Collaboration not Competition

Last week I was able to attend and be apart of Alt (Altitude Design Summit). I had been working on it for many months with some extremely talented people, and so it was exciting to see it all come together. I learned some amazing things, but more importantly, met some amazing people. I met Designers, Bloggers, Artists, and Photographers, and it seemed that everyone I met was working so hard to be successful in their own right.

While there, it suddenly struck me- why do we so often look at other artists in competition? So many times I have been guilty of this; I see another artist succeeding and as I look through their work I either feel threatened and competitive, or that my own work is horrible. How self destructive! How shallow! They certainly don’t help me as an artist to create better work or the be more motivated. And yet it has happened to me more times than I would like to admit.

I need to focus on collaboration, not competition. I think as an artistic community we need to work together. As we collaborate with others, we all learn, we all grow, we push each other, and we all benefit. We can learn from each other in positive ways. Working together we can achieve more, and go farther. We should be more willing to share ideas, advice, tips, and what we have learned with each other. We should be more willing to join together on projects, more willing to ask for help or ideas, more willing to perform art together.

Obviously some level of competition is healthy and important, but I feel that in most cases, most of us are far too competitive, and not nearly willing enough to collaborate or work together as artists.

So, to my dear artistic community: How can we stop feeling threatened by others? How can we learn from others instead? How can improve and create more relationships in our artistic community?

I can tell you what I am doing. I am in the midst of working on creating a monthly get together in our artistic community. It has been inspired by Swiss Miss and her Creative Mornings* and I am working to create something similar in our own Utah Community. I am currently working on get ting permission and a public location- and there will be more details coming soon. But for now,

I dare you to collaborate!!

(Awesome photo of working together, image by Ted Van Pelt)

*These Creative Mornings Chapters are currently full, but in talking to Tina Roth Eisenberg, she encouraged me to start my own thing, and later on try to create a chapter underneath Creative Mornings.


  1. Alma

    I have an abundance mentality. There is plenty of work to go around. And I would never be where I am today without the help of people in my own field, so why would I be stingy with sharing advice and my own experiences?

  2. Cecilia

    I think, had I gone to Alt, I probably would have felt the same way. It’s almost like being in high-school again; walking through hallways and admiring other girls’ cool outfits, or sitting in art class looking over at the next table to see what ideas your classmates are coming up with. I agree with you. While competition is healthy and drives us to work harder, that jealousy and self-doubt is horrible for the spirit. Life is short. This Fall I went to a seminar at the Design Center about doing business in the New World Economy, and one of the messages I got out of it was…full disclosure(mainly to clients). Designers in the past have been so secretive about their resources and talent, but I started a monthly collaboration with 2 designers (friends) and shortly their after, started my blog. All these design blogs (p.s. I really love yours), I feel like are tearing down those walls, and yet there is still that competition to beat the next person to the punch and come up with original content. I love this post.
    p.s. I may have to use that waterskiing photo on my blog this summer! It’s perfect – the 3!

  3. Mike

    I know I told you this at ALT, but i have always hated how it is so hard to make friends with other artists for this very reason. I honsestly don’t get it. I am certainly jealous of people that are more talented than me, but more than anything I just want to be their friend so we can “talk shop” and I can benefit from their knowledge, but alas, I had to wait until I married an artist for that experience!

    Thanks again, It was great to meet you of course, and I have been enjoying your work since we met.

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