‘observe a fishtank’

Two artists? Yep. This is Manja Eland {left} and Saskia Overzee {right}, but together they are Observe A Fishtank. I have been following them on Instagram for ages, and have been totally curious about their collaborative paintings? How does it work? Who does what? I asked, and they told me:

OBSERVE A FISHTANK, a visual dialogue  Observe a Fishtank is the second of five drawing lessons by Paul Klee. It’s also the title of the drawing collaboration two artists from Eindhoven, the Netherlands initiated in 2018. Looking to challenge their artistic ability they started a visual dialogue. Saskia Overzee and Manja Eland met each other when they both had their studio at Sectie C. Since Manja moved they have been meeting at Saskia’s studio to draw together every couple of weeks.  

PROCESS  The artists try to stretch their artistic routines and drawing hand. When drawing on the same piece of paper they respond to each other’s input in texture and line, not shying away from working over what the other has drawn. The essence of their creative process is searching by doing. In the end result it is impossible to distinguish who did what, sometimes even for themselves. To work so closely together requires flexibility and trust. In this synergy they create work that they wouldn’t make alone. 1+1=3, you could say. The artists prefer work to be layered and complex, maybe even with a little friction.

All works are made with liquid acrylics, ink, pen, pencil and sometimes crayon on heavy paper. Dimensions vary from 30×42 to 100×150 cm.

SPIN OFFS  Under the title Observe a Fishtank they create collaborative originals but also individual spinoffs. Saskia makes digital collages based on parts of the drawings they made together. Manja sometimes incorporates bits and pieces of the originals as layers into her digital drawings. So not only do they create new collaborative work, they also let the style and creative process inspire and influence their own work.

So beautiful and fun and exciting! ps. Here’s an example of two of their “spin offs”. The first is by Saskia, and the second is Manja’s work:

*bio photo by Anniek Mol

comments (4)

  1. Jillian Harvey /// 02.29.2020 /// 12:44am

    Love this collaboration. It brings joy looking at it and you can see the sense of fun between artists.

  2. Vita /// 02.29.2020 /// 11:12am

    So whimsical and beautifully lively!
    A joy to look at!

  3. Michelle Gallagher /// 03.01.2020 /// 12:16pm

    Beautiful collaboration of work, the flow is continuous, all the delicate feathery lines.

  4. Sarah! /// 03.03.2020 /// 9:15am