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Kenny “Karpov” Corbin + Alyssa B.K.

Thursday, Jun 27th, 2013 by


Design Line: Kenny “Karpov” Corbin + Alyssa B.K.

1. Could you tell us more about what the two of you do?

KARPOV: I’m a social documentary photographer. I use photography as a means to document the world around me. My personal work emphasizes a critical view of social, political and cultural issues, I strive for the tension between chaos and order.

A.B.K.: I run A.B.K. Studios where I create everything from animations to prints. My work is also used for public art projects.

KARP7597a2. Please explain your role in Detroit Design Festival (“DDF”) 2012.

A.B.K.: Karpov and I were in charge of curating our show “A.B.K. vs Karpov” at the Park Shelton. A.B.K. displayed shadow boxes containing the sets and character designs as well as still frames from the animations. Karpov displayed his three month long series documenting the Jazz musicians of Cliff Bell’s.

3. What was your experience like working with the DDF Team?

KARPOV: First off, it was a great experience. The people putting DDF together are amazing. There were so many great events this year it was hard to keep track. For the Karpov vs A.B.K. event, the DDF team helped us put together an amazing art opening. We had an amazing turnout and our event was very well received.


A.B.K.: It was such a great experience being able share my work with the public as well as participate in other DDF events. It was beautiful to see the design community of Detroit flourish during DDF.

4. The two of you both had the opportunity to show work in the DC3 Accelerator Gallery. Tell us about the shows the two of you contributed to and what the experience was like.

KARPOV: I showed at the DC3 gallery space about a year ago and exhibited a series of photographs I took of the Buddhist community. The gallery has beautiful atmosphere and was a great place to exhibit my work. I would love to show there again.

A.B.K.: It was really awesome being able to show my work at DC3. I had just moved back from New York and I was trying to reconnect with Detroit and the art community. The Starting Over show I participated in was the art gateway I was searching for.


5. Any new projects on the horizon?

KARPOV: I’m currently working on a kickstarter campaign to raise some funds for a print magazine i’m starting. The magazine will focus on the fine art side of photography. Photojournalism, street and documentary photography. I’m also finishing up a couple of photo essays for various magazines. See the campaign here.

I’m also in the process of putting the final touches on my new photo series, The Shoe Cobblers of Detroit. The everyday life of cobblers living / working in Detroit. Lastly, I have three gallery exhibitions coming up as well. The one I’m really looking forward to is July 12 , I’ll be showing with A.B.K. at a unique space in Southwest, Detroit, called the Atrium.

A.B.K.: YES! I just installed a mural in the windows of the Elliot Building on Woodward and now I’m finishing my new painting series Life-Size Lotería for a show at The Atrium Project Space on July 12th. I’m redesigning the card game Lotería and illustrating them on poster size wood boards.

6. Can you tell us about your early influences in art and design?

KARPOV: I’ve always been a creative type. From an early age drawing on the parent’s carpet with markers and crayons that made beautiful murals of color, to designing my own skateboards when I was a teen.

A.B.K.: I graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York majoring in illustration. I took a couple of course in urban transformation and fell in love. It was great that my work could extend beyond the traditional practices of illustration and be used for the greater good of the community. I had a lot of great professors who encouraged my passion for transforming Detroit; one of them is currently in Michigan running the Flint Public Art Project.


7. Please share your thoughts on creating / operating a creative business in Detroit.

A.B.K./KARPOV: Detroit is the perfect place to run a creative business because it has the space and the resources for young entrepreneurs like myself to grow. The city also has a great community of artists and designers who are very supportive, which is vital when starting a business.

8. Please describe your creative process.

KARPOV: It starts with me photographing streets and engaging with the people I meet. Every person I meet has a unique story to tell that I can share through my photography.

A.B.K.: If I’m trying to come up with a new idea for a project I’ll zone out for hours. I like to let my imagination wander and tell me a story.

9. What is the best advice you’ve ever received or given?

KARPOV: The best advice I’ve ever come across was from an Iranian photojournalist Abbas, “get a good pair of walking shoes and fall in love.”

A.B.K.: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or else you may never have it.

10.Will you tell us a design related “secret”?

KARPOV: Everything in black & white.

A.B.K.: I hate using the computer.

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