Art making can be a lonely practice with many solitary hours spent in the studio. Some creatives, however, choose to collaborate on their work, celebrating the fact that “two heads are better than one.” While many are not romantically linked to their creative partner, there are plenty of contemporary artist couples who maintain these types of relationships that grow and evolve alongside their visual work.
Many times, artist couples will come together from different creative backgrounds. Take, for instance, Edwige Massart and Xavier Wynn, who together produce the fascinating series Heads. Massart is a decorative painter and an art facilitator for the developmentally disabled, while Wynn is a marketing creative. “We both wanted to make something together,” they tell us in an email, “something creative, something outside of what we did in our daily work, and something that combined different interests we had.”
So, what’s it like to work with your significant other? Massart and Wynn offered their perspective. “It is better to be in a relationship and collaborate on art, than to be in a relationship where you don’t collaborate on art,” they write. “And it is like everything in a long-term relationship (20+ years now); contentious, challenging, and amazingly rewarding at the same time.” Continuing, “But by connecting different interests through a medium we both love, we have created work that we are not only proud of artistically, but that has layers and depth of meaning.”
Scroll down to read more about seven different artist couples who collaborate on amazing works of art.
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison have been a collaborative duo for the last 20 years. They combine Robert's background in photography with Shana's interest in dance to create fantastical works that examine our effect on the landscape. In their artist statement, they describe the scenes: “Strange scenes of hybridizing forces, swarming elements, and bleeding overabundance portray Nature unleashed by technology and the human hand.”
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Conceptual artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude write that their projects “come from ideas from their two hearts, and two brains.” The enduring partnership has stood the test of time, and they've completed about 20 projects together. In 2016, they debuted The Floating Piers, a temporary walkway of shimmering yellow fabric that offered visitors to Italy's Lake Iseo the chance to traverse across water.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster
British artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster utilize unconventional items to create mind-boggling works art. Some of their most striking—and most popular—pieces are trash (literally). The couple carefully arranges piles of refuge, which when lit, projects shadow art onto the wall. But rather than abstract forms, the casted silhouettes resemble portraits of people (usually of themselves).
Marsha Blaker and Paul DeSomma
Inspired by their love of nature, Paul DeSomma and Marsha Blaker recreate cascading waves out of glass. The sculptures and vases they produce are impressive in their form and texture. Despite the material's fragile and delicate nature, these pieces showcase the power of the ocean with gracefully-constructed tidal waves.
Together, photographers Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida make up MINIMIAM, a moniker that's a play on words by combining miniature and “yummy” (in French, it's “miam”). Their equally-as-playful images imagine food that's inhabited by tiny people who interact with it like a grandiose landscape. “We’re both food photographers in our daily work, and we’re both quite crazy about cooking, eating and everything about food,” Ida explained. “So when we started this small people series, naturally we created the stories related to the food.”
Hari & Deepti
Hari & Deepti, like many collaborative couples, approach art making with different skill sets. Hari is a trained graphic designer and illustrator, while Deepti specializes in cut paper art. Their dramatic shadow boxes incorporate flexible LED lighting to bring the fantastical scenes to life. “Paper is brutal in its simplicity as a medium,” they state. “It demands the attention of the artist while it provides the softness they need to mold it into something beautiful. It is playful, light, colorless and colorful. It is minimal and intricate. It reflects light, creates depth and illusions in a way that it takes the artist through a journey with limitless possibilities.”
Edwige Massart and Xavier Wynn
Edwige Massart and Xavier Wynn use an assortment of materials for their ongoing series called Heads. From circuit boards to rainbow-colored stones, the couple displays their random collections in cross-sectioned heads. They explain that the myriad of trinkets, compartmentalized into different sections, is “a surrealist exploration of portraits created from memories, found objects, and a fascination with medical imagery.” For the viewer, it's a compelling format to imagine who these people are based on what's inside of them.