Artists step closer to translating their art in ‘Transliterations’

By Tiffanie Reynolds |

Sara Pedigo and Liz Robbins not only presented the connection between arts in “Transliterations,” but also discovered the connection between themselves in the artistic process.

“You know, it seems like such a different endeavor to paint or draw versus to write a poem, but there are so many common threads in the process of creating,” said Sara Pedigo, the artist of the collaboration. “And part of if became getting to know my own creative process better. There was a certain amount of self-reflection that came with our conversations, which I thought was really nice.”

“Transliterations,” by Flagler college professors Pedigo and Robbins, is the current presentation in the college’s Ideas and Images program, combining Robbins’ poetry with Pedigo’s artwork to create pieces that use both the words and images to tell a story. It is displayed in the Crisp-Ellert Museum from Oct. 16 to Nov. 21, and has been a six-month collaboration between the poet and the artist.

Pedigo and Robbins first worked together on the cover of Play Button, Robbins’ second published book of poetry. Robbins admired Pedigo’s artistic style and assumed Pedigo would select one of her previous paintings for the cover. Instead, Pedigo read the collection of poems in the book and created new paintings based off of Robbins’ poems, which sparked the idea of a collaboration between the two artists in the future.

“One of my favorite parts about this collaboration was that I found a kindred spirit in Sara. We’ve developed a friendship from this and an understanding of each other as artists,” says Robbins.

The biggest challenge for Pedigo and Robbins was learning how to mix their personal creative process in order to work together. They quickly fell into a pattern of creating new work themselves, then figuring out how to combine them when both artists were able to meet and share their work. This not only helped them see how they worked separately, but also gave each artist a chance to change how they worked on their art.

“When I was making work in response to Liz’s poems, even more so I got to step outside of myself sometimes or think about pulling in things that I wouldn’t just naturally pull in,” said Pedigo.

Working with Pedigo helped Robbins slow down her writing process, working with a poem longer than she normally does.

“I think having to be accountable in a different way with somebody was definitely good for me,” said Robbins.

It was this correspondence of creativity that inspired Pedigo to title the gallery of work “Transliteration,” which is the rendering of the letters or characters of one alphabet into another, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. For Pedigo and Robbins, it was the process of translating paintings into poetry and vice versa.

“The theme just became seeing what comes out of this process: You writing poetry based on my paintings and me making paintings and drawings based on your poems,” said Pedigo.

Robbins added, “I think it’s also the idea of what would happen to two distinct arts when they merge. You know, what different art can be created from that.”

Both artists already carry several recognitions and awards under their own belts. Pedigo, an assistant professor in the Flagler art department, has had artwork displayed in galleries such as the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and is also a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant.

Robbins, an associate professor in the Flagler English department, is the poet of two collections of poetry, with her second book of poetry, “Play Button,” winner of 2010 Cider Press Review Book Award. She has also received the 2012 YellowJacket Press prize for her chapbook, “Girls Turned Like Dials.”

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