Over six months, Hackney-based collective Nous Vous explored the nature of collaboration, challenging the perception of illustration as a solo pursuit.
The residency culmintaed in Nous Vous: Three Men in a Boat an exhibition of 12 large-scale illustrations of Jerome K. Jerome’s classic novel, collaboratively created using a self-built, three-person drawing machine. This impractical approach served as a catalyst for discussions around the potentials and pitfalls of collaborative practice.
Jay Cover says of the residency:
We used a three person drawing device to illustrate a story that amusingly mirrors our endeavours; that articulates the nature of attempting to do something together, working as a three (To Say Nothing Of The Dog). The book serves as a way of describing certain aspects of collaboration: being silly, having fun, getting frustrated, trying new things and failing. Even though I consider the majority of the drawings very ugly, crude and unrefined, they truly convey in their scale and in their jittery, uncertain line, a collaborative visual conversation.
Nicholas Burrows says:
We’re trying to make images which could not have existed without all three of us working on them. We’re trying to make something that surprises us, makes us laugh, in a way that we can’t predict or properly control – and that gives a clear indication of the process through the marks.
William Luz says:
The process raises questions, such as who is the illustrator here – the pen, our collective limbs, our combined brain-waves, our bodies? This is practice as research, drawing as discourse.
Find out more about Nous Vous's residency from their diaries: