Anna Korkobcova Talks Design Aesthetic, Interior Projects And Overcoming Career Challenges [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

Anna Korkobcova
(Photo : Courtesy of Anna Korkobcova)

As a woman unafraid to take risks in exploring her creativity and avoids the notion of being defined by a career title, Anna Korkobcova highlights this week's The Scoop.

In our exclusive interview, Korkobcova talks how growing up in the Czech Republic became a strong foundation in fostering her creative side. Her connection to literature, classical music, history and architecture is inherently linked to her work today.

Korkobcova's skills span unique territories, from interior design, painting and styling to various collaborations, custom art pieces and collaging. She plans to continue learning and exploring new ways of combining these different facets in her work.

Not only are we moved by her design aesthetic, but we're also inspired by Korkobcova's perspective on social media today. She reminds us to experience life as it is actually happening without the need to constantly share those moments online. 

Read on to discover how Korkobcova manages to keep a healthy career balance. 


(Photo : Courtesy of Anna Korkobcova)


MB: Who is Anna Korkobcova?

AK: Visual storyteller. Collage artist. Interior designer. Painter. All around visual creature who won't stop exploring the different layers of creativity. 

MB: Were you influenced by the arts during childhood? When do you believe your creativity really flourished?

AK: Growing up in Europe (Czech Republic) I have always been surrounded by rich history and beautiful architecture. My parents often took me and my sisters to museums and we visited a lot of castles wherever we went. I loved the layered stories old places held. Reading a lot has left its mark too, classics and Russian novels were a favorite in high school. The stories had this somber mood, which made them very real, and I wanted to hold on to them long after the book was finished.

Playing piano for almost 8 years, quite poorly I must admit, created a connection to classical music, and I still find inspiration in music to this day. The women in my family each had an artistic side, so being creative came naturally in such surrounding. But at the time in my country, it wasn't really clear that one could be creative and make a living out of it. History, architecture, literature, music...even back then they were all naturally intertwined. I just didn't know how to apply it yet.

MB: Where do you find inspiration? What is your process like?

AK: The thing with inspiration is that it grows the more [you are] out in the world. Certainly I can find thousands of beautiful images online (Pinterest is a personal weakness), but the biggest surprises come when I'm just walking outside, talking to people, listening to podcasts and stories, going to lectures, reading interesting books and, of course, traveling to new places. That's where ideas usually start brewing. Often it's the most day-to-day life moments that bring unexpected inspiration. Sometimes when I'm cooking, I look at the fresh ingredients in front of me, vegetables cut out and spices all lined up, and I think to myself, what a beautiful color palette sits right there waiting to be captured! And I don't run to the phone and post it on social media, but instead I try to soak up that moment, create a mental note and use that memory in future projects. 


(Photo : Courtesy of Anna Korkobcova)


MB: Describe what a work day in your life is like.

AK: Because I work in a few different territories, each day is little different. Most often I work solely on a large scale interior design project that I've been involved in for the past year with a fellow interior designer, Julianne Malnick. Those days are spent designing and drawing custom elements, figuring out details, refining material palettes and doing lots of project management. In one morning we can be visiting vendors and sourcing marble for one of our bathrooms, then drafting custom mill-work details and later learning about best security lock systems (yes, that too!). It's wonderful that I can work from home or a coffee shop. I recently started working in a library, because it's very quiet, which allows me to focus and also have access to plenty of historical references for inspiration.


(Photo : Courtesy of Anna Korkobcova)


Other days I focus on Color Series ideas, partake in collaborations, styling, create custom art pieces, design boards, more interior projects, etc. It really depends what projects come my way or what opportunities I create. 

MB: What are you currently working on? How do you continue to grow as an artist/designer?

AK: As I mentioned, the interior design project takes half of my time. It's a beautiful residential property and our client is quite unique — very hands on and involved with us through every detail, and is curious and genuinely interested in the design process. It's not about impressing guests with the biggest this or most expensive that. Interior design is not just about putting pretty mood boards together. If you truly want to enhance someone's environment, you don't just fill it with stuff...with senseless decorative objects. It takes a much more thoughtful approach to understand architecture and lighting. Also, a client's ideal use of space and, of course, the details. Details are everything.

