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Cori Maass: The Human Experience through the Eye of a Minimalist

Mary Caroline Russell



How often do we pay attention to the human experience? An aspect of life so utterly important yet overlooked time and time again. But there are a rare few who get the picture, much like American artist, Cori Maass.

The LA-based illustrator uses her canvas to explore and depict the emotions and interconnectivity of people. Noting she’s deeply inspired by “lessons the Earth holds that mirror our internal experiences,” her minimalist style portrays the messages through intricate lines, shapes, and text.

Maass believes art is destined to intersect with life, which she conveys through murals, printed works, brand collaborations, fashion, and tattoos.

Does anyone of the work here engage with any particular social issues?

I like to focus on social issues first as human issues, both interpersonal and intrapersonal. I think sometimes it is easier to talk about issues from the standpoint of universal human experiences (like empathy, or shame, or sadness) rather than using the language of “politics”, where words can sometimes lose their meaning. Not that political conversation isn’t important, it is easier for me, however, to convey my feelings from a different place. I wrote a poem [attached] after the Cavanaugh trials brought up conversations surrounding the abuse that many women have experienced. My goal was to cut out the chatter and try to communicate from a place of power and identity for women.

Do you think art has the power to affect any kind of social change?

Definitely. Art is a reflection of what is going on at the time but also creates a narrative that affects society. Art shapes the social conversation whether that be through music, design, or any other medium.

With social media, artists are able to spread social change and images that give us something to visualize a better future rather than just talking about it.

Which themes and subjects do you like to illustrate and explore?

I am very interested in exploring the human experience. The human experience includes complex emotions, duality, moral dilemmas, and relationships. I like to explore visual (or written) metaphors to provide meaning for what I am experiencing.

Are you driven by creative interests or commercial interests?

My biggest interest is how art intersects and affects life. I like my art to be purposeful and engaging with people so that can lend itself to commercial interests because it allows people to be part of the story. However, I became an artist full time because I was frustrated by just creating things for the purpose of selling.

At the end of the day, I am fulfilled when I create from a pure place of honesty and it connects with someone else.

Do you find that this notion of place has a very strong impact on your work?

I think place definitely strongly impacts me personally. That will naturally translate to my work! I have to go to new places or different places to be able to stay centered within myself and continue to expand my perspective. Places are mostly made special to me by the people in them and the different parts of myself that come out when I am in those settings. Each place I have lived or traveled has taught me both about other people and about myself. I think of places as mirrors that show you pieces who you are.

Quite a lot of your work originates from human experience and the emotions and connections, please expand.

The best art advice I was ever given was in a photo class, where the instructor was talking about developing your photographic eye. He explained that good photos originate with seeing. This idea is something that I use for art and life as a whole now. I begin with seeing. Taking an honest look inside myself and taking the role of an observer in the world around me. I look for nuances and details and how they connect to form a bigger picture. Life as a human is messy and complex, much like nature.

Art is a way for me to process and wade through it all and reflect on the fact that it is ultimately beautiful.

Where do you create most of your pieces?

I work in coffee shops a lot!! The base of many of my pieces is digital or on paper so I can take my art and work wherever I go. These pieces then get translated into murals, apparel, prints, tattoos, and anything really. I am very interested in how art intersects life and adds to the fabric of our stories.

You talk about the “aesthetics of minimalism”. What does this mean and why is it important to you?

Minimalism is knowing how much is too much or too little; it’s a fine balance. I think it is important to me because I think it gives me the ability to say a lot simply while leaving space for someone else’s interpretation. This allows me to be honest and give people the opportunity to connect within their own life’s story.

In the minimalist space, I think it is important to apply new ideas to visual themes that may have been done, and in that, to add your personal perspective.

For example, artists have drawn faces minimally for years, but I ask myself to create from a perspective that is unique or (at least) honest.

Tell me about your current series.

Currently, I am exploring moral and emotional concepts through shapes and abstract lines. I hope to compile them into a book by the end of the year! The concepts I have been exploring so far are grief (the concept of death vs. rebirth, and acceptance of death), compartmentalization of emotions/actions, shame, and self-preservation. (I promise I am fun at parties hahaha).

