We met during our undergraduate studies at University of Hartford Art School in Connecticut in 2003. As freshmen, it was encouraged to pair up in the studio as a way of motivating each other and to provide critiques outside the classroom environment. We quickly formed a friendship through this process and when we focused on our separate majors, we would still work together in the same spaces; Maria at her printing press and Fiona on her laptop. In addition to our individual art practices, we slowly began creating work together through discussion, by influencing each other across our individual disciplines and curating shows together.

After we graduated from Hartford Art School, Fiona moved to pursue a career in graphic design in NYC and Maria moved to Canada to pursue a master’s degree in printmaking. Over the years, we kept in touch and visited each other as often as we could. It was during one of these trips in 2014, that the seeds were planted for “Shared Energies”, as we both worked on a large piece of bristol board, drawing together on the exact same piece of paper for the very first time. We decided we wanted to continue this “dialogue” and thus began mailing drawings back and forth between our respective homes in New York City and Halifax. We continued to do this, accumulating 20 drawings before we met again in 2016 for a residency at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts in Inverness, Nova Scotia (Canada). This short, but aggressive residency, made it clear that to really push the project forward, we would need to meet at least once annually in the same location together. From that point onward, this is exactly what we have done. We meet once a year for residency to collaborate in the same space, while continuing to mail drawings during the rest of the year.

When we collaborate, we each pull ideas from our own visual inspiration and drawing language merging them on the page, intuitively reacting to each other’s drawings through the use of color, lines, textures and patterns. When we are together in the same space, we draw on the same piece of paper together at the same time to kick off new larger works. This allows us to react to each other’s mark-making in real time and discuss what we are visualizing for the next layer of the drawing. As we approach the finalization of a drawing, we both will come together again and draw directly on the work together until we feel it is complete.

Inspired by Carl Sagan’s famous quote, “We are all made of star stuff,” our work attempts to visualize the connection and the common ground between astronomy and the human body. Fiona interprets imagery of outer space and the space surrounding us while Maria explores the inner space of the human body as well as the microscopic world around us. Our unique styles intertwine in an unexpected explosion of energy through pen and ink on paper. Our collaborative work takes on a life of its own and neither of us can truly predict the outcome.