A new art project at the Saint John Arts Centre is showing the power of creative collaboration between two long-distance friends.

Longtime friends and artists Maria Doering and Fiona Chinkan may live more than1300 km apart, but creatively, they are always on the same page.

“Our way of working together started a long time ago,” explains Doering.

The two artists met at art school in Connecticut, but parted ways after graduation, with Doering moving to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and Chinkan residing in New York City.

It was during a visit in 2014 when they discovered a new way of working together.

“We were drawing on this big sheet of Bristol board,” explains Chinkan. “She just had it laying out on her dining room table, and I’d sat down and started drawing, and she was in the other corner drawing, and slowly we started to meet in the middle.”

They now meet once a year in artist residencies to work on large-scale pieces. This year’s residency is at the Saint John Arts Centre, a piece made up of four large panels titled ‘Shared Energies: Cells, Stars and the Fluidity Between’.

“The starting point for it is sort of the deep field view of the hubble space telescope that was published where it’s this big black with little dots, and you zoom in and you see a spiral galaxy as you keep zooming in,” explains Doering.

“It was really inspiration to me to see that image, and when I brought it up to Maria she had happened to see the same image as well,” adds Chinkan.

The residency runs until August 9th at the Arts Centre and is open to the public, who are encouraged to come in and talk with the artists, and watch their unique artistic process unfold.

“We try and improvise as we go through it,” says Chinkan. “I don’t get locked into an idea and she doesn’t either, so being next to each other and work in the same space is amazing.”

An artistic collaboration that allows old friends to catch-up and create.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.