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Interview: Corey Durbin's Extended Media

Interview: Corey Durbin's Extended Media

Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York

Tell us about yourself, how did you become an artist?

I grew up in a military and religious environment, and I had a lot of questions for and issues with authority figures. Mostly trying to understand the audacity, and miseducation, of which we're still constantly unlearning. And art is a language where we can abstract, dismantle, and reassess what we assume to understand.

"Doe", 2021. Acrylic Paint, Ballpoint Pen, Pencil, Marker, Charcoal. 30 x 20 inches.

What is your background? and how did it inform the focus of your creative exploration or the medium you're currently working with?

I never cared about medium. The craft of a thing never really interested me as much as communicating whatever idea. I went to school kind of ignorant of and discouraged from art, but I couldn't see myself doing anything else. I ended up majoring in Sculpture + Extended Media at VCU, because it's what I'd done the least, and thought "Extended Media" meant I could do whatever I wanted. Medium feels limiting and you learn more from your peers than you can in school. Mostly I'm just trying to keep learning.

Studio image

What ideas interested you in the beginning of your practice, which ideas have you continued to explore, and where have they led you?

The magical vs the miraculous and this understanding that literally everything is made up. So I've always been interested in the relationship between being and making, and of being made. How art and our assumed understanding of existing informs how we perceive reality. And in that, looking at the manipulation and commodification of concepts like love, spirit, service, freedom, punishment, etc. Ambiguity and representations of "paradise" / landscapes, magic or performance, and dogs have all been consistent in my work.

Studio image

Who were and are the biggest sources of your inspiration?

Clarice Lispector, Kathy Acker, Tracy Chapman, Iggy Pop, Mapplethorpe, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Daniel Klaas Beckwith, Beavis and Butthead.

Photograph from walks

Where do you find inspiration?

I like learning from and about people, trying new things, and challenging my idea of self. I go on a lot of walks, always trying to change up my route or where I go to  witness people or places. Take pictures of things that might be interesting later. Otherwise just being a constant consumer of art; music, writing, objects, movies, performances, whatever. 

Photograph from walks

Photograph from walks

Photograph from walks

Is there are a single work, project, or series that is pivotal in your current trajectory?

Yeah, the "Doe" painting started this current series of paintings.

Raindrops. 2020

Out of Water. 2020

How did it begin? and how did it evolve?

I never saw myself as much of a painter, and the ones I made in the last few years were mostly collage based / influenced, or really sparse and gestural. But I was disappointed in the image quality of this photo I took that I really loved, and decided to paint it to try and save what wasn't really translating in the photograph. And it worked out, so I went back into old images, or took new ones, that I thought could communicate my intent better as a painting than they did as a photo, and tie back into object-work.

Butterflies. 2020

If you could go back in time to the very beginning of your art practice and give your younger self a single piece of advice what would it be?

Stay sincere, don't be afraid to do whatever you want and share it.

"Choke Me when We Walk Together", 2021. Acrylic Paint, Ballpoint Pen, Pencil, Marker, Charcoal. 36 x 24 inches.

About the Artist

Based in Brooklyn, New York

Corey Durbin is an artist, writer, and photographer from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY.

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