Corie Mattie aka LA Hope Dealer is an activist and artist, recipient of the Woman of the Year 2021 award from SD26 Senator Ben Allen in recognition of her striking street art campaigns enacted during the pandemic. In high-beam yellow and black, stencils and simple but impactful symbols and images (birds in flight, outstretched hands) Mattie delivers messages that are both inspirational and more deeply thought-provoking, distilling the salient issues of the day (the imperative of maintaining quarantine, the duty to remain hopeful, the indignation at rampant social injustice and the scourge of racism) into calls to mindfulness that are impossible to miss.
L.A. WEEKLY: What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
CORIE MATTIE: On one hand, I have pieces that are meant to be uplifting and hopeful and, most important, connect people to one another. I want my art to be applied to viewers’ personal experiences and have people attach meaning to it in any way they see fit. Art is meant for interpretation. It can be universal and specific, which makes art expression so inspiring and beautiful.
On the other hand, I have work that stops and makes people think. I want to promote an open mind, and allow people to see different perspectives by shedding light on issues that are prominent in today’s society. I want it to be that little nudge for someone to start evolving and growing, while reminding people that we all come from the same mold. We are all human.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I have a B.S. in Kinesiology from University of Maryland with a Master’s in Sports Management from Georgetown University, so I would probably still be working a sports-related job.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I did not. Growing up in a family full of educators, it never seemed practical to pursue art as a “real” job. I ignored my artistic side for a long time — losing myself in sports, friends and academics.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
I have an East Coast mindset and attitude, but my heart lies on the West Coast. Los Angeles has a competitive art scene so it keeps me on my feet. The city motivates me to constantly improve my technique and experiment with new mediums. I love being surrounded by so many creatives because it constantly challenges me to think of new concepts and think outside the box.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
I am currently chatting with NeueHouse in Hollywood, in conjunction with the 26th District Senate’s office, to have a residency and event related to all my pandemic and activist works that began in 2020.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
Banksy. Hands down. He creates images about current social and political issues that have a touch of dark humor while relaying deeper messages. I think his signature stenciling technique is part of the reason I began painting black and white images.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
My Beautiful Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West.
Website and social media handles, please!