Story and photos by Will Geier
Cory Nespor is a visual artist known for his unique style, which incorporates text into visual pieces, as well as for his work with NVRLND, formerly Voltage Creative Garage, which houses Nespor’s iconic ‘Wake Me When I’m Famous’ sign.
His work is created by pairing old photographs with passages from notebooks that range from wise guidance to crass insults. The pairing is then brought to life by Nespor’s bright and colourful style and is transformed into a work of art that functions as advice.
Among 19 notebooks, there are roughly 2,000 passages written by a random multitude of strangers, friends and family who have filled the book and are now inspiration just waiting to be put to the canvas.
“I was so inspired with what people had written in the books that I started painting them,” smiles Nespor.
Nespor has approached countless strangers to get his inspiration, and his pitch is simple:
“I know this is weird: I’ve got this book, [and] I want you to write something, no limitations; tell me to fuck off [or] write something inspirational. You can share something in this book and maybe I’ll turn it into a painting.”
Nespor’s background in art started with lessons from his grandmother and led to two years in a Calgary media house and a realization that the fine art life wasn’t for him. After eight years as an electrician and finishing his Masters, Nespor decided it was time for a change.
“I need to live more like me and the life I want to live,” says Nespor.
So he packed up his belongings and moved to New Zealand. He brought along his notebooks and started immersing himself back into the work that excited him.
He managed to get his own show and, after selling every painting, he figured he might be able to make a living off of his art.
“It was life kicking me in the ass and saying you need to do this,” muses Nespor. “A lifetime thing that I finally started to take serious.”
In September of 2013, Nespor began his new/old job of artist and, since then, there has been an apparent evolution in his style.
“I simplified things and that really led me to what I’m doing now, which is simplifying the chaos and making some order out of it.”
He has even started including his own photography into his work where he had previously used old photographs.
A self-described optimist, Nespor chooses to feature inspirational people and photos – or at least ones that have a little humour.
When asked which of his many notebook passages particularly struck a chord with him, Nespor answered with this charming piece of wisdom:
“Somewhere deep inside is the ticket to the ride of your life.”