Local artist proving ‘Kingston isn’t boring anymore’

Francisco C.J. Corbett is paving the way with t-shirt campaign

Francisco C.J. Corbett is a passionate creative mind.
Credit: 
Supplied by Francisco C.J. Corbett

Long-time local artist Francisco C.J. Corbett is launching a new t-shirt collection under the motto “Kingston isn’t boring anymore.”

Corbett, a Kingston local, was adopted from Guatemala at five years old and lived on Clergy St. for the first twenty years of his life. He’s dedicated to his craft as an artist and pushing the boundaries of the town’s aesthetic presence.

“When you see me out there selling t-shirts and things like that, [it’s] for rent—it’s more money to survive,” he said in an interview with The Journal.

As a teenager, Corbett began collaborating with the people around him to put on art shows and community projects.

“I really wanted to get myself out there and into situations where I could meet new people.”

Despite initially feeling discouraged by the lack of welcoming spaces for his creative curiosity, Corbett forged his own path with those around him. His extensive efforts have since brought together photographers, models, and artists.

“These were my projects to incite that community.”

 “Kingston isn’t boring” grew from an idea into a movement during a conversation Corbett had with a friend in his warehouse studio.

“She was asking me, ‘What are you trying to do?’ ‘What's your point?’ I was like, I’m trying to make Kingston not boring anymore.”

Following this conversation, Corbett has worked with close friend Eric Chen to put up billboards with the slogan to generate interest in his mission. The new t-shirts are a byproduct of the excitement and support he’s received.

 “If you give someone a new belief system, they will champion that belief system in any robe,” Corbett said.

“I want people to appreciate where they are. I’m sure when you came to Queen’s and Kingston, you didn’t know anything about it, didn’t see it on maps, couldn’t see your favourite artists play here.”

The t-shirts are only the beginning. Corbett wants to see art shows everywhere in Kingston.

“I got sick of people feeling they need to go to Toronto or Montreal to get their artistic fix,” he said. “We can do it here. We can also make it here. But it is an uphill battle.”

Over the last year, Corbett and his creative co-conspirators unified under the umbrella of “4World”, a collective dedicated to building an inclusive creative community here in Kingston.

“It’s not a sexy, fancy, old-school gallery,” he explained. “We’re going to bust down your door and yell and play music and create art.”

The passion behind Corbett’s artistic mission is perhaps best understood by the tattoo on the side of his abdomen that reads “For Forever.”

“[This is] for you, for me, for the community, for everyone, for my son, for my parents.”

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