our life and work as artists have become so intertwined, it is a collaboration.

Sabin: All artists are different. It works for us because we feel a connection at a soul level as artists.

Pamela: It also works because our temperaments are similar. We can quietly create for hours without needing to talk, each in our own world.

Sabin: We give each other the space required. We have a mutual respect and understanding of the process an artist goes through in creating.

Pamela: Then we come up for air and share about art and life.

 

Photo of two collaborative artists

Artists Pamela Goldberg and Sabin Cannon

 

AS: What do you feel are the greatest benefits of being artistic collaborators?

Sabin: It’s a Tango. The art markets are a lot of work, and it helps having a partner to share the load and have each other’s back. We each do our part, so we aren’t stepping on each other’s toes.

Pamela: Over time we have created a nice flow. Although our work is quite different, it works together.

Sabin: We have found being an artist couple is interesting to the public. Often the same customer will buy from both of us.

Pamela: Being art partners created an equilibrium that makes it all a little bit easier, the ebb and flow balances.

Sabin: We are always reminding each other, “Don’t rush your artwork, let it breathe and come back to it later. Let it evolve.”

Pamela: Our partnership seems to have an inherent spark that inspires others. Art unites.

Sabin: Art is universal.

 

 

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