Grad school hasn't started yet, so in the meantime, I'm going to comment on thoughts that I have prior to the whole experience - inspirations from other artists/websites/blogs, readings that have prompted me to reflect on my role as an artist or person, and thoughts on art that I am currently creating.
Right now, a friend and fellow artist - Julie Rais (www.julierais.com) - and I are working on a really exciting collaboration. I do pretty realistic pencil/figurative work and she does bright, happy, colorful organic abstract pieces....we are planning on swapping canvases and seeing what happens! We are in the midst of Try #1 - we each started a separate canvas. There are no 'guidelines' or things that we can/can't do, and we weren't supposed to create something with the other person in mind. Just start something, get as far as it felt like we had reached an ok stopping point, and then we trade. Now I am in the possession of the painting that she started, and vice versa.
We talked about how to proceed - we need to simply react to what is on the canvas - we can manipulate the image, work with it or change it, add to it, etc ....but it was important to say that we didn't need to work about 'hurting the other person's feelings' with whatever we did to the image. Then, once we get further along and have added our own personality to the piece, we trade AGAIN! Once the person who originally created the piece gets the chance to react again to what the other person did, and work with a little, the piece is done!
We've talked about creating other pieces that will have varying stages of each of our styles added to them - like ones with substantially more drawing than color/paint, and ones with small amounts of drawing/pencil added to the organic shapes and colors. The point is to try to create a body of work, between the two of us, that is almost like a giant circle - in the sense that it transforms from my work into a combination of both of our styles, into Julie's work, and then back into my own work again. We're both really excited about the prospect, and where it will take us with our individual art goals and art styles. It's helping me get more used to making art and not being 'protective' of it - knowing that I can always draw it again, and being ok with taking risks with it - like handing it over to someone else to do with it what they want!