Javier Rodríguez Corpa, who works under the name JR Korpa, was born in Madrid, Spain in 1974. He has a happy childhood, his parents gifted him with a strong set of values and encouraging his loving nature.
JR Korpa is a multidimensional artist. His love of music and curiosity on how to write a song led him, first, to study piano and harmony. His curiosity for the aesthetic of an image, led him to filmmaking and movie and news editing. He currently works in television. His father shared his love of photography with JR and taught him how to use a film/ analog camera; how to measure light and adjust its controls. He has experimented with photographic images and continues to do it— a lot. His creations begin to take shape in a photographic enlarger, reshaping and deforming the negatives. Printing the results and staining them with tea. He continues to work with film and has even built a small pinhole camera.
Today he lives in a small village on the Costa del Sol with his daughter where continues composing music. When he enjoys travelling, combining tourism and photography. His research and wholistic aesthetic have led him to even change his eating habits. Of his own experiences, he says, “What we eat changes everything” The people who have influenced in his life are extensive and diverse: Kim ki-duk, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Arnold Ehret, Oscar Wilde, Wim Mertens, Martin Gore, Till Lindemann, Anton Corbijn, Mantak Chia, Osho, Robert Moog, Morrisey, Spike Joze, Ridley Scott, David Icke, Jean Luc de Meyer, Fritz Lang, Anne Clark, Robert Smith, Akai S 3000, Kandinsky, Ralph Hutter, Michael Kenna, Alexander Rodchenko, Jackson Pollock, Nikola Tesla, and more…
What was your route to becoming an artist?
JR Korpa: It’s been a natural process for me. I’ve never stopped experimenting. It’s constant learning. There comes a time when, if you repeat the same process many times, you start to acquire skills and people start to get interested in what you do. I would say it’s a combination of concerns and constant work. Easy, and at the same time as difficult as that.
What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?
JR Korpa: I work with the tools that I have at my fingertips. Analog photography is warm, organic, I like its “imperfections” but it is true that the digital age has many advantages that facilitate the process. I shoot with a slow shutter speed through a hand-painted glass. My photos are digital but they have a totally handcrafted side with painting, the fusion of both is the work I do actually.
You mentioned that you have created your own small pinhole camera. Could you talk a bit more about it?
JR Korpa: No matter how sophisticated today’s digital cameras are, the principle of capturing an image is the same: a photosensitive element and a certain amount of light. The “Pinhole” camera is possibly the simplest camera that exists because its only means to control the light is a small hole and the exposure time. It is easy to make one yourself. You need a light-tight box and put a photosensitive film on one side and a small hole on the opposite side. The advantage of the hole being only a few millimeters is that everything in the photo will be in focus, there is no depth of field controls. The dark side is that you need more exposure time because it impacts a much smaller amount of light on the celluloid and getting the accurate exposure time is not a simple matter. But, yes, with experimentation you can get very cool results. I encourage everyone to try it. It’s a fun way to understand the photographic process.
How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits in the art world?
JR Korpa: It’s a great question. I would describe my work as a game of contrasts: point versus line focused vs blurry, complementary colors, light vs silhouettes, static vs movement.
But Does the world need abstract art? In my opinion, it does. Art and fear are inversely related. The less fear, the more value that art will have and this is where the creative freedom of abstract art comes into play. Abstract art invites you to use your heart more than your head and this drives away fears. Non-figurative art can fit into many areas of our society. My art is often used for book covers, cd covers, decoration, even for therapeutic purposes and this is my favorite.
Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
JR Korpa: I need to have fun in the process, dance with it. There’s a lot of improvisation in my work. I let myself be surprised by it. It’s a way of living the present, because it forces me to put aside my mind’s chatter, and observe… carefully… then, shoot when something catches my attention. The result is usually something I could never have imagined doing in my head. I don’t have a goal. I stick to the things I find along the way. Many times we are frustrated to have a preconceived idea because it is really difficult to be 100% satisfied, however, not having a goal set, I’m pleasantly surprised without having pretended.
What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?
JR Korpa: I admire Tullio Crali and the Futurism because they were able to shape a living world, in movement. Aleksandr Rodchenko and constructivism, the first beginnings of graphic design. Mark Rothko for the beauty of his simplicity. Paul Klee and his obsession with finding balance in a two-dimensional space. Eugenio Recuenco and his modern adaptation of classical painting. Minimalism? minimalism is Michael Kenna. One of my pillars; Anton Corbijn, does everything well, natural but impressive. The visual metaphors of Chema Madoz. The subtly defined abstract painting of Fernando Zóbel. In my opinion to learn photography, the first thing is to handle the concept of contrast. It is not so easy to see it, to be aware of it when photographing. You should start studying Masao Yamamoto, his works are pure contrast and that’s why they are beautiful.
Your art style is multidimensional. How has it evolved?
JR Korpa: I have experienced many techniques, from the Pinhole cameras, through Polaroids, developed in home DYI laboratory, infrared photography with sensor modification, and lastly this combination with painting. When several artistic disciplines coexist in one, you cannot think of them separately. They must each have their own space and visibility. You have to do it with a lot of balance. That interrelationship between the two is one of the things I’m passionate about.
Why do you do what you do? What do you love most about it and find so meaningful about the work?
JR Korpa: I think of my work as something unfinished that needs someone to observe it to finish it and make sense of it. It’s synergy. I’m looking for realism in the abstract and something intangible in the real. Magical Realism? Enough for the brain to start asking questions: what is it? it seems…
This leads to a very personal interpretation of what you can feel when you see it and then is when the work is completed. Image + observer.
Often, the artist reflects his mood, his joys and sorrows, in his/her art. I’m not so much interested in tell with my work “this is me” as “this is you”.
Does bad news in the outside world ever affect your creative process or output?
JR Korpa: I see it as an opportunity to approach other ways of working. In a house there can be a wonderful world to explore. A secret garden. You just have to turn your lens around. Unhook it from the camera and put it just upside down with the front of the lens on the sensor, et voilà! You have a macro that will make you travel to other planets.
How can people follow your news?
JR Korpa: I frequently upload content to Unsplash, whom I must thank for the great visibility they have always given to my works and Instagram. I also have an account on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and of course my website jr-korpa.com
To find out more about JR and his work, please visit his Instagram.