Working ​With Your Significant Other​​: ​4 Things You Need To Know​

By Gillie and Marc Schattner 

W'v been married for 25 years and making art together for most of that time. Turning our passion of art into our career wasn’t easy, but it has certainly been one of the most rewarding experiences of our life alongside raising our children. 

Don’t be turned off the idea of going into business with your partner; it’s amazing and we couldn’t recommend it more. Here’s a few things we’ve learnt over the years. 

IT CAN BRING YOU CLOSER TOGETHER

Gillie: When we first started we would each create our own paintings and release them in a single exhibition. Ultimately it ended up causing a bit of tension between us depending on who sold more, leading us to begin painting side-by-side on the same canvas so that way we both took sole responsibility for an artwork. 

Marc: It completely changed the way we created; the first year we painted together was also the first year we were accepted into the Archibald Prize. Creating art side-by-side lead us to create our art alter-egos Dogman and Rabbitgirl. Overcoming the tension helped us grow as artists and as a couple. We’ve never looked back since.

YOU HAVE TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO

Gillie: People often ask us how we balance home life and work life and the honest answer is that we don’t; we’re switched on all the time. We live and breathe art so whether we’re out having dinner or at home watching Game of Thrones, if we think of a good idea we aren’t waiting until we’re in the studio to share it. 

Marc: If you love what you do you’ll never get annoyed when you inevitably start discussing work outside of designated work time. We’re always brainstorming and as a result our artwork is constantly evolving and changing. Working outside of standard 9 to 5 hours never feels like a chore, because creating art together is our favourite pastime. 

THERE’S A BIT OF GIVE AND TAKE

Marc: Compromise when it is time to compromise. You may not always agree but you must always acknowledge their ideas and let them happen. Support each other no matter what, you have to respect their opinion in a business sense, it won’t work if you don’t.

Gillie: Where there is passion there is conflict, just make sure you can be mature and everything will work out. Balance the less desirable jobs such as cleaning, finance and admin as well as taking an equal part in the aspects you both love!

YOU ARE GREATER THAN THE SUM OF YOUR PARTS

Marc: Working with your partner is really a case of 1+1=3. With two people thinking creatively around the clock a lot more gets created and the better you know each other the far superior the ideas that are realized. 

Gillie: Unlike a traditional business partnership, you are equally invested with someone who has the same life goals as you, someone who is on the same path right until the end. When you identify what your individual strengths are and are there to support each other no matter what you’ll find yourself doing things you never thought possible.  

Gillie and Marc are husband and wife artists and the creators of Dogman and Rabbitgirl, animal/human hybrids who travel the world as public art spreading the message of peace and equality. Their passions include animal rights, travel and art. Find them on Facebook, Instagram, or at their art blog.