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Jennifer Korsen’s “Heartopia” Puts The Art in Artery

0 Comments 06 February 2018

jennifer korsen

Santa Clarita-based interactive installation and fundraiser marks the culmination of five years of public works and community engagement.

by Daniel Barron

 

 

Don’t call Jennifer Korsen the Queen of Hearts. Well, okay, she does, but a self-conscious wink is definitely applied. The Los Angeles-based muralist, mixed media artist, and activist derives the title from her signature image, an abstract rendering of a human heart. Perhaps you have seen it around town. It’s anatomically-incorrect, designed without consulting visual reference, but that kind of error speaks to the personalized, handmade quality of creation. It also informs the sentiment behind the moniker she is better known by: Humans Make Art.

Korsen created her first mural in 2004, at a dispensary, and later displayed her work in a gallery setting for the first time in 2009. Since her arrival, she has crafted an estimated “well over a hundred” murals and installations across the country. She has serviced clients such as The City of Los Angeles, Red Bull, and Whole Foods, and been featured in popular local venues such as The Hive Gallery, Copro Gallery, and La Luz de Jesus. Beyond LA, she has displayed her work in Portland, Seattle, New York, Germany, and the UK.

 

jennifer korsen

Photo: Fanny Chu

 

Public art draws power from its availability to an audience. No admission fees, no gallery hours, no polishing for the masses required. That also means it is often a one-way conversation. Yet the human element of community engagement has been a vital part of Korsen’s career as an artist, best exemplified in her ongoing What’s In Your Heart Project. This art-as-therapy tool began in 2013 as a leadership exercise she conducted with a group of high school girls in South LA, where Korsen handed the students blank replicas of her signature heart design along with the prompt, “What’s in your heart?” The idea was a success, and What’s In Your Heart went on to become a positive experience in other schools as well as organizations that treat at-risk youth, art walks, mental health facilities, and corporate training events. It has been part of charitable organizations such as City of Hope, Children’s Hospital, Saving Innocence, Junior Blind, and the Teen Power Group. It has even been used in activities for the American Heart Association and received grants from The Jewish Federation.

 

jennifer korsen

Photo: Fanny Chu

 

The project reaches a culmination on February 9th with the debut of “Heartopia,” an elaborate solo exhibition and fundraiser in benefit of What’s In Your Heart. Put on by The Main and the City of Santa Clarita, “Heartopia” will showcase newly-crafted, large-scale installations, mixed media works, and pieces from Korsen’s private collection which will be sold in an online auction hosted by Bid27. Audience participation will be strongly encouraged, as the show will be an interactive event where attendees can design and contribute their own heart pieces to be used as part of an installation. As a capper to five years of hard work it is the artist’s hope to encourage self-care and human connection through the process of creativity.

She writes of the show: “If Valentine’s Day had a capital, it would be ‘Heartopia.'”

In the mood for love? Make a date for this Friday.

 

jennifer korsen

Photo: Fanny Chu

 

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The What’s In Your Heart Project in action. Photo:

 

 

“Heartopia” opens Friday, February 9th, at The Main in Santa Clarita, 7-10pm. (24266 Main St., Newhall, CA 91321)

Learn more about Jennifer Korsen on her website.

Follow Jennifer Korsen: What’s In Your Heart Project, Instagram, Twitter, Etsy

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- who has written 424 posts on Yay! LA | Arts & Culture Magazine.

Rudderless college graduate Daniel Barron founded Yay! LA Magazine on a love of writing, passion for the arts, and a firm belief that people really like talking about themselves. He contributed to a number of publications, including LA Music Blog and the defunct The Site Unscene, before deciding to cover arts and entertainment the way he wanted to read it. He works as a freelance writer and digital PR consultant in his current home of Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @YayDanielBarron.

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