The Cooperating Hands of Artists

Many artists have similar journeys on their way to discovering their original creative voice. Initially, one becomes a fan of a certain form of expression. Then comes a period of acquisition and experimentation that serves to hone one’s skills by copying styles and techniques and developing personal themes of interest. Once a personal language is appropriately developed, collaborations become an act of sharing and mutual exploration.

Raphael Gonzalez (@zurbaran1 on IG) has been photographing street art and artists at work for quite some time. He is highly dedicated to the art form, and supports local as well as visiting artists who often come to New York City. Recently, Raphael created a series of collaborations that are part of his solo photography show “The Hand of an Artist”, on display at Fatty’s in Astoria, Queens.


Giz (@giz_nyc) with Raphael Gonzalez

How did you meet your collaborators and what made you start working together?

RG: “While documenting street art I found myself increasingly running into artists on the street as they worked. I am fascinated by the creative process and the opportunity to capture it on film. Once I became comfortable with many of the artists it just seemed like a logical progression to see if we could work together.”

Noir (@noir_bt) with Raphael Gozalez

What works for you as a photographer collaborating with a street artist?

“I give the artists an opportunity to see themselves in a way they can’t while they are working. They can examine themselves and their work from a different angle and add elements of originality, which enhance the captured moment in time.”

City Kitty (@citykittystreet) with Raphael Gonzalez

How do you feel your own work is affected when you collaborate with the other person?

“When I work with highly creative people it encourages me to step up my game, to try and add my own element of creativity beyond a simple photograph. If I shoot with a collab in mind I generally look at the scene with a slightly different perspective.”

Trans1 (@trans1graffiti) with Raphael Gonzalez

How does collaborating affect your own work?

“Collaborating enhances my work, no question. It’s a partnership from which I learn and can apply what I learn to all my work. I greatly enjoy working with artists and hope to continue to collaborate on new and exciting ideas in the future.”

Raphael Gonzalez aka @zurbaran1