YabYum Seven: Koryn Woodward Wasson

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All photos courtesy of Koryn Wasson

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Koryn Woodward Wasson and I am an artist. I draw mostly, but I am currently riding the wave of mural painting.

How did you get your start?

I have always made and been encouraged to make art, but when I was 10, I officially started on a path to become an art educator. I went to ASU and got my BFA in Art Education, and I taught drawing, painting, and printmaking at the high school level for the last 10 years.

In 2014 my husband and artist, Roy Wasson Valle, and I made Camp Dreamtree for Scottsdale Public Art, and I caught the art-making bug. Now that I’m not teaching, I’m trying to make art everyday.

koryn wasson 01What inspires you?

All of it. I’m in a constant state of wonder and excitement. I am really inspired by the natural world, plants, animals, clouds, and specifically by birds. I spend most of my time in an ongoing day dream about our world and parallel worlds.

I’m inspired by the stories of other human beings’ experiences on this planet, and that we are making new discoveries about our world and how it works. I love thinking about scientific findings and how they can be represented by art, or how scientific facts can be altered and pondered in art. I’m trying to lessen my ignorance without flaunting it.

I find inspiration in pop culture as well: art, books, shows, movies, podcasts, and the like. Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore, William Gibson, Frida Kahlo, Jhumpa Lahiri, Wes Anderson, Guillermo del Toro, J.K. Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell, Radiolab, Kevin Allison’s RISK!, and countless others.

I also have a 4 year old, and she can really show me a thing or two!!

koryn wasson 09What do you like about AZ?

I love living in Arizona. I should say, I’ve never lived anywhere else for an extended period, so this is very much “home” to me. I love that people assume that a desert is barren, that all of Arizona is filled with cacti and tumbleweeds, and this could not be further from the truth. On a survival trip in high school we had to spend 24 hours in the desert, building a water still, making a lean-to, building a fire, collecting information about our landscape. Part of the assignment was to document one square inch of landscape, then one square foot, then 10 square feet, and so on. When I looked at one square inch of desert and saw 1,000 small rocks, and unbelievably tiny bugs, and bits of decomposing seeds, and all of the colors that exist within a square inch, I was sold. This place is teeming with life. It is an ocean without water. I love it. My whole family lives here too, and I like being around them, they are good, fun people.

koryn wasson 04Where can we see you(r) work?

In my living room, on the orange coffee table, behind the couch, and under the big chair. You can also see it digitally on my Instagram  or at our Squarespace for Fireweather Studio.

I will have the Mantle show at Made in Phoenix for November. I have a piece at the airport in Terminal 4 as part of the Santo Press show, curated by Brent Bond, and I am currently working on a Mural at Redbird Elementary in Mesa, unveiling on November 10th. I also have an ongoing project at the Retreat Center at the Shrine of St. Joseph of the Mountain in Yarnell, if you want to take a drive.

koryn wasson 05What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I would like to visit every state and every National Park within the United States. I would like to make life more magical for my daughter and my husband. I would like to write, illustrate, and publish a book. I would really like to make a movie. I would love to hold on to my sanity, till the end.

What is your mantra?

Wander in wonder.

I also grind my teeth, and my dentist says, “lips together, teeth apart.” I say that to myself quite a bit, it’s a good reminder not to grind, and to shut up and listen.


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