The Art of Partnership: Part One

Guest Blogger: David B. Lile

Hello! I am David B Lile. Being 67 years old, I have had the privilege to experience many varied moments of life, both high and low, as a human being and as an artistic photographer. But what I absolutely love about life is that it has never ceased to always amaze and surprise me! 

Four years ago, a very expressive fellow creative, Caleb Davis, sat next to me for three weekends during the “Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute” business sessions at Summit Artspace in Akron, Ohio. I would never have even been able to imagine while sitting next to Caleb, how our relationship would eventually evolve into a mutually respectful and successful, artistic business collaborative.

You see, Caleb is a celebrated abstract impressionistic painter, who has exhibited widely throughout Ohio, Kentucky, and Manhattan. His paintings reside in client collections across the United States and in Europe. Caleb uses many different mediums, such as acrylics, pastels, oil, charcoal, etc. He believes that working in a single medium is restrictive to his artistic process. Each idea manifests in its own individual style. He has a great reverence for the abstract expressionists, as well as the post-expressionists that followed.

I, on the other hand, am an elemental/artistic photographer, who has captured images from around the globe and recreated these photographic expressions through the unique and profound power of Photoshop. I have worked closely with Fortune 500 corporations, such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Summa Health Company. Ohio-based corporations are also important to me, such as my work with APG Office Furnishings. I have also centered my focus on working with numerous interior designers and design groups, in addition to residential clients, throughout the United States. 

Over those informative and inspiring weekends, we struck up what would be a long-lasting business friendship. 

Caleb thoughtfully reflected on our meeting and friendship: 

When David sat down next to me at Summit Artspace, for the art entrepreneurship class, we fell into conversation like we had known each other for twenty years. 

Neither of us was scared to strike up a conversation. I like that in a person. Instead of spending a year talking to someone to only find out their favorite color is blue, with people like David, you get to know them on a deep level quickly if you are willing to share in return. 

Through our conversations, we discussed each other’s families, life tragedies, triumphs, as well as views on art and the world. Our senses of humor also peeked out as often as it could, in a class setting. 

All of these things would become more cemented as we have continued to keep in touch every few months over the course of the years since.

I was blown away and continue to be blown away by his work and how his individual signature is clear in every one of his pieces. This is a hard thing for any artist to accomplish and I think even more so in photography than in most art forms.

Looking back at Caleb and his work, over these past 4 years, I’ve realized the core power of Caleb’s love for his family, his friendship to me, and his work; they all flow from his soul. Caleb’s passion has filled thought-provoking representations that convey the depth of life, living, and this earth. 

Our creative friendship easily took root. How can you not honor and respect someone who openly shares the deep waters of life over a few brief weekends? As we grow together through this collaboration, the scarcity of similarities does not hinder us. Diversity in any form perpetuates unparalleled beauty and complexity and this also applies to our business relationship.

David’s “City”

Over this past year, we had a singular, conceptual thought forming that he would like to use my artistic photographic imagery as his muse and foundational concept, for new, abstract, and impressionistic paintings! So in April of 2020, he perused my collection and picked an image to paint- it was a capture of Thingvellir National Park, in Iceland.

Caleb’s “City”

He created an impressionistic rendition on a small scale. From this, he received a commission request. His client asked him to paint a more elaborate, 2′ x 4′ artwork, based on my image. What a wonderful personal and financial opportunity for Caleb! Due to the success of this ongoing collaborative endeavor, Caleb plans on using more of my imagery, to be the foundational springboard for additional abstract/impressionistic paintings!

One of the many beautiful aspects of our collaboration is that when Caleb has completed his painting, it does not look exactly like my initial photograph and my photograph does not necessarily look like his final work. Each work stands alone, yet they have obscure similarities if one takes the time to truly embrace each piece.

From a business aspect, it is always a plus when collaboration takes place where both artists experience financial gain. Caleb and I agreed to a fair monetary percentage with the sales of these paintings. It’s a unique, win-win scenario for both of us. It is also quite gratifying and fulfilling to know that we, as artists, can interact together in positive ways and yet remain within each of our specialized, artistic disciplines!

Collaboration is truly a community-oriented, uplifting process that can be achieved if each artist empathically senses the talents and traits of his/her partner, seeking how they may successfully intersect and intertwine those exclusive and mutual skill sets.

It is so important, in the midst of these tumultuous and uncertain times we are all presently going through, both personally and as a society, to have the knowledge that creativity, joy, and fulfillment can still be experienced, through pARTnership!

David B Lile serves as a creative partner to interior designers, architectural firms, design agencies, global corporations, non-profit organizations, and residential spaces. He produces exceptional custom art by working intimately with organizations to understand their needs, vision, and voice. Clients are welcome to order from David’s catalog of 3,000+ images or may commission him to create custom artwork to meet specific project specifications. He is based in Cuyahoga Falls and is always open to new creative opportunities! Learn more about David’s work at and follow him @davidbryanlile. 

Caleb Davis is an abstract expressionist and impressionist. He grew up sketching the world around him in Northeast Ohio and then attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. His artwork has been on display at shows nationally and he has recently found himself the subject of a number of blogs and articles. He currently works on commissions from his studio in Columbus, Ohio.   Learn more about his work at and follow him on @calebdavisart.