First things first, can you introduce yourself to our readers? Where are you from? What brought you to New York? What do you do/make?
I am a mixed media sculptor, working prominently in wax to make burnable, ephemeral art! I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, and went to school for Spanish and Latin American Studies. The original plan was to pursue the foreign service after graduating college, and I spent a few years abroad, but eventually decided art was the correct path for me, and of course where else do you move for that besides New York?
One thing we think is just so cool is that you make portrait candles of pets and of people. What made you start doing that? Can you tell us any stories about any interesting portraits you've made?
Yes! I do a lot of commission portraiture. The requests started organically - I would make the bust a celebrity or historical figure, just for my entertainment, and then people began to ask for their own. It's fun for me to look at someone and assess what it is about them - what features and what expressions- make that person unique.
I think perhaps the most interesting commission is when someone had me make their genitals as a candle, with their name in gothic writing running up the side. I'm not sure I will agree to that again lol.
Ummm, that is hilarious! We want to know oh so much more, haha, but moving on... What is your connection to Friends NYC?
Emma found me! But I've been a fan of Friends for years, so I'm super elated to have my work there. I bought the most perfect Rolos jeans there. They have since been retired after enduring spilled marinara. But they were glorious, RIP.
Oh what a bummer. I hope the marinara was delicious :)
What are you currently working on?
This very second I'm racing to finish the last remaining pieces I have for a show opening Thursday. It's really exciting - Notes on a Dollhouse is an olfactive and immersive art show featuring sculptural candle pieces scented by perfumer Marissa Zappas. It should be great...once these last pieces are completed!
From where do you draw your inspiration?
I'm really inspired by nostalgia, pop culture, and humor. I think when you're working with themes of memory and the past, it is especially compelling to work with impermanent materials, such as burnable wicks and wax.
What are three things you never leave home without?
Wallet, airpods, and seventeen red lipsticks.
What’s making you excited right now in life?
I'm planning on being fully bi-coastal for the winter. I'm setting up a studio in LA, and per the farmer's almanac, it's supposed to be a cold one in New York this year.
That's the dream!
What changed for you and your work because of the pandemic?
I think this time allowed me to incubate my work more than I would have if there were other distractions. You can easily track the ways my style has transformed over this period. I feel excited about that process.
And finally, who else in the community should we be looking out for?
I'm so fortunate to have found a community of artist friends, all of whom inspire me. My bff Jordan Sondler is an incredible illustrator and last year published the book Feel it Out, which is easily my go to holiday gift. My friend Alistair Matthews just founded Le Puzz (carried at Friends!), which are these insanely amazing puzzles. They're art. My friends Christopher Gale and Laura Chautin are ceramicists. I want literally everything they make.
Thanks for sharing all this, Janie. We truly love your work. Good luck with the bi-coastal lifestyle. You inspire us! Shop the entire Janie Korn collection right here.
Photos of Janie and her work by Johnny Kompar