University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1989, Bachelor of Science in Architecture
As a mid-career artist, I have decided to pursue abstraction as my preferred method of visual communication. For close to twenty five years I have drawn upon my education and professional background in architecture for inspiration when composing a painting; intuition is primary—then media, proportions, colors, textures, and careful execution determine the final result. I make art that is purely optical—that is, an art meant to engage the eye and the mind of the viewer without employing any associations outside of the work itself; the viewer is introduced to abstraction arrived at only by the paint on the canvas.
I embrace special interests in art history, architectural history, design theory, composition, and critique. I draw inspiration from early modernism, especially from the abstract expressionist work produced during the mid-twentieth century. My work continues to be subconsciously influenced by the compositional subtleties inherent in the work of the Cubist, Constructivist, and Bauhaus movements. Abstract Expressionism, particularly the work of Motherwell, Frankenthaler, Hoffman, and Hartigan, does indeed enter into my oeuvre; the architectural masterpieces produced by Mies van der Rohe, Graham, and Wright also play a part.
Architectural composition and the discipline of hand-drawing were not confined only to the classroom, but were practiced professionally. My drawing skills include the ability to construct axonometric and isometric views, one, two and three-point perspectives, worm’s-eye and bird’s-eye views, and of course building plans, sections, and elevations. Graphite, charcoals, inks, and colored pencils were employed by me to great precision.
As an artistic foil, as a creative release from that precisionist work, I have devoted myself to an expressive type of abstraction, to an artistic mode devoid of the rules of perspective drawing, to codes and to gravity. What remains is an art of underlying structure, seductive color, and a loose brush. I employ my art as a sort of personal liberation from the demands of architectural drawing, and yet, I never completely lose the disciplines that I have been taught.
Joey Korom was born in Milwaukee in the summer of 1955. In 1979, after studying architecture for years, Korom published his first book on architectural history and design. Korom went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in 1989 from the School of Architecture, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; in 1992 he attained a Master of Architecture degree. Shortly after graduation and until 1997, Korom assisted as graduate student mentor at the School of Architecture. From 1994 until 2003, Korom was employed as an architectural designer/project architect at TOKI & Associates Architects, Tri-Corp Housing, Neighborhood Housing Services, Warner-Pfaller & Associates Architects, and Valerio-Georgeson Architects. In 2003, Korom founded Apex Design; one year later he went on to found Fusion Design Professionals, both architecture firms in Milwaukee.
In addition to composing detailed architectural drawings, Korom also produced many architectural models. As a result of his expertise, he was asked by a director of the Milwaukee Art Museum to construct a large-scale model of the Seth Peterson Cottage designed in 1959 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Korom completed this model in Russian white birch, and it was displayed during the 2012 retrospective of Wright’s work at the museum. Additionally, he participated in the 2003 World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, by submitting a sophisticated design to honor those who perished there on September 11, 2001 (competition #683184).
During the period 1992 to 1995, Korom served as co-owner of Gallery H2O, an art gallery located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. For some thirty years Korom has shown his work in numerous commercial galleries and has had success with multiple in-studio exhibitions. Besides being a devoted artist, Korom is also the owner of Building Biographies, an architectural research firm headquartered in Chicago. Furthermore, having photographed buildings in some fifty major cities for professional publication, he remains a professional architectural photographer. Joey Korom is currently conducting research for his fifth book.