This Thursday, art associate professor Cara Jaye will present the story of her collaborative, mixed-media art exchange project, "Crossover 2," to students and community members at Western Washington University. A WWU faculty member since 1997, Jaye teaches a variety of courses within the art department – many with an emphasis on drawing – as well as less traditional courses, such as this quarter’s mixed media on paper class. Jaye’s presentation will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Communications Facility Room 125.
The concept for "Crossover 2" stemmed from a similar project that began in 2007, titled "Crossover 1." That series of pieces was made in conjunction with Mexican artist Miguel Angel Rivera, a friend of Jaye’s since her teaching days at the University of West Virginia.
“We decided that since he was working there (in Mexico) and I was working here, we would start working together on a piece that focused on ideas about crossing borders, and those ideas could be conveyed by the two of us sending work back and forth to one another,” says Jaye.
Pleased with the outcome of the border-crossing art exchange, Jaye and Rivera decided to expand the project in a second round, inviting others to participate. Jaye and Rivera contacted other artists whom they knew or had worked with previously and ended up with a total group of five artists to take part in "Crossover 2."
The additional artists working on the project are Melanie Yazzi, a Navajo artist from Colorado; Patricia Villalovos-Echeverria, a Nicaraguan artist who lives in the United States; and Alejandro Perez Cruz, of Mexico. Jaye says the project began in 2009, when each artist made an array of pieces, and then sent a variety (generally between five and 10 pieces) to each of the other artists. The next artist then added his or her layer to each piece, and sent them on to the next, keeping the art in an ongoing rotation among participants.
“It’s a fluid project, and is hard to control,” Jaye says. “At the same time that I was sending everyone my projects, each of them started projects which they sent in batches to me and the others. So I don’t even know exactly where everything is at this point in time, although I have sent e-mails to people to try to track things down.”
Jaye says that the ongoing nature of the project, which is still in motion, can make tracking progress difficult, but fun at the same time. By having a complete variety of who is working on what piece at any given time, it is guaranteed that no two pieces will end up alike, as each is in a different stage of production while in the possession of each artist.
“If I’m one of the first to work on something and then send it, I have less control over the final outcome of that piece than I do over those that other people have already worked on,” Jaye says. “So it’s really pretty experimental. It means I don’t have a lot of say over the final product, but that’s what’s fun about it.”
"Crossover 2" is still a work in progress, but Jaye has other work boldly displayed on WWU’s campus. "Lofty Aspirations," a piece created in collaboration with art department Professor Seiko Purdue, is a collaged paper cloud assortment, stretching a two-story vertical span of the building’s seven floors. The piece was made in 2010 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Viking Union building.
While Jaye’s presentation this Thursday will divulge the full process behind the creation of "Crossover 2," she may also share some of her more recent work - a series of drawings layered on top of digital images that are "somewhat collaborative" with her 3-year-old daughter.
Jaye's presentation is part of WWU’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Faculty Research presentation series, the purpose of which is to provide opportunities to learn about research, publication of research and the direction research is taking in various disciplines and cross-disciplinary areas of the university. Presentations will be facilitated by faculty members currently or recently involved in substantial research or research and development projects.