Collaboration Among the Arts: Part 1

I like to collaborate with other artists working in various mediums and genres. Why?

Here’s Part 1 of why I think collaboration among the arts is both important and natural.

Picasso was inspired by Don Quixote

Art and literature belong together like chocolate and peanut butter, or champagne and caviar, or milk and cookies. They are each created using different skills, methods, and tools, but they nevertheless can achieve the same ultimate goals. And when combined through collaboration, the whole can indeed be greater than the sum of the parts.

But of course art and literature offer so much more than morsels of food and beverages.

Art and literature help the artist grow

Painters and novelists often comment on how much they appreciate the catharsis, the exploration, the self-discovery of the creative process. Pablo Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Joan Didion said, “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

I am one of hundreds, or thousands, of practitioners who offer courses and workshops in the arts to help people embark on their own personal archaeological journeys, to discover what feelings lie hidden beneath their skin. And I can say, from my own experience and from what I have witnessed as a workshop facilitator, that expressing oneself freely, no matter what genre or medium, can be powerfully transformative.

Art and literature help others learn

When we read, and when we gaze at fine art, we can see the world, and our selves, through fresh layers of texture and alternative dimensions that transport us to or from other times and places. In A Scream Goes Through the House: What Literature Teaches Us About Life, Ivy League Professor Arnold Weinstein maintains that art and literature are a “bloodstream that connects us to the world [and] a script that allows us both to sound our own depths and also to enter the echoing storehouse of feeling that goes by the name of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, Munch, Proust, and all the great writers and artists whose work exists to nourish us.”

More simply said in No Man Is an Island, Trappist monk Thomas Merton said that “art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Art and literature evoke emotion

Novelist Jerzy Kosinski said that true art is meant “not to portray, but to evoke.” And Leo Tolstoy said that art is an activity in which the artist “hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by…and also experience.” Who didn’t cry when they read To Kill a Mockingbird? Or Marley and Me? Who doesn’t cringe when looking at The Scream or feel more hopeful with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers?

We live in a world where emotions are often stuffed away. When we read or enjoy fine art, we allow ourselves to feel. Emotions triggered by artistic creations:

  • may cause pleasure or displeasure
  • make us interested or surprised or confused
  • evoke sadness, anger or frustration
  • make us subconsciously aware of our own vulnerabilities.

To feel is to be human, and the arts can help us become the humans we are meant to be.

Art and literature, when used together, can set a mood, embellish a theme, and ensure the longevity of one another

While many book covers can be considered works of art with the way fonts, placement, and stock photos are used, my favorite book covers are the ones that use original art. The covers and the stories work together, harmoniously imprinting upon our memories. Here are some of my favorite book covers using original art.

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I made a commitment, to myself, that I would use original art for my book covers to support this notion of collaboration among the arts.VQ_13-00072_GElizabeth_Kretchmer_DL_bookcover_hires-190x300-1

Last year, I published my debut novel with the fabulous cover art of Laura Paslay.


This year, I’ll be publishing a short story collection. I’ve just sent out a call for cover art. In case you didn’t see it, here it is again.


Seattle-based author G. Elizabeth Kretchmer is looking for original art for the cover of her next book, a collection of short stories about running away. For more information about the author, please visit her website at For more details about this call, please send an email indicating your interest to, subject line: Book Cover Art, by May 5, 2015. Final artwork to be submitted no later than June 30, 2015.

Please pass this on to all your artist friends!



Next up ~ Collaboration Among the Arts: Part 2

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