By Kian West
I’M A BIG FAN OF THE IDEA OF FATE. IT SEEMED LIKE FATE WHEN COREY REACHED OUT TO US A FEW MONTHS AGO RIGHT WHEN WE WERE TRYING TO WORK OUT HOW TO GET SOME COOL NEW ARTWORK FOR AN EVENT WE WERE PUTTING TOGETHER AT THE CAMBRIDGE WITH LOVE+RENT. HE CREATED SOME INCREDIBLE POSTERS AND WAS CERTAINLY ON OUR RADAR. IT SEEMED FITTING THAT IN OCTOBER, THE MONTH OF HALLOWEEN, WE SPOKE WITH HIM ABOUT HIS CRAFT.
Sitting out the front of Bank Corner one morning, Corey and I had a quick chat about being the new kid in town, what he is digging so far and what his aspirations for the future include. Great to hear from a New Novocastrian…
Corey, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Well, I moved here six months ago, to be closer to family and stuff. Just trying to get as many opportunities as possible, so I've been sending my stuff everywhere.
So are you not originally from Newcastle?
My family is from around Cessnock so I grew up around here, in Cessnock, but when I was pretty young I moved up to Brisbane and then came back down here.
Was there a catalyst for that?
I think I just wanted to see what kind of opportunities there were down here. Brisbane is okay in terms of the arts scene but it doesn't have as many little underground galleries as Newcastle does all over the place. In Brisbane, it's more focused on the main gallery of modern art with a few little underground ones.
How do you find the local art scene?
In the local scene here, definitely the big thing is abstract art and not so much the stuff I do. My stuff is kind of – like, they kind of scoff at my stuff when I show them because it's more cartoony… I don't know, sometimes they just draw a scribble and put it up and that's the piece of artwork. At uni, they teach you to do that kind of stuff. They stop you from doing representational things and go back to the basics, like abstract – just shapes and everything. So, I think that seems to be the main thing in the arts scene – abstract art.
Are you studying at Newcastle Uni?
No, I'm thinking about it. It looks pretty cool.
How do you describe the art that you design or draw?
I was listening to this band – I'm really into them at the moment – they're called Goon Moon. It's the old bassist from Marilyn Manson’s band, but he's got his own band now. The music is all over the place. There's a bit of jazz and then it goes into heavy metal and then kind of slow rock. I kind of think that my work is like a visual… What's the word?
Like a representation?
Yes, or like a visual kind of version of that music. My stuff is pretty grotesque.
Ryan – I’ve taken out two uses of the word ‘schizo’ here – I know people use it all the time, but it’s just not the most… sensitive word, if you know what I mean? Just don’t want to be upsetting/offending anyone unnecessarily, and I think it reads fine without it :)
It definitely has a lot of dark undertones, but you use a lot of really bright colours. In a weird way – I guess jazz can have that same sort of ethos – it's either really super high, happy, uplifting or super low. You also have a very – maybe not comic book, but graphic novel style?
Yes, definitely. I'm actually working on a graphic novel at the moment, so that should be cool. I'm getting as much done as possible. It will be like my own self-published thing. I have a friend who works at the comic shop, Graphic Action, and he said he'll sell them for me in there, so that's pretty cool.
So have you written the story?
Yes, there is a story to it – but whenever I have a story, it always branches off and becomes something else, which is pretty cool. So, whatever story I do have, it will change towards the end.
So who are your favourite artists? Do you have 'reference point' artists?
I always watch movies by David Lynch and that really inspires me, like the weird Eraserhead and Blue Velvet and stuff. But as a reference, I get inspired by people's poses. Like one time I saw an old man and I just thought he looked like a little top half of a torso with different legs attached, like a freaky alien thing.
I guess since you’re new to Newcastle, where are you hanging out at the moment?
Well, I live above the Cambridge Hotel and there's a cafe across the road, Café Browny's. I go there and they're really nice. I usually go in there and draw and hang out there. I've been trying to find other places where I can go and see live bands and stuff, but it’s good living up there because I can hear the bands for free. I don't have to actually go in and pay.
So are you getting out and seeing different venues?
Yes, I went to the Ice Nova thing. That was interesting because in Brisbane, they don't have that thing where they… It was like a mix between people; it was people getting drunk but children were running around. It was interesting. Brisbane doesn't have anything like that.
What's the game plan? What's the Corey life mission?
Well, I really want to work for Animal Logic. They did the stop-motion film, The Lego Movie, and they do other stop-motion films. I really want to get into that. Otherwise I'm going to check out uni and see how that goes.
Because you don't just draw, you make...
Yeah, I sculpt, and in Brisbane I did a stop-motion music video for a band there. I'm hoping to do that again, maybe with some bands from here. That would be cool.
Okay, is this you putting the call out to a local band to hit you up and get you to do something? I can definitely put you in touch with plenty of bands. I'm sure many of them would be interested in something rad like that, that's out of the box.
Awesome, cool. And album covers, I really want to get into that.
Are there particular genres of music that you enjoy and think your style marries to?
I think heavy metal might work. What do you reckon?
Yeah, I totally agree. Anything in that heavier, darker, more alternative area – possibly angry, angsty. If any of those words are in some band's description, they probably should have a chat with you.
Yeah, people think I'm really dark when they look at my stuff but, with the darkest things I've done, I'm actually really content and mellow when I'm doing them. I think it's exorcising the demons, kind of thing.
Like with comedians, where the reverse is often true. When they make everyone else happy, they're actually kind of really sad on the inside.
So are you going to set a deadline for your graphic novel?
Probably at least another month. I'll definitely have enough pages...
End of 2017?
That's pretty good. That's like on everyone's radar.
Yeah, that should be cool. It's fun to do and it's therapeutic.
And are you doing a lot of that kind of work? You've obviously done posters for us. Is that part of what work should be like?
Yes, definitely. And in Brisbane, there was this collaborative comic that I was doing up there with some other people, and I'm hoping to start one like that here, with different artists. So it's not just mine.
What else should people know about you?
That I'm always keen to collaborate.