Creating Art Together

Parents teaching using danceItamar Freed and Courtney Scheu are artists and partners. They met in 2016 and have been creating art together ever since. Courtney is primarily a dance artist and has worked on many Primary school education projects. Itamar works in photography as well as sculpture, media and printmaking.

I asked Courtney to talk about how they make art together, since that’s what we do with our students in the classroom and what many parents will be doing at home with their children. Their approach to working together in nature is particularly significant at this time of uncertainty.

Working together to gently create a piece of art is a wonderful way to introduce children to collaboration.

Courtney Scheu, March, 2020

For us, creating together happens in a range of contexts. Itamar works as a collaborating visual artist on dance works where I lead the project, I work with him in creating photographic works where he is leading, and we also create work together in an equal collaboration.

We have naturally come across things that are important to us when creating together.

• We support each other toward a creative vision or idea. No matter who “came up” with the idea.
• We are involved equally in the decision-making process. We discuss each decision together.
• We research our interests to add more depth of information and gain additional inspiration.

By using collaborative processes, it means we learn new things from each other – techniques, perspectives, ways to generate ideas – and enrich our practice.

A lot of our work has been created in response to a particular site or place, such as the Everglades National Park, Florida or the Wollemi National Park in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales.

A nice way to begin creating together is to sit or walk around the backyard or nature close to your house. You might also look out of the window.Dance in nature

Sit quietly for a short time observing the information you are receiving from your senses – what do you hear, what do you see, what sensations do you feel?

After a few moments chat together about your observations. Do you notice any patterns, striking colours, unusual or satisfying shapes or forms? You might observe things like two tree branches that are parallel, that the fluttering leaves are creating a shimmer of light on the ground, that the breeze is cool and playful on your skin.

Through your conversation, understand what is interesting to both of you and begin to discuss how you might respond to this by creating something together. What media do you think will best express what you are seeing in nature and your own ideas? You might even use a combination of different materials and possibly include technology.

Bounce ideas to and fro, start creating to actively work through ideas. Talk to each other through out the creation process. You might also go online to research your local area, which might stimulate more ideas. Gently ask “why?” to gain more understanding about the other person’s approach and preferences.

Parents collaborating with their children to make art is a great way to create an enriched learning environment. Learning through exploration and play will act to strengthen the bond between parents and children in these uncertain times.

Itamar Freed and Courtney Scheu are a visual artist and dance artist. The duo collaborate and aim to create representations of place that are a synthesis of natural landscape, history and people, transferred as a layered experience to an audience. They are creating work across forms in dance, sculpture, video and photography. Their dance work has been presented through indepenDANCE 2018 Phluxus2 Dance Collective and Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance 2019 and 2020. In 2019, Scheu and Freed were artists in residence through AIRIE – Artist in Residence in Everglades within the UNESCO World Heritage Everglades National Park Florida USA. Their work was exhibited in the Airie Nest Gallery in the Ernest F Coe. Visitor’s Center. They are currently Artists in Residence in The Crow’s Nest on Chamber’s Island, Australia through the Sunshine Coast Regional Arts Development Fund. In addition, their work has been presented in Sculpture by the Sea 2018 Bondi Beach and in Sculpture by the Sea 2019 Cottesloe through the Sculpture Inside Exhibitions, Swell Gold Coast 2019 as well as through the BigCi Open Day Bilpin, Australia October 2017. You can find more of Itamar and Courtney’s work on this website.