After an indefinite cat nap, the all-singing, all-trusting Dabble Blog is back up and running. Back and better than ever we thought it would be nice to break the aforementioned moment of silence by taking a step back to highlight some of our awesome teachers. Because, well, awesome classes need awesome teachers.

Kicking things off we sat down with Mike Corson – an STL local and multimedia sculptor extraordinaire – to talk about art, CrowdPressTM, pancakes, and more.

You can sign up for Mike’s class (Introduction to Making Multi Media Sculptures, Oct. 19) and tons of other sweet classes here!

How long have you been living in St. Louis and what are a few of the things that keep you here?

I was born and raised in St. Louis, and never felt motivated to leave. It’s been a great place to raise a family and build a business. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a “Where did you go to high school?” person. Strangely enough, my 3 children went to the same high school I did… I live and work within a 3 mile area of where I grew up. I enjoy seeing old classmates and friends around town on a frequent basis.  I love the small town, community feel of St. Louis…

medium_tall_horse_backWhen did you get into multimedia sculpture? What types of materials do you tend to work with?

I attended Webster University, where my primary studies were psychology and sociology.  I took some art classes there, but my secondary field of study was an attractive hippie girl who was majoring in ceramics. So I spent a lot of time in the art department of Webster.  I ended up marrying her while attending Webster. Honestly, I struggled with my traditional studies, but was always a very mechanical, “maker” type of person. I was drawn to sculpture by the challenge of solving the problems of getting certain mediums to conform to a vision…Making something permanent and learning all the constructive skills in order to make them real.

After college, I was working part time in a small printing company my father had just started, and that seemed an natural fit for my mechanical skills, so I partnered with my father full time.

Over the years, I’ve worked in clay, welded metal, cloth, plaster, cement and wire forms. I enjoy working with new, unfamiliar materials and learning how I might use them to further my expressions…. I guess that quest will never end. Recently I’ve been really engaged in using natural materials like bee’s wax to colorize forms I’ve made with cloth and cement.  The wax is very forgiving, and can be colored, shaped or transformed for a variety of purposes…It is a very remarkable medium.

You’ve had your work shown at The St. Charles County, Lillian Yahn Gallery, and Tinnin Center Gallery. How do you go about getting your work into a gallery?  

I’m a member of a “Meet Up” group called Wax Centric, which is a talented group of artists working in wax. Our group organizer Lisa Sisley Blinn, has been working very hard to get our collective works exposed in gallery type venues. Lisa was instrumental in getting myself and others in our group in those venues.

When we spoke the other day we talked about a really cool new company that your son is currently in the beta stages of getting ready to launch. Can you talk about that?

My son is starting a new venture called CrowdPressTM. CrowdPressTM is a crowd funding site, for artists, photographers, designers and illustrators to crowd fund their printed projects.  Basically it is a forum for artists to show their work, and pre-sell their printed expressions at much lower costs, without the financial risks of printing their item at great expense with potentially no buyers. CrowdPressTM also does the printing and fulfillment with 50% of the gross sales going directly to the creator. It’s a win for both the artist and CrowdPressTM.

By day you run NJC printing. It seems like your family is very entrepreneurial. How would you describe the landscape for startups and new, younger businesses here in STL?

From my experience, there’s a particular risk averse culture here in St. Louis, and it’s always been a difficult thing to put my finger on, or really describe. We’re not a community of risk takers….and how that translates to the start up community; I don’t really can’t say.  I grew up in business in a time when there was more demand than supply, and your product was not commoditized…….That has really reversed in almost every business model. If I were starting a business today, I would not be looking to start a local brick and mortar outlet. I’d be looking to tap in to the huge universe of the internet.

When you’re not running NJC or sculpting, what do you dabble in?mo-saint-louis-uncle-bills

I have a fascination with putting small motors on bicycles and other wheeled vehicles. My winter project is going to be a Vespa type scooter converted to a stand up vehicle. Not to worry….it won’t go very fast.

If you had to pick, what is your favorite place for pancakes in STL?

Well… I’m not really a pancake type person, but since you asked…My favorite brunch would be…A short stack at Uncle Bill’s, followed up with an onion and green pepper pizza from Imo’s.