Creative Collaborations



In my efforts to educate myself about self publishing, I was directed to Allison Holzer, an author/artist who recently completed her own project, a children’s book “Jenny Makes A Junkyard Friend”.

Aside from benefiting from her generosity of information on self publishing, I learned about her book. The first thing that I noticed was the uniqueness of her illustrations and looking closer realized that it was due to her collaboration with artist Richard Kolb that made this such a unique book. Rich Kolb along with Phil Smith of Louisville, Kentucky design and create critters out of tools and all things associated with tool boxes (nuts, bolts, etc.) The book combines an illustrated character (Jenny the dog) with photos of “junk yard critters”. It’s a fun story created to support a line of products that Rich sells at wholesale markets and galleries across the country.

  Allison is originally from Louisville and had worked with Rich a few years back painting flats for his whole sale booths. That connection evolved into this spirited book that exposes children to creatively reclaiming and recycling materials for art. I encourage you to visit their website and learn more about their products and find out about how to locate a store or gallery that carries them. 

Now as far as self publishing, I’m impressed with the quality of book that Allison and Rich produced. I am even more impressed with the quality of their character, demonstrated by their willingness to share their experience and support the creative process with me, a total stranger.



Ways that you can collaborate with other creative people are unlimited. Start a piece of art using collage, drawing, painting or mixed media. Select a theme and pass it back and forth to each other making additions and changes based on your perception and interpretation of the theme. Play off each others design with an understanding that one may enhance a part you created that you really like or destroy it as the design progresses. Determine up front how many times you pass it back and forth for. Then stop and share your experience with each other. I’ve know many artists who work this way in order to grow creatively from the process and even exhibit a series of these collaborations. Artists often respond to change and taking presumed absolutes into new territory. Bouncing it back and forth forces a response that you didn’t necessarily anticipate and tests you on your own communication strategies. Have fun with it,  make it an adventure. 

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