You might recall a similar event we hosted in 2010 called Poetry & Art - ON DEMAND. The premise of the event is to encourage collaboration amongst artists and writers, two groups that rarely work together in such a free-form way. You'll learn more about the creative process of writer Andrew Kozma and artist Chris Thompson in this radio interview about A Night of Inky Improv on Houston Public Radio's The Front Row.
Here's how it works:
Four writers and four artists each get a 5-or-so-word phrase suggested by someone in the audience. They have 10 minutes to draw or write something inspired by the prompt they are handed. After the 10 minutes are up, they hand their work over to a writer (if the prompt began with an artist) or illustrator (if it began with a writer) and that person takes a look at what they've been handed and creates a story or drawing to finish the piece over the next 10 minutes. After this 20 minute period of co-creation, the clock stops and presentations begin.
Here's a look at four of the final products:
Artist - Devon Moore
Writer - Miah Arnold
Prompt - Pumpkins Growing on my Back
There was once a man who lived near a great ocean with water so potent that it killed all the vegetation around it for miles. On his twenty fifth birthday he caught six hundred and thirty three sand fleas inside a glass mason jar. Before sealing the lid he whispered his wish inside it: O please lord may I learn to grow pumpkins.
He dipped the jar in kerosene, lit it on fire, and then shattered it against the rocks in the requisite manner. He saw the fleas all burst into small firey souls and rejoiced, knowing soon they'd deliver his wish to the overlords.
Nothing happened for weeks and he was so ashamed he tried to throw himself into the sea. Instead of drowning though, he floated beachward time and time again until he remembered the shiny fire or his baby boy and decided that once he recovered his strength he would return to the job of his forefathers: fishing.
He dreamed his pimples were exploding. He dreamed it was Thanksgiving. He dreamed of Mace.
He never did wake up, but when his own son grew to maturity and went searching for sand fleas to end the misery of his life on the water he came across the patch of calabazes that had been his father and knew it was his dad all at once.
The horn above his father's anus was wide open and he screamed into it "Father, father, it is I your son, come to chase sand fleas!"
He received no reply, and he sat atop the circular glob of his father's body. He picked a small pumpkin before he left and he understood that once he ate of his father he would have no more excuses.
Artist - Katherine Kearns (aka Katsola)
Writer - Andrew Kozma
Prompt - My cat has better moves
Disco is king! (Long live the king!) And when the king says dance, you dance, or you die. (Or become a banker.) Off in the wings, Muzak loves Disco, but Disco, Disco has never loved Muzak. (When Muzak says dance, you look up, surprised. What about death? It was all so romantic, before.) What if we are just cats in heat? What if we could be cats in heat? (Love was so much simpler then.) When the insect-eyed sun glares at the particle-board night, stars burst into life. (They are smoking. They are smoking and accepting cancer as their savior, or they are on fire.) Oh, I can see through you as through a lead apron. (Our love radiates, and everything in our path starts to die. Not from despair, but from pride.)
Artist - Jeff Whiteley
Writer - Hank Hancock
Prompt - Cuddly Sloth
Monstrous and perverse. You have no idea. How am I to move about the world? How am I to operate a fork and knife? Others may be worse off than I, wholly without feet. What consolation is it, though, if all I have is feet? Below my obscured pudenda is a set of toes to really crank your kink. I used to cover my shame, but I know now that the looks I get, the slavering stares, signal my mastery over others. I am the monster!
I go nude all day. My belly button is an open invitation.
Last week I attended an art opening and overshadowed all that was merely fabricated. The artist fled. My shame was now his. And without shame, I shook hands and took pictures, and accepted invitations to dine and meet the members of various boards. I will have my portrait made. Nude of course.
Don’t call me bat-boy. Don’t call me freak. I am a monster, simple as that. Don’t ask me what I do. I just am. I’m here only to demonstrate that times are out of tune. My ears – you see them from the end of the block – are attuned to the crack of doom that rings on the great brass bell hanging from all your fine and deliberate makings. It’s fine to pretend otherwise, but you can’t resist my bodily insurrection.
Artist - Chris Thompson
Writer - Kirby Johnson
Prompt - Snowmen make good lovers
She told him she liked it rough so that’s how he played. The kids were at their grandparents and the neighbors were out of town on a long vacation so George had at it. It started with a little heavy petting, then some name-calling and spanking. She was the first girl in a long time that had taken an interest to George so he aimed to please. She was so round and white and beautiful. He didn’t want to lose her. He took off his scarf and started to whip her with it. He whipped her and she laughed and punched him. George didn’t know what to think but he didn’t want to let her down either. He was bleeding from his mouth. He could taste carrot but he ignored it and let his scrawny arms fly, his whip soaring through the air, lashing and lashing.
This event was made possible by Poets & Writers and held in conjunction with Spacetaker’s ARC Exhibition presenting the Sketchy Neighbors in The Saddest Love Story Almost Never Told: Based on a True Idea.