Monica Seggos brings her Broken Heart Repair Shop to the Venice Art Crawl

By Christina Campodonico

The nurse is in at The Broken Heart Repair Shop, developed and performed by artist Monica Seggos
Photo by Amruta Patil

How do you heal a broken heart? It’s a question that’s plagued poets, psychologists and doctors for centuries, and still puzzles us today.

Artist and stylist Monica Seggos is not a poet, psychologist or doctor, but she does run a clinic known to offer promising remedies. Her Broken Heart Repair Shop pops up at the Venice Art Crawl from 6 to 10 p.m. next Thursday inside Venice Art Crawl President Sunny Bak’s Pacific Avenue studio.

Donning a classic white nurse’s uniform and red heels, Seggos transforms into Nurse Candy (a nod to the pulp fiction novels that inspired her character) and consults with “patients” (i.e. participants) on their emotional heart troubles. An old-fashioned privacy curtain, antique metal prosthetics, anatomical drawings and a heart transplant cooler set the scene.

“People have asked me, ‘Why do you use hearts and skeletons?” says Seggos. “I say, ‘Everyone has one.’ … It’s universal.”

Think of her combo doctor’s office / art exhibit like Lucy’s psychiatry stand from “The Peanuts,” except with a lot less lip and a lot more compassion.

“I sit down and I listen,” explains Seggos, who started The Broken Heart Repair Shop as a graduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design four years ago, following a breakup. She encourages visitors to open up and allows them to talk for as long as they need.

“At the end, I write a prescription,” she continues. “It’s from my feeling of what I need to tell them.”

Scribbled on a piece of vintage Rx paper, the “prescription” not only becomes a personalized piece of advice, but a memento of the exchange.

“For me art is a process. … There seems to be some connection that happens when people sit down,” says Seggos. “Some people who came in were really affected by it. I use medical equipment, so it brings out fear and pain [sometimes]. … One person said, ‘I usually go to gallery shows and I leave and I don’t feel anything; this is the first time I’m leaving having felt something.’ … Some people have said, ‘I’m not suffering. I’m very happy.’ I ask them, ‘Tell me how you stay happy, so that I can use that to help other people.’”

Ultimately Seggos hopes that her Broken Heart Repair Shop helps people gain new perspective on their love lives, just as it did hers.

“The broken heart went away, but the love didn’t,” she says. “Love doesn’t go away.”

Next week’s Venice Art Crawl spans Venice Boulevard between Lincoln Boulevard and the beach. Highlights include:

• Lori Petty of “Orange is the New Black,” “Point Break,” “Tank Girl” and “A League of Their Own” displays her drawings at James Beach (60 N. Venice Blvd.)

• Artist Paul Michael Glaser (a.k.a. Starsky in ’70s TV show “Starsky & Hutch”) reads from his children’s book “Chrystallia and the Source of Light” at 3:30 p.m. in the Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch (501 Venice Blvd.)

• The library holds Kidz Creative Camp workshops for K-5 students in painting, ceramics, storybook-making and more, starting at 3 p.m.

• Wabi Venice (1635 Abbot Kinney Blvd.) and Alkaline Water Gallery (18 N. Venice Blvd.) host exhibits featuring the work of local artists, including Venice photographer Debbi Zeitman’s portrait collection of Venice artists in their studios at Wabi and a display of female artists’ work at Alkaline.

The Broken Heart Repair Shop happens during the Venice Art Crawl from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday (May 17) at Sunny Bak Studio, 2214 Pacific Ave., Venice. Visit monicaseggos.com or facebook.com/theveniceartcrawl for updates.

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