In the Studio with Debbie Korbel

In the Studio with Debbie Korbel

In the Studio with Debbie Korbel

by Kristine Schomaker

What does a day in your art practice look like?

It depends whether I am in the studio or out gathering materials for my assemblage pieces. If I am in the studio, I may spend many hours sculpting or working on the patinas. Or, I may be laying out pieces for an assemblage sculpture, then drilling, wiring, gluing, etc. I often don’t get things placed exactly as I want them on the first try, so it may take me two or three attempts before I move on to the next piece.

All this is punctuated by intermittent socializing, coffee-drinking, candy-eating, daydreaming and talking on the phone. And of course, there is always the task of trying to keep a million and one things organized—so tidying my studio (ugh) does have to happen at regular intervals so that I don’t kill myself tripping over things.

What do you wish to accomplish with your art?

I guess there are a few things I’d like to accomplish—some easy, some not so much. Of primary importance to me is to communicate with others on a level that is not superficial—to share my thoughts and feelings—and to have others understand and hopefully relate to those thoughts and feelings, perhaps recognizing something of themselves in the work. It is a non-verbal way for me to say, “See, I am just like you. I love, hate, suffer, laugh, etc. at the same things you do.” It is a quick way to connect with people on an emotional level—it is a barrier -breaker. I feel successful when people warm-up to me because they relate/like/ see value in/enjoy what I have created.

How has your art evolved over the years?

I am still trying not to be self-conscious, not to censor myself based on what others may think of me when they look at my art. Some of the art I make is risqué and I never really know if what I make will be well-received.

Do you ever find yourself limited by the materials that you have available?

No, not really.

What is the most challenging part about being an artist?

Self-doubt is certainly up near the top of the list–which is, I suspect, one of the more challenging things for people trying to succeed in any field.

Do you have a specific audience in mind for your work?

Those that aren’t easily offended.

What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?

Believe in yourself. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to be an artist—you’ll never get it. Just make the art. Apply to shows. Get out there—see what happens. The worst that will happen is you will make some nice friends who are weird like you!

What’s next for you in the future?

I will be in two museum shows so far this year, MOAH and The Booth Museum and several independent gallery shows. Lots of hard work and hopefully a bit of glory.



Kristine Schomaker is a new media and performance artist, painter and art historian living and working at the Brewery artist complex in Los Angeles. For over 14 years she has been working with various interdisciplinary art forms including online virtual worlds to explore identity and the hybridization of digital media with the physical world. Whether virtual or physical, the object-based work Kristine creates combines elements of color-based gestural abstraction, animation, pattern and design, neo-Baroque and Populence. Using installation, text, photography, mixed media, video and performance for her ongoing conceptual project My Life as an Avatar, she visualizes a narrative/dialogue with her virtual persona, Gracie Kendal. Kristine then documents her experiences on her blog. In 2012, exploring ideas of community, Kristine turned a local gallery into a modern day creation of Gertrude Stein’s salon of the 1920’s with a live mixed-reality dinner party merging the physical world with the online virtual world. Over the summer she also performed The Bald and the Beautiful in which she had her head shaved as a statement to challenge society’s standards of beauty. Currently, Kristine is working as an Artist-in-Residence through the Linden Endowment for the Arts creating an immersive virtual environment which she is planning to bring into the physical world via sculpture/public art work.

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