This month’s featured artist, Stephanie Corfee, comes from a diverse background that includes a formal education in Biology as well as Fine Arts. She has has worked as a watercolorist, a fashion designer, a portrait artist, and as graphic designer and we are very honored to have her in our family of great artists. Her style includes balanced curves, popping neon brights, and intricate patterns that come together to make a very beautiful and unique collection of art. In a recent interview, we got to know her a little bit better and here is what we found out:
GB: How & why did you decide to become an artist?
SC: I was all about academics throughout school and up until college, studying Biology/Pre-Med. I decided to take art classes as much as possible so I could minor in Art. I had grown up loving all things art-related and drawing my brains out when I wasn’t studying. Then in my junior year of college, I just decided that if my whole life was going to be spent in the sciences, I wanted to at least have an art degree. So, I ended up switching my major to Studio Art on the spot, and graduated just shy of a double major in Biology. After graduation, I finished the courses I needed for the Bio major with full intentions of continuing on, but by that point, the creativity bug had gotten to me and I barely looked back.
GB: What aspect of art do you love best?
SC: That’s a tough one. I like the uniqueness. I like creating something that is one of a kind. I love MATERIALS! Playing with different materials to get different effects is fascinating in itself. I love the idea of creating something that wasn’t there before and surprising myself in the process. Art as a career is something to love also, because it allows me to work from home and be with my kids, and make my own schedule to some degree.
GB: Could you explain the emotion and scene in your Ballerina piece?
SC: I love creating characters and I had this little ballerina gal in my head wearing black & white striped tights with her fluffy pink tutu. Instead of sketching that character, I think I sort of painted her essence. Lots of movement in the strokes. Happy color. A twirling feeling…and those few black & white stripes. I guess its sort of an image of carefree childhood.
GB: How would you describe your style in 3 words?
SC: Colorful. Layered. Happy.
GB: Neon Jelly Fish has a very interesting and warm set of colors. Can you explain your choices here? If there is no explanation and you just went with it – what were you feeling when you created this piece?
SC: Sometimes I feel drawn to harmonious colors and playing with like hues. For that piece, I remember feeling moved to break up all the monotony. The neon told me to do it! HA! It sounds crazy, but I will look over at my paints sometimes, and really feel a color speaking to me…that it needs to be on the canvas. I have a weakness for neons. I think they go with everything, like a neutral on steroids : )
GB: How has your style changed over time or has it not changed at all?
SC: I never painted abstracts when I was younger. Everything I did was figural. I really enjoy drawing from life. It’s a challenge and feeds my detail-driven, OCD soul. But I’ve embraced a more carefree spirit with color and an unkempt sketchy feel to my drawings the past 5 years or so. I suppose it’s indicative of my mellowing with age? Watching my kids paint, then loving their results is inspirational. And I’ve found that telling a story with color only, and zero forms, is even more challenging for me. I’ve sort of settled into a style that combines (or switches back and forth between) intricate decorative illustration & kids characters, and saturated, abstract acrylic paintings. Combining them is lots of fun for me.
GB: Green Tea is another amazing piece of yours. Can you explain how and why you chose the layered elements of colors, sketches, and patterns in this piece?
SC: Again, this is a real representation of my personality. An expressive, colorful mash-up of texture in the background, tempered with very detailed and delicate line drawings layered on top. My paintings say a lot about me when you look at it that way. As to the actual motifs I used, that’s all very organic. I paint most background color stories with no agenda or plan. Then an idea just comes to me when I look at the painted canvas. I try not to force it. I looked at that one and thought, “Green Tea.” The drawings were inspired just that quick.
GB: If you weren’t an artist, what profession would you chose?
SC: Oh man. Too many. Can I pick a couple? I’d say architect, so I could imagine living & working spaces that are not so traditional and expected. I love houses with a story and lots of history and personality and quirks. Or maybe a fashion buyer strictly for the perks – getting to see runway shows with amazing artistry, but also to fill my passport and experience a lot of the world.
GB: Finally, what’s the best piece of advice that you have for aspiring artists?
SC: Make art every day. Keep a digital library of all of it. Save your sketch books. Develop your own perspective, even though I think that is the hardest thing to do in a world full of so much visual stimulation. Set goals and take classes. It’s easy to lose days/weeks/months to just doodling and passing time making art. But if you want to make a living, you have to set goals for getting your art out there. That’s a lesson I am still working on! Be kind and generous however you can. Share ideas and support other artists. There is room for everyone, and it’s much more fun to have comradery than isolation in this field.