Sunday, 17 July 2011

Interview with Joseph Corsentino

Joseph Corsentino has always been attracted to art and storytelling.  He spent his youth creating videos, writing, or studying temporal theories.  In high school, he took a photography class and quickly developed an obsession with turning the stories that he wrote into photographs. Joseph spent the early part of his career, working at a high-end wedding photography studio, perfecting his Photoshop skills.  In 2003, Joseph left his daytime job and drove west to Los Angeles, California “to see about a girl,” his future wife, Donny. Joseph also took this opportunity to experiment with his photography full time.

Now, a professional photographer with ten years of experience, Joseph works with models, actors, and musicians, to develop images that fully capture their talent and beauty. As an artist, Joseph focuses on the ‘Time of the Faeries’ project, an epic retelling of the faerie mythology inspired by many of the people he knew growing up.  His take on faerie lore is based on urban myths, the current political climate, and the spirits who carry on nonetheless.  While beautiful, it contains his vision of the chaos and tragedy that is present in a fading, counterculture.

During the 7 years he's been creating 'Time of the Faeries', Joseph has had his first book, of the same title, published by Imaginosis Publishing. He has been featured in numerous magazines, and is a regular guest artist at many conventions such as Faerieworlds Festival and Faeriecon.  More recently, Joseph was a guest of honor at conventions such as Fantasy Modelfest and Xanadu, Las Vegas.  His photography is licensed to various companies, and can be found through, Stickerchicks and I Do Believe, UK.

1. You are described as a ‘visual storyteller’. Tell us about your ‘visual novel’, ‘Time Of The Faeries: Afterlight, End Of The World’. 

Afterlight, End of the World is the first in a four-part visual novel series. The Afterlight Visual Novel Series combines digital art and narrative, to create an epic tale of the evolution of a new mythology - spanning past, present, and future. It explains the origins of the Faeries, why they left us, and what has become of them since they were suddenly forced back into our modern world. It shows how some adapted and learned to thrive in this new and unfamiliar landscape, while others wasted away in apathy and depression. It sheds light on the evolution of Angels and Vampires from a common Fae ancestor, and their own unique adaptations to the modern world. It follows the alliances and tensions that develop between these three species as they struggle to protect human civilization, or shape it to their will. And, it explores the mysterious phenomenon of Kai, the energy of possibility and potential, which flows through every living being and is the lifeblood of Faeries, Angels, and Vampires alike. The Afterlight follows several lines of cause and effect, revealing possible versions of the Apocalypse at the hands of all three species; but ends with the fate of world resting where it was always meant to: in humanity's hands.

2. Why did you choose to produce photographic images of faeries, and what do you hope to achieve with them?  Is there an underlying theme or message in your work?

I’ve been a photographer for over ten years now, but I only got into fantasy photography about eight years ago. With a group of friends, I used to run around Long Island, NY taking photos and having fun. At one particular photo-shoot, we shot a dozen faeries, creating individual wings and costumes for everyone. From that photo-shoot, I was inspired to create more fantasy art. Years later, Time of the Faeries evolved.

The character and depth of my faeries, evolved from a very poignant moment years ago.  On a trip to Tiajuana, Mexico, I got lost and found myself in the red light district. The streets were lined with young girls, prostituting themselves. Their desolate poses as they stood, waiting for customers, struck me so deeply that I developed the idea of the street faeries: creatures of magick, lost in our urban lifestyle. What I hope people will draw from Time of the Faeries, is that magick exists in our world, even in the grittiest of places. But, at the end of the day, it's about people doing the work, not relying on fantasy or magick. It's about people working as people, to evolve and create, and better themselves, and the world around them.

3. Of the images you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular work?

My favourites change from week to week!  Whichever is the newest, which took the most time and effort, or showed a new change in my style - they all end up favourites, at some point.  Currently, I have ‘The Life Elemental’ on my desktop.  She’s a long-time character that I’ve played with in my head, but never quite realized until now.  Though she represents life, her ultimate destiny is to sacrifice herself.  I like to visit tragedy upon my creations.

4. How is creating fantasy art different from creating other genres?

Truthfully, I’m a science fiction fan first and foremost.  It’s turned out that the storyline I created is more fantasy than science fiction; but I still managed to incorporate science fiction elements, such as time travelling and several apocalypses into it.  For me, it seems that when I create fantasy art, I tap into the emotional side of things, creating visuals that convey an emotion or a mood.  When I create sci-fi art, I’m thinking more about linear events and causality.  It is different, even if my process is the same.

5. What do you find most rewarding in the creative process?

As a photographer, I find the collaborative nature of the work most fulfilling.  Yes, I have characters in mind that I want to photo-shoot, but these characters are created in dialogue with the make-up artist, the stylist, and ultimately, the model.  Every image I create, is a testament to creative collaboration among many talented people.

6. What do you find most challenging, and how do you overcome it?

I seem to have two brains, the writing brain and the visual art brain.  It takes a lot of time and energy for me to switch between writing and working on the next image.  However, Time of the Faeries: Afterlight, demands that I do both; so I struggle to write for a stretch of time, then switch to doing image work.  I try to compartmentalize and prioritize, so that I don’t have to do both at once – because, it just doesn’t work.

7. Tell us a little about how images were created for the ‘Time Of The Faeries’ series.

My artwork is based on collaboration, with the people who model for me. First, we find a person with the “spark” or characteristics that we are looking for. We invite them to do a photo-shoot with us, dress them up, and then spend a few hours shooting and building a character. Finally, it’s time for me to sit at a computer for hours and days building the magick and background, using Photoshop as my artistic tool. It is an intense process for me, and for the models.

8. Evolution seems an inherent facet of fantasy art. What new developments are you aware of, with regards to the application of technology, in this genre?

You know, I used to do this with a film camera?  Do you know how expensive that was?  Then, the digital cameras came out, and Photoshop started getting better and better with each iteration.  My images also started getting bigger, more detailed, and richer in character, with each step of the technological evolution.  I don’t know what the latest development in visual art technology is, but I can tell you that I’m probably going to invest in it, and my art will be directly affected by changes in technology.

9. What advice would you give to artists considering a career in art?

Keep creating.  If you are serious about a career in art, then the best thing you can do is to keep creating.  As you create, you improve your techniques, you find your voice, and you find your style.  This is not an easy career to be in at the best of time, and in a depressed economy, such as our current one, it’s terrifying.  Don’t quit your day job immediately; but that doesn’t mean you can’t create in your free time.  The best advice I was ever given?  This game is called “Last Man Standing” and years later, I’m still standing here, shooting.

10. Tell us a little about any good fantasy art you’ve seen recently.

deviantArt is chocked full of amazing art.  I came across a new favourite, One Vox.  He’s just amazing;  I’m in awe of his “Simikiel”.

11. What do you do, when you’re not being artistic?

I’m a media geek.  I watch every sci-fi, fantasy, or superhero movie anybody cares to put out there.  My walls, shelves, and tabletops are lined with Transformers figures and always have been. I’m a fan; I guess that’s why I create art, because I enjoy this stuff!

12. What aspirations, or reservations, do you have regarding your art being used in film and television?

I love movies.  When I write a story, I write it as if I’m watching a movie, so yes, I would love to see Time of the Faeries as a movie or television series.  We’re working on it!

13. Would you like to see your book adapted for the screen? If so, who would be your director of choice, and why?
Can’t talk about this now, but would LOVE to expound on this at a later date!

14. Describe your art in one sentence.

Bringing reality to fantasy.

15. Where can we find you and your art?

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