Corey Lives: Color Outside The Lines
What first got you into art?
CL: I got into art because of my father, he is an artist, and school. The school I was put in always had performing arts and visual arts. That’s what got me started, it was really my father I took after him.
Did he take you to a lot of museums and art shows, or did you just see him in his own practice.
I was definitely seeing him in his own craft. He had a separate room in the house and it was filled with canvases and paintings. He isn’t into as much anymore unfortunately, but that got me started.
What kind of style did he do?
CL: Not to be degrading, but kitsch art. He painted famous people and cartoons and he painted on jeans. He also painted on canvases, but it was more cliche pop art.
Painting on clothes is making a come back. A lot of artists are doing custom clothes and jeans.
CL: Yeah I’m trying to get into that.
Was your family accepting of you wanting to become an artist?
CL: Yes, they are really supportive. They asked me about other things I was interested in. They were a little worried about what I was gonna do exactly. They were like do you wanna work for Disney, become a tattoo artist? I didn’t want to do any of that. But they never turned me down from it. When I wanted to do art school and be in a program, especially my mom she was there for me.
Was the school you were at before Pratt another art school?
CL: It was a community college, but I did get an associate degree in art. They had a little two year art program, it was a huge turning point for me. They had a little art community, the professors were cool and it really opened up art for me.
How does going to art school differ from more of a liberal arts college for you in terms of community?
CL: I noticed that at art school the diversity in the way people think and people were a lot more accepting. I felt a lot more comfortable. The school I was at before was a lot more rigid. There were people that were trying to be mathematicians and science majors and super straightforward. Going to art school was a breath of fresh air. People don’t shun you for presenting new ideas.
How has your practice and art form changed since going to art school?
CL: I’ve gotten a lot more loose. Before a was a lot more serious, there had to be some type of purpose or strong meaning behind it. A lot of things that were happening with our society and racism fueled my art. When I got to art school I saw people that seemed free. I’ll never forget walking into the painting classroom and there was one guy with a bunch of canvases that had abstract shapes and lines. It was beautiful, some of them didn’t mean anything he just got to paint.
I think that just because art doesn’t have specific meaning or purpose it can still have the same impact.
CL: Right, exactly
Have you been incorporating more abstract into your art?
CL: After my drawings class, oh my goodness yes. Whatever mark I feel like making I do it. Recently I’ve been drawing and painting on top of it, almost as a way of incorporating my emotions and feelings into the painting. It isn’t so controlled to look so polished.
Do you work large scale in order to capture the full range of the strokes?
CL: I want to work large scale, but for the most part I’ve been scribbling in my moleskine. A lot of work is done in my moleskine.
Have the historical events going on right now made you feel the need to incorporate meaning back into your work?
CL: It’s always been there, but I do see myself going back to that or at least combining that with this newfound way of going about things. My paintings before, even the ones with a lot of meaning relied heavily on how I was feeling at the time. With everything that is happening with the current events, I’ve found the need to educate myself more on what is going on. Educate myself with everything, politics, our society, what's going on. I wanna incorporate what I learn into my paintings.
Do you use a consistent medium or do you have different mediums depending on your mood?
CL: Oil paint will always be my go to when it comes to something that has a strong meaning. Pastel is the medium I would grab when it comes to jotting down a super quick feeling or emotion. I love pastels.
Do you use oil or chalk pastel?
CL: Definitely oil all the way.
Have you gotten more exposure from your collabs?
CL: Definitely, people have been hitting me up for commissions. I have never been a really big commission artist, but I’m starting to like it. After I did my collab and they dropped everything I definitely got a lot more exposure.
What are the pros and cons of commissions?
CL: You’re still working for someone else. A lot of artists dream about doing whatever they want and getting paid for it. Painting, drawing, or designing whatever you feel like is really the wave. When you have commissions you have to please your client. If they don’t like something you have to fix it.
It is kinda the reverse order when you get paid first and then you have to please rather than pleasing yourself and then getting paid.
CL: Yeah, exactly.
Do you want to do more collabs with fashion brands in the future, or pivot this into doing your own things with a larger audience?
CL: I wouldn’t mind doing collaborations with other fashion brands, but I started painting on clothes myself. I don’t think I’m gonna launch a brand encesary, but I’m enjoying this. Pretty soon I’m gonna drop some things.
Is it different painting on clothes than doing a piece for yourself?
CL: It is different, you have this lingering thought of I think this would be sick, but would this sell? I’m seeing this uprising of people on instagram that wants jeans with just paint marks on it. They are after this natural art look which is cool.
Yeah the DIY scene is making a comeback. Do you think that making clothes is in between doing a commission and doing something for yourself? You have to still think about the monetary and commercial value.
CL: Yes, I definitely agree with that; I think it is right inbetween. It is a lot more free than doing a commission, but you still are under the control of something to a certain extent because you want it to sell.
Do you think this is changing the art scene a little by making art more accessible to people that wouldn’t be able to buy a painting, but would be able to afford a shirt with the same picture?
CL: I think it is changing the art scene, it isn’t the fastest change. But yes, people can now purchase your art and not worry about saving up to support you.
So a past project idea you had was to have the music you were listening to influence your strokes, what was that like?
CL: At the time I was exploring different times of doing art. When I first came to art school I was presented with a new way of thinking. I realized if I let other factors, music, take over and I’m just present and let my hands follow. Whatever would happen on the page would just happen on the page. I wouldn’t purposefully do that anymore, but the music I listen to still has an effect.
What kind of music do you like to listen to while you create?
CL: I listen to everything. Recently I’ve been listening to Earl, Tyler, Kendrick and this brazilian music that is so crazy. A little bit of jazz and TED talks and podcasts.
Do you have a favorite TED talk?
CL: There’s this one called Your Elusive Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love that TED talk and I’ve probably listened to it 50-70 times by now. I like to listen to certain things that will calm me and put me in a good place to do my work. That TED talk never fails, I love it.
I heard this interesting one about slow motion multi- tasking, doing a lot of projects over a longer period of time. The energy will bounce between projects and keep you stimulated.
CL: That sounds like a good idea.
What do you see yourself wanting to pursue in the future?
CL Just reaching out to other artists and getting their perspective on how they do art. Reaching out to galleries and trying to get my art into galleries, working on my craft. I am involved in two sides, the fine art and the fashion I want to produce. I want to get into sewing, making the pieces and then painting on it.
The fine art community is getting so loose in what it actually means to be a fine artist. You can make whatever and it’ll still be art.
Do you think that the way art is being taught is keeping up with how inclusive is it becoming?
CL: Speaking from my perspective, the professors I did have actually been a huge help in leading me to other artists, especially artists of color.
Do you have any favorite artists of color?
CL: Right now definitely Jennifer Packer, Kerry James Marshall and Kara Walker.
What in particular about these artists draws you to them.
CL: I’m still getting into Jennfirer Packer;s work, but it is loose and free. I thas that concept that I was interested in last semester, freedom and control. She does washes with an underpainting and then goes in and details certain parts.
Do you think that being in New York has helped expose you to a lot more artists?
CL: Yeah I realized that when I went back home to visit. I love Florida, but it feels so safe. For the most part it feels like a get away land where people color in the lines and do beach scenes and clouds. When I got to New York it was a combination of everything.
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