In ten new works, which range in medium and size, including paint and charcoal, Cassinova creates a harmonious experience. This collection, aptly titled “Without Ornament,” presents a juxtaposition of highly detailed and beautifully engaging bodies, many of which are nude, with monstrous faces. In creating this contrast, Cassinova challenges the gaze of her viewers, ultimately engaging the audience.
As Cassinova herself describes them, “the faces are a personified metaphor for my own human condition. I will personify my own inner demons, not necessarily negative, but I put my mask on and take ownership of my own monsters.” In doing so, Cassinova deepens the narrative of each piece, truly creating a dialogue. “This body of work is essentially my visual diary. It is an exploration of the absence and presence of ornamental feminism within my own life experience, and the world around me.”
In our interview with Victoria Cassinova, she shares a look into her creative process, the piece of literature that is currently challenging her consciousness, and digging into a sense of loss.
Can you share with us a little bit about your upbringing, and where you are currently working on your art?
I was raised in San Diego, CA by single parents. I’ve been exploring art for as long as I remember. I currently work on my art in Hollywood
What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes have you been exploring in your work?
Some of the themes I’ve been exploring in my work are around the idea of the female body being used as an ornamental figure. The female body is engaged in culture and art as decoration, but on the other hand, is rendered suspect and undervalued (as said by scholar Adrienne Edwards). Ultimately my work has always been a response to loss; the feeling and experience of losing my own body to a traumatic accident, as well as to the patriarchal oppression that lingers in society. I play with the absence and presence of my idea of the contemporary ornamental female figure.
You’ve shared that your parents have been very encouraging of your creative journey. Have they shared any words of wisdom that has been particularly beneficial to you as you develop your artistic career?
There aren’t any specific phrases I can think of, but it’s always been a massive support for whatever I’m doing. My dad is really good at reminding me of who I am when I’m feeling down about something. I think just the general support through my career, especially when I really struggled, is what’s been imperative for me in my artistic career.
What do you think the role of the artist is within society?
I think artists have a unique opportunity to shed light on the truth whether it’s a personal truth or a truth for society. Art can bridge divides and inspire action, create empathy, revitalize culture, and even influence a change in policy. Artists have the power to speak the truth on a whole different universal level.
Could you share what your day-to-day looks like when working in your studio?
I wake up, I do these daily mediations every morning, go to the gym to do some cathartic cardio, then I paint.
Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow?
I have to meditate every day before I start my day, so that is definitely something that keeps me aligned. Aside from that, I don’t have one consistent or specific ritual to get into the creative flow. Sometimes it’s just there and I’m really excited to can an idea out. Other times when I’m not feeling it, I might walk outside or watch a film that can get my juices flowing. Or listen to music. Music always somehow informs the way a painting or drawing will look as I’m listening to it.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
Definitely, the moment when I get this super-excited feeling when I realize that what I’m creating is aligned with what I had hoped or envisioned, or sometimes comes out better than I originally envisioned. It’s a gut feeling, a gut alignment. Those are the moments when I don’t even realize the sun is going down or up. It’s like an addictive trance I get in where all the mental clutter kinda subsides and I’m fully focused on what I’m drawing or painting. It can be cathartic.
What is the most difficult part?
The most difficult part, sometimes, is just picking up the paintbrush. Sometimes I just don’t feel like it, but most times I do. The times when I’m physically or emotionally exhausted, it feels almost impossible to create anything.
Do you have a documentary or book recommendation that illuminates a cause you believe needs more awareness/ understanding?
Duty Free Art by Hito Steyerl challenges my consciousness like no other. It’s more so an interesting perspective on how art can be made in the present age. I think a lot of what Hito surfaces in this book can be applied to how we activate within a cause given the current state of political economies, globalization, and visual culture.
What does a perfect day outside the studio look like to you? What would you do, where do you go?
Honestly, I’m always going to art shows or museums and looking at more art. I feel like I’m always on this perpetual search for truth and inspiration. I find glimmers of that in art and film, so ultimately a perfect day is looking at art with friends or watching a film inside on Criterion.
What did you find to be the biggest challenge of 2020 for you?
My biggest challenge in 2020 was having to find inspiration inside rather than out. I’m a pretty active and social person. I like to be out and about with friends and love meeting new people. I find a lot of new ideas and inspiration through my interaction with others, or from going to shows or spontaneous experiences with people. With quarantine, I had to learn to find a new appreciation for my at-home surroundings. I started reading books I had lying on my shelves for years.
What is your proudest accomplishment of 2021? Life thus far? (can be art-related or not)
For 2021 probably getting to do Lebron James portrait for TIME Magazine Athlete of the year story.
For life definitely my overcoming falling 5 stories, breaking a lot of important bones, and mastering how to walk again.
What big projects do you have coming up in 2022 and 2023 that you’d like to share more about?
I’m excited to be a part of 14th Factory in Hong Kong!
Saturday, March 5 from 6PM-10PM
– Masks are required during your visit –