Come to Create or Medicate, Either Way, You Elevate
Pink doughnuts in the sky and owl eyes, rise high with Dank Canvas, LA’s premiere puff and paint workshop. Jennifer Korsen started the cannabis infused art class in early March 2017. Dank Canvas appeared on my Instagram feed a few days before the event, and I instantly messaged her, practically begging for a spot. Two weeks after announcing it, the first event had sold out, and Korsen has been nonstop ever since.
Now, LA is not the only home to Dank Canvas. Korsen hit the road earlier this summer to traverse the Pacific Northwest, painting murals and teaching along the way. Classes are open to anyone over 21 years of age, from first-time artists to fine art professionals. Korsen caught up with me over the phone, en route to teach her next class, spray paint cans jostling in the back. “I work in a lot of different mediums,” she said, “but spray paint and mixed media are my favorite. I love painting walls and have done well over 100 murals and pieces of public art,” she said.
Dank Canvas is expanding beyond traditional canvas classes to include “Color Me High,” an uninstructed arts and crafts party, and “Herb ‘n’ High,” a workshop featuring guest artists largely from the street community teaching painting based on their own work. Event sponsors like Pearl Pharma and Betty Khronic donate enough cannabis products to keep joints puffing and passing, and mind-bodies elevating and creating. For the debut event, students painted pink doughnuts while eating pink doughnuts from Babinka Treats, high in the sky and high in THC. Full circle indeed.
Korsen also offers healing painting workshops, private parties, teambuilding events, and commission pieces. Look for her workshops and interactive weed wings at retreats and events like the Emerald Exchange in Malibu, California.
“Through Dank Canvas I am finally able to combine my passions for art and cannabis, educating people, and helping them feel better and be more creative,” Korsen said. “I’ve had an amazing response from the beginning, and being the first in Los Angeles to do this is pretty incredible. I also have some dispensary murals planned,” she mused.
Emerald: Why did you start Dank Canvas?
Jennifer Korsen: I’ve been using cannabis and making art with friends since my early teens (Sorry Dad!), and decided to formalize it. I painted my first mural [in 2004], coincidentally, in a dispensary. [Since then,] I’ve been a working artist showing in galleries, doing commissions, curating projects, and doing murals all over the country. I live and breathe art. When my art career started taking off, I developed the “What’s in Your Heart Project” as a way to get people involved creatively. I believe in creativity as a way to practice self care, focus, and be present.
My mom passed away when I was five years old. I had issues that lead me to art therapy, which really helped. Now, I’m driven to give back to at-risk teens going through issues. It’s meditative, to be in that flow state, and I love bringing that to other people and showing them what they are capable of. I’ve worked with teens, seniors, kids and adults with and without developmental disabilities. Art is a really natural human expression and something that makes a lot of people nervous or self-conscious. I want everyone to be able to experience how healing creating art can be. Plus, it’s fun.
Emerald: What is your background with cannabis?
JK: I strongly believe in the healing benefits, and have used cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals, and over the counter drugs, for anxiety, pain, and depression. In 2016, I was painting a mural and my ladder collapsed, dislocating my shoulder. When I was healing, I was given tramadol, a very addictive narcotic. Within a few days, I felt awful. To manage the pain and depression I felt, I turned to cannabis. I could not believe how well it worked! During that time, the seeds for Dank Canvas were planted. Cannabis was there to pick me up when I fell, literally. I’m back to doing murals now, but being much more selective.
Cannabis has always been a social thing for me, too. When I was younger, I went to a bunch of different schools. Through cannabis, I was able to make friends and find people who I felt were like me. I was suspended for smoking weed in high school, and frequently got in trouble for using it, but it always felt right to me. As an adult, I got a medical card and a whole world opened up.
I’m currently obsessed with XJ13 [because] it makes me feel creative and happy. I also love topicals, especially Mrs. Excellence, Papa & Barkley, and Bathworx!
Emerald: What do you hope people get out of the Dank Canvas experience?
JK: One of the hardest things about being creative is having time and space for it. We provide time, space, permission, and supplies to be present for a couple hours, dive into your creativity, relax, and socialize. I hope they have fun and discover they can do something they thought they couldn’t. I hope they like their painting or craft project and want to do more. I also hope they discover new cannabis products that will enhance their lives and connect with a community of like-minded people.
Emerald: What do you want to see happen with legalization in California? How does that influence your business?
JK: I hope that legalization is done in a way that won’t destroy small businesses. I love that the stigma about cannabis is lifting and that more people are able to enjoy the benefits without fear of judgement.
Find out more about Dank Canvas and reserve tickets for the next event:
Instagram: @dankcanvas and @humansmakeart