Briefly describe the work you do.
I consistently explore and work to find methods that transform ordinary man-made materials into forms that convey and embody organic growth and change. The materials are reconfigured but still hold their original identity. There is a linear component as well as an intuitive physicality to the forms I create by using material such as wire. Although my forms are mostly created through the process of instinct and play, I choose wire to build skeletal and structural elements for most of my work. I research and look at books revolving around Botany, Mycology, and plant anatomy for inspiration.
I have a goal to create my own world that viewers can explore the different visions of my biomorphic abstractions. I combine materials to create repetitive versions of organisms that will continuously evolve, because I see endless possibilities. I am experimenting with the power of growth that happens in changes of process, scale, space and interactivity with the work I am developing.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
Growing up my family has had a huge impact on who I am, and how I got to be where I am. I am lucky to be surrounded and supported by such talented and intelligent individuals. I look up to my parents more than anything. My father is a carpenter and my mother is a painter and creator. They surrounded my three younger siblings and me by creativity and encouragement that we could be anything we wanted. Aside from my artwork, I work for a jewelry designer in Salem, MA, and she has been one of my biggest inspirations. I have acquired a work ethic, learned many techniques and she has been a huge supporter of mine since I interned for her a little under 4 years ago. I love being in creative atmospheres.
Environment is significant to my work. I have had the experience of growing up on both sides of the country. Born and raised in California until the age of twelve, then moved to New Hampshire where my family has been for the past ten years. It was a change of surroundings and has been a rollercoaster to say the least. This is where my sculpture work stems from.
I am driven by the experience of instillation. I am interested in the emotion, sensation and curiosity that come from an interaction between the viewer and the environment that surrounds them.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I have had three studio experiences; not having a studio, a studio in a group of 45 communal studios, and lastly a studio space that I am alone in. I worked differently in each setting so it is a mixture of both traditional and non-traditional.
When I first started creating art I never really knew what having my own space could do for myself as an artist and how it improves the work I create with no limitations on my process. Being able to leave my studio in a mess and come the next day to jump right back into a project puts my mind at ease. Not having a studio cut off my exploration of material, which is important to my process.
Communal studios are spaces where connections and collaborations with peers come to life. I appreciated having an open studio next to other artists. It gave my work the extra push needed by small critiques, and socially talking amongst each other about our art helped to improve my artistic dialect. Although, I found myself only creating art when I was alone and the building was silent.
In my current studio, I try every week to have long traditional workdays because that’s when I get my best work done. My studio is also mobile. The time I spend in a sketchbook, the time I spend researching my subject matter, and the time I spend looking and applying to shows is the work that can be done outside of the studio.
To be comfortable in the workspace is important to my artwork; by comfortable I mean creating an environment that I can draw inspiration from. It’s necessary for my materials to surround me.
In result, it is important for my work to have my own space.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I never really thought of roles outside of being an artist working to show in galleries. At Penland School of Crafts I never pictured myself being able to stand in front of a large group of extremely talented people and present my artwork.
Being told by someone that they are inspired by my artwork is something I only daydream about and is motivational to create the best work I can.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
When I first started to work in a studio, that I could call my own, it was in a building with 45 or so other studios. I found, during that time, I created my best work late at night into the early morning. It was a completely different, and silent, space to work in.
In my studio now, however, I have a room all to myself. I do my best to set time aside everyday dedicated to working in my sketchbook. When I am working in the studio it needs to be for long period of time. I go through what I call experimentation warm up of ideas with different materials to develop a stronger form. After that process I begin to build a piece.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
Well, in the last five years my work as drastically changed. I went into art school trying to find myself as an artist. I assumed coming from high school I would be a painter; little did I know I would fall for sculpture. I improved most when I received my first studio. My earlier work lacked concept, and I struggled with that for a while until one day I looked at all my structures and saw the connection that carried from piece to piece. Which was the destruction and reconstruction to abstractly transform objects and materials to look organic. The next issue I faced was that I couldn’t break past my comfort zone and constructing pieces that were the same size. My work evolved when I had a space to build larger structures. My process of creating has been the only thing to stay the same.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Family, friends, as well as past professors, all make a huge impact on my work. I don’t know where I would be without these relationships. I have been introduced to things I may have never known about. In fact a friend of mine looked at my art and said, “Hey! You would love Ernest Haeckel,” and what do you know, one of the biggest influences for my artwork are the prints of Ernest Haeckel in Art Forms in Nature. It changed my world. Many artists like Eva Hesse, Eliana Heredia, Mary Button Durell and Tara Donovan inspire me, and are great influences for the way that they transform material.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I would want to be a geologist who specializes in mineralogy. I would also enjoy the study of gemology!! As a kid I collected books on minerals and gemstones, finding these forms to be the most fascinating shapes and incredibly beautiful colours. I used to beg my parents to buy me crystallization kits from the toy store. “Discover” rocks and fossil kits were also a favorite; I was so entertained chipping away at the hardened sand to dig out objects. I have a fascination with discovery and I see that now with the process in creating my sculptures. I would love to start working with the structures minerals have in my current work.
Corynn Larkin (b.1992 San Jose, CA) is currently living and working in southern New Hampshire. May 2014, Larkin graduated from Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture. While attending school she studied abroad summer of 2013 in Viterbo, Italy. Larkin received the William and Ruth Fusco Prize to Encourage Artistic Achievement, awarded to one student out of the graduating class.
She was juried into a two part show at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA called “30 under 30,” Larkin was chosen to exhibit in the second show “Spotlight Six,” which takes a closer look at six out of the thirty participating artists. Since graduating, she was a studio assistant at Penland School of Crafts for artist Elizabeth Alexander and she has been actively working in her studio.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.