Back in March 2020 just as the world as we know it closed its doors, we showcased 5 online art classes. The first one on the list was The Korp Academy run by Kaine Kulczak better know as Korp.
Since then his online live tutorials have continued to inspire people of all ages, so we figured it was about time we found out more about the Academy and the creator himself…
Can you tell us a bit about your style, your background and how you became a full time artist?
I’m a stencil artist at heart but regularly use marker pens to create artwork because I could get a much quicker fix. I spent around 10 years doing this subsidising my career as an artist by working a full time job and in that time gained a following of people that enjoyed what I was creating. Eventually it got to a point where it was a no brainer to turn full time artist because I was selling work faster than I could create it.
Where did the name Korp come from?
Before going full time I worked in an office for a global company and after getting into a little trouble I found myself with a final written warning meaning next thing I did wrong I was losing my job. I had a family to look after so as a result I started doing everything by the book and got the nickname Corporate Kaine. Over the years the initial got changed to a K because I already have a lot of K’s in my name and cus its cool right? Don’t ask why I got the final written warning, I’m not telling.
When did you decide to start offering online classes, what made you decide to go down this route?
I’d always run art workshops from my studio in Peterborough but when it was clear the country was going into its first lockdown a year ago I made the decision to move it all online. It was always the plan to offer an online alternative but Covid forced me to do it quickly. I now feel really at home delivering online classes to people who prefer to attend workshops this way or just cant get to Peterborough.
What, if any, have been the challenges in setting up The Korp Academy?
When I started I didn’t have any professional equipment to use for broadcasting so I took a clothes rail and gaffa taped an old webcam to it to get the overhead camera angle. I then used the low res built in camera on my PC and a free Zoom service to start the online lessons from the corner of my front room. I wasn’t confident with going online and had no idea what I was doing but it was a lot of fun and every lesson was a huge learning curve.
The Arts Council emergency funding followed and that enabled me to upgrade to a DSLR camera, professional lighting and I bought a caravan for £100 to use as a temporary studio because it was cheaper, warmer and bigger than any shed or outbuilding I looked into.
There are a few different courses you offer can you tell us a bit about these and the prices for them?
Although most of my workshops are family friendly and I encourage all ages to take part I’ll start with the 8 O’clock Club which is for adults only on the 1st and 3rd Friday night every month. Its £5 per month and all you need is a pencil, Sharpie, fine liner and a broad sense of humour to join in.
Next up is Kawaii Club which is entry level at just £10 per month for 1 lesson per week, again you only need a pencil, Sharpie and fine liner to take part and we usually draw lots of simple characters. Then we get serious with Posca Club which is £20 per month for 2 lessons per week and you’ll need a bunch of Posca pens to join that one.
Finally its Access All Areas which is the most popular membership plan. As it suggests its access to all the clubs I’ve just mentioned plus an extra Sharpie and Promarker session, that’s at least 5 lessons per week. Members also get over 200 catch up videos of previous workshops to try out at their own leisure which is great for people that struggle with the live meetings.
Using an online format must have made things a lot easier during lockdown but has it still affected your business at all?
Taking my business online early in lockdown has been the best decision I ever made. My online business is now much bigger than my offline business ever was and so is here to stay. I’d like The Korp Academy to end up being like a bad ass version of Skillshare or Demostika.
You also run a paint jam called Korpfest, can you tell us a bit about this?
I’ve loved attending paint jams ever since SNIK first introduced me to Upfest in 2009, a year later I returned to Bristol but this time I was painting in my first ever live art event.
Fast forward to 3 years ago and thanks to the support of Eastern Angles I was able to set up my studio in a huge commercial venue in Hampton, Peterborough. Inspired by the Overground Paint Jam at the Green Backyard a few years before that I decided to try and organise my own jam and with further help from Eastern Angles the very first Korpfest happened.
Since then we have had over 40 artists painting live at the studio including local talent like Nyces, Cur5 and Process mixing it with names like Irony, My Dog Sighs and Nol. Obviously last year was cancelled but I’m very excited to be able to run it again this year albeit with artists painting in isolation.
If any artists would like to paint at Korpfest they need to fill in the registration form which can be found on the Korpfest Insta and FB group. Likewise anyone who enjoys watching artists at work can find out more as well.
Do you have any other plans up your sleeve for world domination 😊?
Yeah of course, I’ve got some huge names coming to paint at Korpfest this year and I really want to grow the Korp Academy and have other artists delivering a wider variety of workshops. I also plan to spend more time on my own creativity this year after losing a year to resetting due to covid. The rest is top secret!!