Their backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse, yet when their creative spheres collided, perfect visual balance emerged.
Our latest Q + A throws a light on the creative behind-the-scenes dynamics between adventure photographer Lisse Wets - the Malta-based, Belgian founder of Dare to Stray - and conceptual artist Maria Galea, born and raised in Malta and whose video art, photography and drawings explore human behaviour amidst elements of enigmatic juxtapositions.
From their creative synergy, a limited-edition series of prints entitled The Wild Side of Italy has come to light, each one meticulously printed in their lab in Malta, numbered and signed. Available to purchase online, the resulting works are the perfect expression of how creative collaboration is an expression of inspired strength.
In what way does collaboration impact your creativity?
Lisse: Collaboration has pushed me to create more and try different things, to see certain places through their vision instead of just mine. The creatives I’ve met here have impacted my life in a great way and I look forward to spending my summer creating alongside them.
Maria: If it is a good collaboration, based on trust and understanding, it can have an enormous influence on my artwork. Collaborating with others, definitely expanded the boundaries for me. I get to know not only each other but also myself in the process.
You hail from differing creative backgrounds and have a very different personal journey. What one thing did you learn from each other through this collaborative project?
Lisse: Being familiar with Maria’s work, I knew I could give her full creative freedom and let her do her thing with the photo. Reaching the summit of Mount Etna for me was extraordinary as an experience and I believe Maria was able to take this photo to a greater height with her design.
Maria: I really admire how Lisse perceives the world around her and how she perfectly captures this through her camera. Having all this in mind, I tried to convey her experience on the summit of Mount Etna through the element of design. No doubt in my mind, her photographs make me want to appreciate my surroundings even more.
As a creative, what of Malta fascinates you and what do you wish you could change?
Lisse: Malta for me is a small collection of beautiful landscapes and incredible locations, there is a lot to be discovered and I strive to see it all. A change I would like to see is the amount of clutter - when hiking across the island following the Victoria Lines, which runs through very secluded areas, you will find the ground to be covered in litter at some places, while it should merely be nature. The same goes for the sea- a cleaner environment would make these islands shine even more than they already do.
Maria: Having lived in Gozo and Malta my entire life, the thing that fascinates me the most as a creative, is the amount of young local talent there is waiting to be discovered. My wish is to create more opportunities for local artists to emerge and explore their creativity to the public.
What is your motto?
Lisse: A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." As long as I can remember I have always had a tendency to simply go explore and create my own path, to venture this way fuels me as a creative.
Maria: My motto is to create structured chaos and evoke personal emotion through art. A reference from the book Art and Fear by David Bayles: “It’s the ballad of the cowboy and the mountain man, the myth of artistic integrity and Sesame Street : sing a song of your heart and sooner or later the world will accept and reward the authentic voice. “