Frank Korb is constantly examining the world around him in an effort to learn, share, and seek greater understanding. That means his path hasn’t always been a linear one. Out of college he worked as a graphic designer, but quickly learned the corporate world wasn’t a fit for his spirit. He moved into teaching art at the K-12 level, where he used his skills to help kids leverage their creative expression. In his classroom he had fun doing demonstrations for his students, but for a long time he put his own art on the backburner. That is, until he started working on his Master’s Degree in visual arts at Cardinal Stritch University. There, he was back in the studio focusing on his artistic voice, and he was able to strike a balance between being a teacher, student, and creator. Today he is finding success and inspiration in all of these roles.
Speaking to Frank, it’s obvious that he is passionate about both making and teaching art. He is someone who believes in the artist’s continuous evolution and he is an example of someone who has a “growth mindset”. Of his artistic journey he says, “My art pathway started when I was a kid. I wasn’t as good as many of my classmates, but I really enjoyed it and my parents always encouraged me. I kept practicing.”
Today one of the lessons he imparts on his students is, “You have to keep at it. You’re never done
learning. Sometimes I see kids struggle, and it reminds me of when I was their age. I give them a new medium, or demonstrate a new technique, and that can unlock their potential.”
In Frank’s classroom, perfect isn’t the goal. Instead, art is a tool for processing the human experience. Frank is a great role model for that as his own artwork contemplates social themes such as voting rights and climate change.
Frank creates colorful abstractions using multi-layered techniques that are part control and part
surrender. He typically begins with a base of acrylic paint on paper, canvas, or board, and then collages Bible pages (and more recently other passages of text pertinent to the overall content of the particular work) on to his work; this celebrates faith as the foundation of his life, and then in turn how he structures his art. Next he washes paint onto the composition in sweeping movements. Finally, he uses a long stick with charcoal or pastel at the tip and allows it to move in a way that is organic, creating a lyrical, “chasing” effect. He then goes over those marks with thick lines of paint. Always curious and interested in exploring other media, Frank is also currently working with quilting and sculpture.
“Art history in and of itself influences me,” Frank is quick to point out. Throughout his life he has been especially drawn to Abstract Expressionism, minimalism, and Pop art. He also mentions, “I want my students to know that what they’re doing is based on techniques of the past, but it’s their fresh perspective on our modern world that’s exciting. Artists are observers of the world, and we comment on what’s important to us.”
Clearly, his young students also offer a lot of inspiration.
“My challenge is that there’s so much going on in the world. Instead of using my art to comment on everything happening around me, sometimes I need to put the canvas away and listen. I have learned to ask myself, is this a social issue where I am able to be a voice in the conversation, or do I just need to be a supportive and active listener?”
During the 2019-2020 season, Frank was part of the MARN mentors program, partnered with artist Pamela Anderson. “That really pushed me,” says Frank. He credits the experience with encouraging him to hone his techniques, as well as focus on his social commentary.
Today he is very proud of the pieces he’s putting out. “I’ve been able to exhibit, and knowing that people are experiencing my work is so satisfying,” he remarks. “Of course the thing I am most grateful for is the love and support of my family. My wife and daughter have been encouraging of my work and my time in the studio.”
To learn more about Frank’s art, you may visit his website at FrankKorb.com and follow him on
WVA’s new monthly blog feature, Artists Inspiring Artists, is intended to connect our visual arts community by sharing members’ personal stories of artistic evolution, creative processes, struggles, and celebrations. Each month, blogger Mara Duckens will highlight a different artist. Have you got a story to share? Please reach out to Mara at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured.