Artists and craft workers may choose to work in isolation but they can never isolate themselves from the past and its influences on their personal philosophy and work. They all build on the heritage of their forebears’ development of skills and materials. Many groups of artists choose to pool their knowledge and direct it towards a common goal, resulting, for example, in some of the great art movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. Monet’s relationship with Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley was a classic example of this, and a key element in forming the movement called Impressionism. Charles Saatchi’s relationship with, and support of, the YBAs (Young British Artists) has resulted in many dynamic works.

Most paintings are combinations of subtle relationships of colour, tone and form. The aims may be different but the processes are similar. Hard, sharp edges and geometric forms may be exaggerated by juxtaposition with soft organic ones and vice versa. Metal and flesh, glass and fruit, oil and fur in certain combinations turn into fascinating still-life compositions. Complementary colours amplify each other’s intensity. Red can appear redder alongside green, and the green in turn can seem more verdant.

In design, the relationship between function and form continues to generate intriguing solutions and impressive products, regardless of whether they are enormous buildings or tiny consumer goods.

Certain partnerships have resulted in incredible artworks. Here are just a few for you to explore: Gilbert and George, Jeanne-Claude and Christo, the Chapman Brothers, the Boyle Family, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Jane Morris, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Chuck Close and Philip Glass.

Flotsam and jetsam, reed beds, beaches, sunset, moonrise Love, war, passion, hatred Zips, knots, padlocks, chains, gates, dividers Symbiosis, twins, siblings, parents

Wheels and tracks, skis, skates and ice, crowds and performances Market stalls, public houses, post offices, parks, lifts, public transport Social networking, parties, clubs and societies, sport, teams Fish and chips, jam and bread, tea and scones, bacon and eggs, curry and rice Sheep and wool, wool and humans, leather and cows, eggs and chickens

Pets and owners, predators and prey, vermin Dolls, video games, action figures, obsessions.

Lascaux Paintings

Theodore Gericault


Andy Goldsworthy

Cai Guo-Qiang

Richard Long

Ando Hiroshige




Colour theory

Cindy Sherman

Frida Kahlo

Gilbert and George

Jean Claude and Christo

Boyle Family

Chapman Brothers

Chuck Close

Diego Rivera

Dante Gabriel Rosseti