Tucked away in a warehouse space turned art studio somewhere in Downtown LA’s Arts District, Jennifer Korsen is working around the clock for the five group exhibitions she’s showing in and her solo show “Cross My Heart” opening at Stone Malone Gallery on Friday, February 13th & 14th.
Korsen’s art studio is a shared space (though she seems to be the only one occupying it) equipped with a skate ramp, forgotten artwork (Shepard Fairey used to create there) even some leftover gear from legendary punk band the Melvins. The space is a mix of CBGB a la East Village in the 70’s and the San Fernando Valley’s, skate punk culture of the early 80’s. The decaying bathroom pays homage to Los Angeles, it seems mostly anywhere you look you find a little piece of imaginative sentiment. It is an area built for an art punk princess, with undeniable imagination in every crack, rip and tear. Charming in its authenticity just like Jennifer herself.
As some may know conducting a studio visit can be somewhat of a mundane process for any curator / art consultant, in this case, not only was I left feeling a little inspired by Korsen’s “chutzpah” I felt like I had visited an old friend. Her passion and work ethic resonated with me leaving the lasting impression that Korsen IS the real deal.
“People don't live in Los Angeles because we are tied to the same old, same old. We live in Los Angeles because of the intoxicating energy of new beginnings that permeate our city.” - Marianne Williamson
Two years ago in Feb 2013, Jennifer evolved from a contemporary artist into one of LA’s budding female street artists. Her “Paper Hearts” show kicked off the theme for her large-scale heart murals that she hopes to produce in various cities. (Her Pumping Heart series sold two out of 3 in the first night and led to other painting installations.) CUT TO: Six years later, Korsen work has been part of group exhibits with the some of the most infamous artists of our time including: Banksy and Tim Burton.
Most people know Jennifer’s work to center around the image of an atomically correct heart, the vascular system and “heart math” concept. Heart Math is a philosophy that believes the heart is at the center of the human experience and the heart as an organ is much more interactive and important in our lives than just being a muscle that pumps blood around our bodies. Korsen’s studio is filled with mixed media, woodwork, sculpture, jewelry, clothing and even geographic heart shaped maps. We discussed the initial stimulus that led her to focus on the pumping heart as a central them and just as I suspected we covered quantum physics, communication between genders essentially tying everything back to the human condition. But you will have to wait on part 2 for all of that. The Q & A portion will be published after “Cross My Heart” opening reception covering how Korsen views being labeled as a street artist, growing up in LA, the importance of giving back to her community and dealing with naysayers.
“Her art pulls from deeply personal spaces, and the city of Los Angeles. A city that is ever changing, a city with a heart beat. Her "Heart" pieces serve as powerful symbols, something we all want, something we all need. The heart is the great equalizer, an image that most people connect to, but for very individual reasons. The full emotional spectrum—love, hate, vulnerability, strength, connection, life, death, pleasure, and pain—can all be recalled just by looking at the heart."
“Cross My Heart” opens this weekend, Friday, February 13th & Saturday February 14th at the Stone Malone Gallery on Melrose. Given her concentration on the pumping heart it makes sense since February is the month we celebrate the lovely and sometimes dreaded holiday, Valentine’s Day. She has been on a massive roll this month not only with her solo show, participating in three groups shows (Red Pipe Gallery, 11:11 A Creative Collective) and three upcoming charity events (The Art of Elysium’s “Pieces of Heaven,” Kidspace Children’s Museum and UNICEF.)
CROSS MY HEART
Opening Reception Friday 13th, 2015 & Saturday February 14th 2015.
Stone Malone Gallery
7619 1/2 Melrose Avenue