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Collaboration can be a useful process: it allows for the ego to be subdued, for the ears and eyes to be opened and for dialogue to be refined. It is a sharing, a breaking down of barriers and restraints. Collaboration is both a liberator and a sharpener.

BichardTroj began in 2013 with a collage of one of Bichard’s works by Iva and a simple invitation from her to start working together. The works have since developed through photographed partial narratives, fragments of new and former work and a natural process of construction and re-construction before the works are finalized as paintings. Throughout the process, the works are used as a means of questioning and revealing: the artist’s role in image making, the embedded tropes of gender in art, the nature of gender identity in culture and a reverie in storytelling. The outcomes are an intuitive drifting together of ideas, aesthetics and politics.

“Our parallel life stories have a lot in common, saturated with strange encounters, unbelievable coincidences and the strong childhood desire to belong. Failure to learn and obey the acceptance codes of society is also something we share. I strongly believe that the future of arts is in collaborations. I also think that this process has already started as the elitist notion of high culture saturating the world of fine art is beginning to dissolve. Youth culture anywhere in the western world is a proof of that. By saying that I do not in any way claim that working with other artists is easy. On the contrary, finding the right (for me) people to work with was very hard. I spent decades looking for somebody who could see through my eyes the way people did where I grew up – the mountains on the Bulgarian/Greek border. As I moved farther and farther away from the mountains, I met fewer and fewer people who spoke the same emotional and visual language. Growing up with all knowing, powerful storytellers and healers, learning from them then watching them disappear, made me distant and unwilling to communicate. The collaborations have changed that.”
Iva Troj

All works copyright 2015 John Paul Bichard and Iva Troj