Upfest 2017 – Korp and his army of mutated worms

Peterborough based urban artist Korp employs multi-layered stencil techniques and marker pens to create utterly contemporary and iconographic images. An early member of the Free Art Friday movement and frequently found at live paint jams, Korp is best recognised for his marker work which consists of an army of mutated worms.           Upfest profile

Bit of background and how you got into art

I was an unacademic art student who could paint and draw easily but never put any effort in so I walked away from GCSE art with a D and didnt get back into art for another 10 years. In my 30s I started exploring different types of art and ended settling on an illustrative style and slowly become more and more involved with street art.

Influences on your work 

My earliest influence was Joan Miro, I loved the colours and the bold black lines that could be interpreted in different ways for different viewers. As I developed my own style I became influenced by Logan Hicks and his ability to create photo real artwork from multi layer stencils through to Shepard Fairey and the way he repeats the same images multiple times.

A bit about previous exhibitions / events / festivals / walls – What have you been doing this year?

I started live painting in 2010 at Upfest and collaborating with My Dog Sighs which was a baptism of fire, ever since then I’ve been hooked on the paint jams and the idea of creating your artwork in front of a crowd almost like performance art. I had my first solo exhibition last year at Play Dead which was a great success and since then I’ve been a part of several group shows including the most recent at Take a Butchers street art gallery in Dusseldorf.

What have you got coming up this year? 

I’ll be going full time as an artist this year so the plan is to get up and out more. I’m looking forward to being able to spend a lot more time on my art rather than just grabbing a quick hour here and there.

Can you tell me a bit about your work?

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A lot of people think the character I draw is a worm but it actually came from a project I took part in called the Boston Sketchbook Project. The theme of the sketchbook was “the writing on the wall” so I made it a personal look into my childhood and what happened to turn me into an artist. One page reflected on the day I realised I could draw and it was a simple as drawing around my fingers and adding little faces to them to symbolise how they came to life through creativity. Since then I have developed them with arms and feathers and my audience named them Korpworms.

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Alternatively (or as well as) Last year for my Play Dead show I wanted to explore the darker side of my art and ended up creating my blackworm character which is my manifestation of mental illness. It subtly appears in a lot of my work and in some cases is a huge part of it. Treating mental illness as an ever present character that is always there in one form or another is a coping strategy that I know works for a lot of people so I wanted it to be in amongst all my artwork as something that people can look for and identify with.

 

What do other artists say about your work?

Probably that he does nice smooth lines

What is important to you about your art?

Its important to me that my art is not just decorative, I like there to be a story or a meaning to everything I do. I like to be niche but recognisable with a subtle playfulness when the mood takes me.

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Can you tell me something about what you will be doing at Upfest?

I’ll be collaborating with Miss Wah on a big board that will be an interesting mix of her cute kawaii style and my darker characters.

What are you looking forward to about Upfest ?

I always look forward to seeing the global artists on their top game…Pichavo last year was mind blowing, likewise Herekut a year or two before.

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See Korp’s work at South Street Park

Upfest Saturday 29, Sunday 30 Monday 31 July 2017

Upfest Festival Map

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