What is one of the most challenging works you have made recently?

Lately, just in general, it has been a struggle to present myself honestly without feeling too seen. It is a hard balance of being vulnerable through art but allowing myself time to process when I know others are seeing my work. I always appreciate it though because I am creating through the confusion, I just sometimes get overwhelmed when I know I am being honest but it feels scary.

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Arts And Culture

Jackie Sorkin’s Candytopia offers sweet hangout spot



The world of Willy Wonka meets pop culture and nostalgia in the Candytopia exhibit which has taken Atlanta by storm since opening Feb. 8. Upon entering, visitors are transported into a custom-made candy paradise. Southern hospitality will marinate topia-goers with enthusiastic zeal as they explore this sweet wonderland.

The massive displays within the entrance of the first room encompass the space and present the viewer with a one-of-a-kind treat. With swings, over-the-top interactives, and unique aesthetics, the photo opportunities are “NDLYSS” (excuse the pun).

The savvy team of engineers put the experience as a top priority. From the oversized lollipops, neon lighting, and rooms adorned with chandeliers, Sorkin’s touch of glam is breathtaking and simply unforgettable.

Coming of the hills of the infamous Infinity Mirrors exhibit, Sorkin has perfect timing for introducing ATLiens to Candytopia. In a city thriving off of culture and on its way to being adoptive of cool and quirky experiences like this one, Candytopia will bring attendees back to their adolescent roots. So, come with an open mind, willingness to be silly, and you’ll never want to leave the world of candy.

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Arts And Culture

Atlanta’s new Candytopia exhibition is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth



Joel Pitra

Move over, Willy Wonka! Candytopia is prepared to give your chocolate factory a run for its money.

Don’t panic –– this candy-coated paradise accepts golden tickets, too. Beginning Feb. 15, a one-of-a-kind, sugar-filled experience will descend into Atlanta at EDENS Lenox Marketplace. After two successful runs in San Francisco and New York, Candytopia is set to provide ATLiens with the sweetest Southern hospitality.

Joel Pitra

According to a release sent to NDLYSS, Candytopia contains over a dozen rooms with larger-than-life interactive art installations and full sensory experiences. The delectable exhibit will also feature the most popular attractions from its past locations along with new elements inspired by local culture and landmarks unique to this location.

Candytopia gives a peek inside the sweet and twisted world of famed celebrity candy artist, Jackie Sorkin, and it was created in partnership with her co-founders, events and production design expert Zac Hartog, CEO of ZH Productions, and retail veteran John Goodman.

Joel Pitra

The buzzworthy installation has even garnered attention from A-list celebs like Drew Barrymore, Gwynth Paltrow, Jessica Biel, Bruce Willis, Adam Sandler, Kevin Durant, Josh Duhamel, Christina Aguilera, James Corden, Wiz Khalifa, Hilary Duff, and Alessandra Ambrosio.

Tickets will officially go on sale to the general public on Jan. 15. Don’t procrastinate as Candytopia is expected to sell out quickly.

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Arts And Culture

Say What? KFC creates gravy scented candle



If you’re craving for your home to smell like warm gravy KFC has you covered! The fast-food chain is bringing it’s savory aroma to your front door, and the best part is… it doesn’t require you to cook. Now that sounds like the ultimate recipe, right?

The Fried chicken aficionados known for their finger-licking sauce has launched a limited edition gravy scented candles, that both smells and looks like gravy.

There are 230 of the limited edition candles up for grabs, available on a first come, first served basis.

These limited edition candles are being only offered in the UK at this time and will hopefully melt away to the US. If you’re a candle hoarder, this may be the perfect addition to your collection.

This is not the first time that KFC has released a scented candle. In 2016, it released a fried chicken-scented candle in New Zealand, but only 25 were made.

Then, back in 2017, KFC Japan released a fried chicken-scented bath bomb for people to bathe in the scent of its 11 herbs and spices.

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