Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interview - Crispin Korschen

Crispin Korschen is a woman of many talents. Originally an illustrator, she's now an exhibiting artist as well as a designer, a businesswoman and, of course, a blogger. Her paintings are distinctive for their whimsy and warmth and for the way they express so clearly and endearingly what it is to be human. I am in love with her work and in awe of her talent and so I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed. Welcome, Crispin!

Crispin Korschen [source]

Tell us a bit about yourself, your work and achievements.

I’m an artist, designer and lover of all things quirky. I grew up in Wellington New Zealand, which is a very creative, little capital. When I finally worked out that I could have a career being creative, I went to design school and trained to be an illustrator.  I worked as an illustrator for a number of years and then followed my other strong pull to go travelling. I ended up living in Kenya for ten years. Once I came home I started to paint full time and created my design company barkingmad.

To me when I think about achievement I think about the things that make me want to keep doing what I’m doing. Of course I am proud of the achievements I have had in becoming a fulltime exhibiting painter and building my design company up but what I love most is the connection I make with people through my art. I also love the idea that my art creates more connections when people give one of our cards or image blocks to people they love.

Crispin Korschen 'Finding your Happy Place' acrylic on canvas [source]

Did you always know you wanted to be an artist or did you come to it later? What steps did you take to make it happen?

I have always been creative from the time I was little. I was always drawing or making things. Being creative is a force in my life that has always come out in one way or another. But it took me a while to realise that this was something I could do as a career. When I did realise it I went to design school and trained as an illustrator. I worked as an illustrator for a number of years in New Zealand but then had a break when I was overseas. When I came back home I decided to paint full-time. It took me time to build up my painting skills again and to find my galleries but once I had done that I realised I still really enjoyed design. So I created my design company barkingmad. Now I love the balance of being an artist, a designer and a businesswoman.

Crispin Corschen 'Return to Me' [source]

Could you describe a typical day? How do you balance different tasks (eg. parenting, painting, administration etc)?

I try to divide the days of the week into painting /creative days and working on the business days. I find if I try to do both in one day I just feel torn between the two and guilty that I’m not doing the other one. On the business days I work on my design company barkingmad, doing accounts, emails, social media, updating the website etc. I try really hard not to check blogs, facebook pages and emails on my painting days because you can easily find you’ve lost a couple of hours before you even start painting.

Most of my work is done between eight and four. Then the kids come home from school and I’m over working by then usually. I do try to go to the gym or for a walk in the middle of the day to refresh myself. I find walking fantastic when I’m stuck on something.  Usually about ten minutes into the walk I have sorted the problem in my head.

Crispin's home featured in House & Garden [source]

How do you go about developing ideas for new work?

Usually what I do is take my drawing book and go to a cafĂ© and sit and I don’t let myself leave until I have a whole lot of new ideas. Sometimes at the start it feels like my brain can’t think of anything but if I wait long enough and play with words and quick sketches ideas will start pouring out. At this stage I do quick thumbnail sketches, add the words and maybe I start thinking about the colours the painting will be.  Then I take each of those thumbnails and turn them into a painting. If it’s a complex painting I will do a detailed drawing of it first but if not I’ll just start drawing the idea straight onto the canvas.

Crispin Korschen 'The Lovely Balance of you and Me' [source]

Could you tell us where you go when you need inspiration? (Could be online - blogs and websites – or inspirational places where you live.)

I actually try not to look at what other people do too much because I don’t want to be influenced by their work, mainly by their ideas rather than their technique.

For me inspiration comes from letting your sub-conscious mind have time to daydream. So I need to fill my mind up with all the things I love - books, movies, people - and I need to let it have time off from work. If I do this I find that when I call on my brain to think up new ideas it will come out with all sorts of weird and wonderful things. It’s a little bit like opening a door and just letting things wander out.

Crispin's studio space [source]

What are your favourite tools/materials for creating?

I love drawing…but my work is mostly painting. I also love colour so paints (especially oil paints) are glorious to play with. But there is something lovely about working slowly with pencil and paper to create an image with shadow and light.

Crispin Korschen 'Joy' [source]

Thank you so much for joining us here and letting us into your creative process, Crispin. Your work is beautiful, poignant and uplifting and I urge everyone to check out more at the following links:

Crispin Korschen's blog
Crispin's website
Crispin's original paintings
Barkingmad shop selling cards, prints and image blocks
Barkingmad on Facebook


I interview creative people here every Wednesday. Click here to read more interviews. 'Like' the Art by Wiley Facebook page to get the latest updates!