VSCO Voices – Cori Corinne
Together with VSCO, we’re excited to announce this year’s VSCO Voices grant recipients. For the second year in a row, the program will support five creators with mentorship and funding to make art that empowers marginalized communities in the United States. This year’s theme, Style, drew many remarkable applications and we are excited to be interviewing each creator that was selected for this year’s cohort to learn about them and their projects.
In our last feature, we talked to VSCO Voices creator Cori Corinne. Cori is a graphic designer whose project Dress. Code. will be an interactive photography exhibit that explores the ways in which women and non-binary individuals face double standards in regards to their workplace attire. This project will showcase how a woman’s identity can become fragmented through the lifelong analysis of her appearance while sparking dialogue about how to foster a more open, creative environment for women everywhere.
We spoke to Cori about her ongoing project, picking up photography again, and whether she believes art and storytelling can create change. Here is what she had to say.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Cori Corinne and I’m a graphic designer and artist based in Cincinnati, Ohio. My current mantra in reflecting on my identity is “Designer for employment. Artist for fulfillment. Writer for growth.” I am constantly seeking out what it means to be a creator and what it looks like to combine my passion for design, art, and expressing myself through writing.
What is the project you are working on for VSCO Voices?
My project is titled Dress. Code. which looks into how society’s scrutiny on women and non-binary individual’s bodies and self-expression can oppress and further fragment our identities.
What’s your favorite part about this project?
Connecting with so many amazing individuals within my community that I probably would have never met. I moved back to Cincinnati from New York, so this project has helped to reintroduce me to the city and the thriving community that’s ever-growing.
What kind of work were you doing before the VSCO Voices project?
I worked exclusively as a design freelancer and in-studio designer for the past four years. During that time I began using VSCO and Instagram as outlets to experiment with my process as a designer, artist, and writer and to create a space where I could reflect on my own visual language.
How does where you live impact your creativity?
Wherever I am, I have to either be inspired by the community or my environment. In Cincinnati, I’m driven by both. There is an amazing current of artists who have created a supportive network of creatives that I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from during this project.
As a city, Cincinnati has a charged, raw energy, it’s working to be recognized. It’s constantly changing and growing, which I feel very akin to. My current journey and creative process seems to reflect my environment.
What kind of impact has working on this project had on you personally and for the community?
I’ve been able to reflect on my own identity and go on a journey of self-love and acceptance alongside all those who have been a part of this project. The community of women and non-binary individuals who have gone through this process have found a safe space to verbalize their experiences as well as express and explore themselves without any scrutiny. It’s true freedom.
What have you learned so far working on this project?
I’ve learned to trust my process and ability to adapt, to hold myself with confidence even when I feel as small as a grain of sand. I’ve learned to let go of my pride and know when to ask for help. I’ve learned that people have so much more in common, but we focus on what divides us. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be vulnerable and cry—as that is what makes us human.
What advice would you share with someone who is early on in their career, aspiring to do what you do?
I still find it strange when I’m asked to give advice as I feel young, inexperienced and lost a lot of the time. But that has never stopped me from exploration and experimentation. So I guess that’s my advice: even when you feel unsure or that your experiences don’t matter find a way to express yourself, even if it’s just writing in a notebook that will never be seen.
I learned that there are so many people out there, including myself, who are looking to truly connect with another person and find a space where they can just talk and be listened to without judgment.
I learned that there are so many people out there—including myself—who are looking to truly connect with another person, and find a space where they can just talk and be listened to without judgment.
Do you believe art and storytelling can create change? Why?
Yes. Always. Yes.
Art and sharing my story has changed my life, but that is just the beginning.
My art and sharing my story has helped me to connect to those who feel silenced.
As those who have been silenced begin to verbalize their stories they begin to express themselves.
It becomes a chain reaction in empowerment and independence. As corny as it sounds, it really only takes one person to open up to another.
Describe for us your process for finding and working with the ladies in your project.
At first, I reached out to a lot of ladies through Women of Cincy, which is a local organization that I’ve looked up to ever since moving back. I also started getting into the deep depths of Instagram. Those who messaged me back I made sure to set up a time to talk one and one. These conversations could last an hour to five hours.
I wanted to create a safe space where we could get to know each other, share our experiences and talk openly about the challenges we face. I learned that there are so many people out there, including myself, who are looking to truly connect with another person and find a space where they can just talk and be listened to without judgment.
What has been the biggest creative challenge that you have had to overcome thus far?
In general, this project has been one huge learning curve. Being a designer for the past four years I hadn’t picked up a camera seriously, and getting back into photography was not like riding a bike. I had to re-familiarize myself with the camera and start from square one in terms of knowing what equipment to buy and learning how to use studio lighting. My initial lack of technical ability felt debilitating.
How is your creative process the same or different when working with design versus photography?
Surprisingly, the process is very similar. I’m just quicker and more comfortable in design, but no matter the medium my process is always based off feeling and intuition, which is exactly why I struggled with studio lighting. Studio lighting required an almost scientific method of discovery.
Where do you seek inspiration from for your project?
I found a lot of inspiration through VSCO’s collection feature. Before this project, I hadn’t used VSCO as a platform to discover other artists. Once I began using it as a way to connect with the creative community I came across some amazing work. It’s an incredible tool not only for this project but for all creative work.
What made you ultimately decided to include yourself in this project?
I may be the artist, but I’m just like everyone else struggling with the feeling of discomfort and not knowing who I am. I may have taken strides to be where I am today, but that doesn’t mean my journey has ended. I realized I need a space to express myself and capture this moment of reflection. It’s a moment where I feel momentum building and I can’t wait to see what I’ve built.
Access Ventures believes in creators like Cori can be a powerful force for change. VSCO Voices is a program that helps identify and fund those early-stage creators that create impactful work so that the program might become a catalytic experience to help propel a creators career. Each year, VSCO Voices will select five creators to participate in the six-month program and will provide each of the five grant recipients with mentorship and $20,000 in funding as well as participation in key events with your cohort. Follow along as we continue to update and share more stories about this year’s VSCO Voices creators.