Of the many art pieces that hang on the walls of Jodi Whitlock's and David Hansen's Sioux City home, the one titled "Perhaps This Time" is probably the most unique. It's an eclectic piece, a mish-mash of different items scrounged together and arranged haphazardly. Whitlock and Hansen, who are engaged to each other, collaborated on the work in 2015. They joke that "Perhaps This Time" technically wasn't the couple's first collaboration.
"He was," said Whitlock, pointing to her 9-month-old son Malaki, who was happily bouncing in a suspended harness. He looked up at his mama with wide open eyes, watching her every move as she pointed out the intricate details and revealed the backstory of the shared art piece.
"There was an art competition that a student from Morningside College set up at Vangarde Arts," said Whitlock. "It was about mixing music with art. So we mixed my art with [Hansen's] musical equipment."
The base of the work was made with an old, warped painting that belonged to Whitlock. The couple took turns assembling the piece by adding aged photo transfers, a necklace made of now-wilted dandelions and old guitar strings, among other things.
"I had a couple different [electric guitar] pickups and other parts laying around," said Hansen. "But this is an actual working guitar. You can play this when you plug it into an amplifier."
Hansen compared the sound of the art piece (and functional instrument) to the American noise rock/post-punk band Sonic Youth.
The piece wowed the judges of the art competition, earning Whitlock and Hansen the first place prize -- a gallery show at Vangarde Arts. Hansen said he planned to pair "Perhaps This Time" with an amp so that guests can test out the the sound of the piece.
He even wrote a song with it in hopes of playing it at the Vangarde Arts show, but decided not to. Instead, Hansen arranged for four bands to perform live music after the the gallery's reception -- Psychic Greetings, Sammy Dimera, Heathen and Nameless.
All the while, Whitlock's collection of blind contour paintings will be on display. The artist and adjunct instructor at both Morningside College and Western Iowa Tech Community College said about 30 of her paintings will be selected for the gallery.
To make these contour paintings, Whitlock starts with a photo. Most are black-and-white glamour shots of people from around the 1930s. With her gaze fixated on the photo, Whitlock uses a Sharpie to draw one continuous line until her marker falls off the canvas.
"Then I'll find a spot and go back into it," she said. "I'll start again somewhere else. I started doing it with my drawing classes. I'd make the students draw each other blind. It was so hilarious and strange and weird, but I loved it."
The result is a series of portraits that bear a skewed resemblance to their original photo source. Whitlock said she sees the gallery as a "palate cleanser" and hopes to work on more realistic pieces in the future. Perhaps even more collaborative pieces with her musician fiance?
Who knows? It's possible. Combining both mediums was enjoyable for Whitlock and Hansen.
"We just threw it together and were just having fun with it," said Hansen. "We wanted to collaborate and have fun."