15 Artists Under 30: Victor Koroma
Each week, we’ll feature a few of our New Visual Artists—15 remarkable up-and-coming artists and creatives under the age of 30. Read about Victor Koroma below, and meet all of PRINT’s New Visual Artists in PRINT Magazine.
From: Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, grew up in Alexandria, VA.
Current city: Los Angeles.
Education: The Art Institute of Washington (BFA).
Earliest creative memory: This memory is still vividly imprinted in my mind. And if it radiated a color it would be electric red. I remember my 10-year-old self or so arming himself with scissors and superglue in an eff ort to create hybrids of his toys. I had a red Mighty Morphin Power Rangers action fi gure I would tightly clutch in my tiny hand and wildly run around with, pretending he was flying. One day I thought it would be so cool if the action figure had wings. So I got my Gargoyles action figure that had wings. And before you know it, my red Mighty Morphin Power Rangers action figure had Gargoyle wings superglued to its back! I remember being pretty amazed with the results, but mostly that my idea had come to fruition.
Path that led you to design: If I were to plot my current location like a constellation in the night sky, I would say I’m currently at the star of a polymath, multi-hyphenate. My artwork is mixed media photography that utilizes elements of photography, illustration and painting. I make electronic music under the moniker Shy Away, which samples ’80s music that’s accompanied by my chopped-up vocals. And I also write short stories.
The path that led me to where I’m at can be traced back to when I picked up skateboarding. It taught me how to see the world in a new way. Handrails and staircases were all of a sudden obstacles to do tricks down, whereas before they were just structures that assisted walking. Also, I had skater friends who were writers, musicians and artists. By just hanging out all the time I got into various creative outlets. … My skater friend whose dad was a cameraman would let us borrow his video and photography equipment. So we would make skate videos and take photos to document our tricks. Because of skateboarding I developed a love for photography and went to art school.
After graduating, I still stayed in tune with photography, writing and music. But my photography started to morph because I didn’t have access to all the super-nice cameras I used while at art school. I had to reinvent. That reinvention is what got my photography work to where it is now—a combination of multiple mediums.
Current place of work: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
The key to good design: Minimal. Alluring. Intuitive. Easily functional.
Motto/design philosophy: Think like a kid.
Work of which you’re most proud: My new book Gallery Walk-ins (Unsolicited): Starting From the Bottom of the Creative Ladder. It’s a collection of short stories and art criticism. It documents what it’s like to be a 20-something-year-old artist trying to make it. I gave that book my all, it drove me insane, but I’m elated it exists in the physical world.
Biggest influence: Probably Pharrell Williams, since I wanted to be a combination of him and Usher when I was younger. Also other creative people making amazing stuff—it could be a film by Wes Anderson, a record by Childish Gambino or an installation by Snarkitecture.
Design hero: Jonathan Ive. I have a religious obsession with Apple. And the skeptic part of my brain believes that Steve Jobs is in Tron getting it ready for the rest of humanity.
Favorite typographer: Herbert Bayer and the whole Bauhaus typeface.
Favorite writer: Tao Lin.
What defines you: I define me.
Cause that means the most to you: The cause to embrace and celebrate the things that make you different. I’ve always been the “weird kid,” the one who doesn’t really fit it. The misfit.
What you’re most afraid of: Complete happiness.
What you think the future of design is: Kanye West?
“My Print cover design captures the exuberance of being a young creative—and how we are all kings of our individual creative worlds.”