Meet a NYFA Artist: Corey J. Willis

Meet a NYFA Artist: Corey J. Willis

NYFA speaks with 2008 Photography Fellow Corey J. Willis.

NYFA: Hi Corey, Please tell us what are you working on and what’s coming up for you.

CW: I am now in the process of transferring my experiences into artwork. Frozen foods and products have always played a big part in my photography. Currently I am trying to connect this to the epidemic of consumer abuse and global warming. Melting for me has become the decay of our ownership driven culture.

NYFA: What does being an artist mean to you?

CW: Being an artist to me means presenting current events to the public in a medium that is both simple to understand and complex in its derivations. It is the art of metaphors and similes.

NYFA: Who or what is your biggest influence or inspiration right now?

CW: Right now my biggest influence is Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1998 and the Chicago Bears of 1995. I like the swagger, grit, determination, and intensity of both ball clubs.

NYFA: Please recommend something to us, a good book, music, a recipe, another artist…

CW: I find the work of Charlie White to be on point.

NYFA: What role has the Fellowship played in your life?

CW: The fellowship came at a time for me when I was ready to start a new body of work. I took the opportunity to do an art residency in Reykjavik Iceland (through the Icelandic Association of Visual Artists, SIM) and to travel to Greenland. Over the summer I wanted to look at three things outside of America; white culture, global warming, and consumerism. This translated into visiting glaciers, geothermal pools and plants, and supermarkets and malls. A majority of my time was spent in a small suburb called SpÖng, where burgeoning strip malls and new housing developments dominate the pristine landscape. In this affluent suburb, consumers make tough choices between price and variety at the supermarket and the mall. Still, high wages and quality of life let the Icelandic people live at a quality above most Americans. However smaller portions and restrictive choices still make the American lifestyle appealing. At the end of my trip I traveled around Iceland and to East Greenland to visit the visual cues of green energy and global warming. In the process I learned a great deal about energy generated by heat stored in the earth, and the importance of glaciers.

Corey J. Willis is a resident of Northernmost Greenpoint. He is the Director of Design at New Design High School in New York City.

For more information on Corey Willis, visit his website.

Amy Aronoff
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