JCorp by Justin Reyes
Bytegirl: What is your personal definition of an artist?
JCorp: An artist is someone who makes art! And what's art? Something an artist made...
Jokes aside, I think that 'being an artist' can be as loose or as strict a definition as you want it to be. An artist records their experiences and turns them into something others can share and participate in. Whether that means a mural of a childhood story that becomes a backdrop to selfies, or an artist enamel pin that turns from an office Secret Santa gift to someone's daily outfit essential, the art becomes individual experiences for each audience and the narrative is customized, shared, and passed on. An artist creates something and turns it loose in the wild. There should be nothing snobby or exclusive about it, in my opinion.
Tell us a little bit about yourself in your own words:
If I were answering this question a couple years ago, I would have said me? or JCORP?; but lately I've come to realize they're really one and the same, just different outfits that I wear to do different things. If you've known me for a long time, you would have known me under even more aliases and in even more contexts. At the moment, though, I am focusing on my visual art under JCORP, creating art and designs that draw inspiration from Asian cultural artifacts that I was raised with. From hugely popular icons like Hello Kitty to obscure Japanese shoujo manga (romance comics for young girls), repurposing these images in my own visual language not only helps me understand myself, but also discover others who can relate to similar experiences.
JCorp for ST.ART Wall. Photo by Justin Reyes
You grew up in Hong Kong, how did you end you in NYC?
It was destiny! I always knew I wanted to attend art school in the United States, but it wasn't until I spent a summer studying in New York City that I really found myself here. I came back after graduating high school for my BFA at the School of Visual Arts and haven't looked back since.
When was the first time you actually called yourself an artist?
Through all of the first three years I spent in art school, I fervently refused to call myself an artist. I felt that the title was pretentious and, between the lines, meant that I was just partying on my parents' dime while simultaneously pretending to be broke and starving. I also struggled with the conflicting theories and discourse around Art (with a capital A) and was, truly, too intimidated to give myself such a hefty, official title.
Ironically, when I graduated and got thrown into 'the real world', I found out that in order to actually get the resources together to accomplish art related projects, the rest of the world has to be able to contextualize what you do -- so I began telling people that I made art. I made business cards that said 'JCORP (Artist)'; and as good as it felt, it really wasn't as much an award as it was a necessity.
JCorp and Boonicorn for ST.ART wall. Photo by @justaspektator
What are some of your earliest influences?
My mother! Also, Japanese magic girl literature (think Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Fancy Lala); Sanrio mascots (Gudetama is my current favorite but Kuromi is truly my girl!); and J-Pop. Lots and lots of sparkly pop music.
And what do you see in your future?
Lots of colors and plenty of people to share my creations and experiences with! I found out that when you imagine yourself accomplishing your dreams, the intent gets projected into the universe and it comes back to you later in life - so I'm picturing me and my art, surrounded by smiling faces in all kinds of places around the world. Come join me!
JCorp for ST.ART wall. Video by Tim Zeko
Original Interview on SOLD magazine
Go to the JCORP portfolio