Frank Korb (b. 1972)
Frank Korb is a Wisconsin based artist known for figurative, plein air, portraiture, and abstract geometric works. Inspired by focusing on the formality of the elements and principles of art and design and how they interact in his artworks. He observes the existence of the elements and principles in the environment around him and works to incorporate those personal reflections in his compositional design. Searching for inspiration and answers to artistic questions from the history of art through the simplification in composition by the Minimalist’s, the use of the everyday by the Impressionists and Pop Artists, and the non-objective and bold mark making of the Abstract Expressionists, Korb explores the relationships of color, space, and pattern in his work.
By laying down colors, shapes, and textures and considering the push and pull with one another in the picture plane, Korb explores those relationships and works toward a balance and harmony in his compositions. While the intent Korb begins each work with is important, he is equally concerned with the relationship and interpretation the viewer brings to the work. What the works say to his audience is something that is very much of importance to him.
Born and raised south of Milwaukee in Waterford, WI, Korb found his passion for the arts and complete support for his interest as a youth. One of his first memories of drawing was that of an elephant on a placemat when he was around 5 years old. “It was something that I drew from memory, probably more from my imagination. It was a drawing that got a reaction from my parents and grandparents, a response that told me that I could draw a picture and people enjoyed what I drew. I am certain it was a positive response because they were my parents and grandparents, but, it was something.” The support of his interests in art from his parents were important as he grew and created images. Korb recalls additional beginnings of his potential future in the arts. “I remember receiving were from my kindergarten class. We were to draw a poster about safety. I vaguely remember a fire truck being part of that image, but again, it was a positive response focused on something that I really enjoyed.”
“My dad was killed in 1982 by a drunk driver. I was only 9 and know that event had a dramatic effect on me. While a 9 year old may not necessarily have it affect the art career, I did see it firsthand at school. I am not sure if the event was what made my middle school years so challenging with grades, but I am sure it was a part of it. Unfortunately, art at the middle school was not something that interested me. I know I enjoyed making art, but I also know that it was large in part to the art teacher. This relationship gave me a blueprint as to how not to work with my students.” High School, on the other hand, was the rebirth of his interest in the arts. “I was involved in the theater, music program, as well as the visual arts. The choir room and the art studio were the two places that, if I wasn’t somewhere else in the building, one could guarantee to find me. I made strong connections with two of my teachers in high school and I can see how those positive relationships helped me develop my own relationships as a high school visual arts teacher.”
Korb went onto the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater earning his BFA degree in graphic design as well as art education (K12). Working as a graphic designer throughout college and into his first year out of college gave him a good understanding of the necessity behind good design, composition, and reflection on what he was doing. “I recognize that my training and working as a graphic designer are tied tightly to the work I create as a fine artist today. I am focused on how I and other artists consider and work with the formal elements and principles behind the creation of successful art.” The relationships formed with his instructors continued to direct him toward the fine arts as his future. His instruction and conversation obtaining with instructors at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater drew him toward the BFA in Graphic Design while also obtaining his license in Art Education.
Korb worked as a graphic designer for a short time before becoming an art teacher at the public schools and eventually found himself back to his alma mater in Waterford, WI. Korb is the head of the art department and focuses much of his time in working on the development and understanding of the history, aesthetics, critiquing and self-evaluation, as well as the art making by his students. Korb is passionate about being an artist and is also passionate about being an art teacher. “I know that in order to be the best art teacher, I also need to be an active artist. It is essential that, although I may work in one genre (or another at various times in my development as an artist) to be comfortable and confident in whatever style or subject matter I am teaching. I love the opportunity I have to work with the early classes of Studio Art 360 through the intermediate courses, as well as the most advanced levels of the Advanced Placement (college level) students. I have the best job in the world.”
Continuing his education at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI, Korb obtained his MA in visual studies. The desire to advance and further develop his abilities and understanding of making art, the relationships he developed were strong in the advancement of his work. Another death in his family came at the end of his Masters program as his stepfather succom to cancer within the last semester of his program. “My dad’s (Paul, stepfather) love and support of me, my brother and sister was something that really helped me as I got through the last bit of the program. My desire to make him proud of my accomplishment was a big part of how I finished my Masters Degree. I am fortunate to have had the support of not only my parents as I was growing up, but even now the support of all my family, my wife and daughter especially, is something I wish for all of the students I work with. It doesn’t always happen, but I hope it for them.”
Korb’s exhibitions have included a variety of galleries and art spaces in southeastern WI as well as exhibitions throughout the state. They have included group exhibitions, solo exhibitions, art happenings, fundraisers, and lectures. Korb’s works are held in numerous public and private collections nationally and internationally. If you would like to contact Frank Korb regarding the purchasing of, commission, feedback, contact him via e-mail at: email@example.com or by phone: (262) 492 – 9090. Please FOLLOW him on this site, on Twitter at: @fjkorb, Instagram at: fjkorb, or Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/fjkorb.