Interview with artist Alan Joseph Kurpakus

Alan Joseph Kurpakus, was born in Taipei, Taiwan and is currently living and working in Pemberton, New Jersey. Allan has completed his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. His techniques are oil painting, illustration, drawing, tattooist, mixed media, and digital art. Alan's pieces are inspired by a nineteenth-century tradition of works, in which an ideal of 'fulfilled absence' was seen as the pinnacle. They are often classified as part of the new romantic movement because of the desire for locality in an unfolding globalized world.

Allan, tell us about yourself.

I was born in Taipei, Taiwan. My dad was in the United Sates Air Force during the Vietnam War, which he met my mother in Taiwan. My ethnicity is Lithuanian from my dad’s side, and Taiwanese from my mother’s side. Our family came to the states in 1980, moved around a lot, and finally, the family settled in New Jersey, where the majority of my time I grew up.

How did your love for art begin, and what is your favorite thing about it?

I became interested in art when I was 5 years old. I would rather draw and color all the time, instead of playing with toys. Dad rarely bought me toys, so it was sort of a blessing in disguise. My natural ability to draw came from my dad, he would doodle all the time, but never took it seriously. My favorite thing about art, it can be whatever you want it to be, from a recurring dream, to a landscape, to what you feel, etc. You don’t have to settle on one artistic theme.

Your work brings together different media, techniques, and strategies. What is your creative process like, and how do you incorporate such other elements into it?

Being exposed to all different medias in art college, not only were you responsible in majoring in your field, but you had to take electoral classes outside your field. My overall influences came from photography, printing, sculpture, illustration, graphic arts, industrial design classes, anatomy drawing etc., even Poetry. Plus you had your humanities courses. Incorporation came in all different sides.

From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?

It depends, if I’m really into it, a couple of days. If I’m beat from work, or have to deal with my family, it would take weeks and months.

Do you think you explore different topics depending on the art medium, or would you say that all your different types of artworks have a connecting theme running through them?

No, I don’t explore topics by medium. It’s whatever I feel at the time. There’s never a connecting theme in my work, it gets mundane sticking to one thing.

Being a painter and mixed media artist, what materials do you like to work with, what techniques do you enforce, and which ones do you think personally to produce the best quality of work?

Oil paint would be number one, wood panel, old metal tools, and materials of that like. The best technique I would use all the time, is the under and over painting, paint your original layout in cobalt blue, and paint over it to your desire tone. It makes the painting pop out more, than doing a straightforward painting.

In what ways have Michelangelo, Rosenquist, and Salvador Dalí inspired you to keep your creative energy going?

Michelangelo was the god of everything art. Rosenquist was the king of big painting. And Dali was a dreamer.

I have seen some of your early works, which were quite different from what you do now. How would you say your practice changed over time?

The digital age certainly changes everything. It’s faster, and more easily applied. I fought it for the longest time, to be traditional, then I was introduced to it. I became addicted. And now, I own 3 Apple pens.

Which among the works you have created is your favorite, and why?

Bernini, Version 2, completed it in one day, and it felt like 2 weeks. Most of my ideas about creating something, if something pops up in my head I would do a quick sketch, so I wouldn’t forget about it. I would go back to it, and piece it together. It is unclear to me why it took one day, spur of the moment? Probably, because I was off, relaxed, and didn’t have to worry about nothing. My job, you’re really not off, even when you’re off.

Can you share with us what you are currently working on that you’re excited about right now?

Laborare Ludere Deligenter! February 18th post. Because it’s new, and not digital. Doing freehand is always home.

I know you’re using Canvy to display your work on your website’s “room gallery”, so can you tell us about your experience with us?

Experience with Canvy, more to me, is about mood, you can’t just put up a piece of artwork on a wall with its surroundings being an alien world.

What do you hope that the public takes away from your work?

The feeling of joy, and interest.

Find Alan Joseph Kurpakus and his artwork here.