We are focusing on craftsmanship and timeless design, and we are learning so much through the process. It's truly a gift to be able to have the opportunity to not only do what I love but also grow as a designer and a person because of it.


(Photo : Courtesy of Anna Korkobcova)


The other part of my days are used to do much needed in-house organization - from updating a website and documenting work, to brainstorming ideas for new Color Series and related projects. I don't have an assistant, so figuring out logistics of everything can be challenging sometimes, but at the same time, with each new task you learn a new set of skills. Last month I relocated from San Francisco to Portland for a three-month stay before making the next big move. It's exciting to say yes to adventures and experience the thrill and vulnerability of living in a new city (even if for just a few months). 

MB: What sort of challenges have you have had to overcome throughout your career so far? 

AK: For a long time it was trying to find balance and enough hours in the day. But I finally came to a good place where I wrote down my priorities and made necessary adjustments to be able to do what I imagined. I also stopped putting pressure on myself to produce something fast, because you should or because everybody on social media posts something new all the time. I kind of stepped back and realized that what I really want to create takes time, and that it's okay to do less, but with more intent.


(Photo : Courtesy of Anna Korkobcova)


The other block was facing the pressure to fit into one mould and have only one job title. In the past few months something clicked though and I think I figured it out. I stopped worrying and instead focused even more on simply creating good work, be it collage, interior design or styling. Practicing mindfulness everyday has been a tremendous guide to stay on my own path. 

MB: Could you describe your aesthetic in 3 words? 

AK: Thoughtful. Playful. Timeless.

MB: What do you believe makes you unique? 

AK: Not sure if this makes me unique, but while I take my work seriously, I don't take myself too seriously. It's a healthy balance in a design world and life in general.

And again, making every effort to combine different fields into one career. My degree is in interior design, but during school I worked for a wonderful florist (Natalie Bowen Designs) and people automatically thought I do weddings myself. I don't. But flowers were officially imprinted into my soul, and I knew they would have to become part of my work. Color and strong visuals were another element I was always drawn to. I felt like I had something to say with this discovered mix of ingredients and that's how Color Series started. Fast forward two-and-a-half years and the series have become part of my identity. And today, I combine materiality, florals and digital techniques, and there is no stopping with them now. It has all been a natural cycle of progress and evolvement, but it came through practice in each field, hard work, a curious approach and taking risks.


(Photo : Courtesy of Anna Korkobcova)


MB: What is something most people do not know about you?  

AK: That I've had a completely different (and quite uncreative) life in my twenties! It has always been a dream of mine to combine passion with my professional career, but due to personal circumstances it wasn't possible right away. And then everything changed. I was done with the life I was living, and I wanted to go back to the place where I knew I was always meant to be. So I made a change — I started from scratch, went to school in San Francisco, took out student loans and re-built this dream one step at a time. It wasn't easy, but there is a huge value in starting over a little later in life because it makes you incredibly humble and thankful for every small success you might have. There is still so much to learn and accomplish. The list of ideas keep growing, and, at the same time, I never take each day I get to do what I love for granted. 


(Photo : Courtesy of Anna Korkobcova)


MB: What can we expect from you in the near future, let's say two to five years?  

AK: I'd like to explore Color Series as larger works of art that are evolving into sculptural installations. I want them to be unique jewels one can hang on their wall and keep forever in a private home, but also it would be fantastic to see them in public spaces, such as hotel lobby where more people could experience them. I'd also love to work with more brands on their campaigns and styling. Continuing interior design. Have another gallery show. The list goes on.

Ultimately, I want to make people happy and bring positive thoughts and energy into their life. I want to keep creating around topics that are both light and playful but also topics that are important to me. As a designer and artist, my goal is to put something good and meaningful out in the world. 

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