October 3, 2016

Interview: Cassandra Glanzmann

Meet Cassandra (Cassie) Glanzmann – a creative-minded, International Vagabond and undeniable Aquarius, who happens to be one of my closest friends. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Cassie has since made her home in Munich, Stockholm, Los Angeles, back to Stockholm, Washington DC, Buenos Aires, New York, and finally, back to Los Angeles, all by the age of 24. At Georgetown University, Cassie studied Culture and Politics in the School of Foreign Service and received her Masters Degree in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York City. She has spent the past summer exploring Spain and Sweden and danced her way across the magical deserts of Burning Man. Cassie currently lives and creates epic paintings in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, CA.

Cassandra Glanzmann is...
A magic chasing music-junkie, nature-lover and adventure gypsy!

What Does "being creative" mean to you?

“Being creative means finding a way to tangibly share and express a part of who and what you are. I think it’s hands down one of the coolest things about being a human being, and something that allows us to truly connect with others and even ourselves.

Taking an abstract idea, image or just simply a feeling I have, and transmuting that into something real that I can share with others, is one of the most exhilarating experiences. It’s as though I’m able to take a snapshot of my crazy brain or some intense euphoric emotion I’ve had and finally bring it into focus. 

The sheer act of creating is like a drug – you can lose yourself for hours in front of a piece, forgetting about food and sleep because you’ve fallen into a sort of meditative trance or possession where only the work matters. Those moments of pure, unadulterated creativity are some of the most liberating and peaceful that exist (although they can admittedly also be the most frustrating and manic).

Creating is also drug-like in terms of its volatility. In your hands you have the potential to create something amazing that might be your best work yet, as well as something so terrible you don’t even want your cat to see it. The high of creating something epic is what keeps you coming back for more. And while the terrible pieces are not good for the self-esteem, they are what force you to keep evolving your vision and challenging yourself and your ideas.”

Walk me through your typical painting process from the initial inspiration to completion.

“Typically, the painting process begins with an epic playlist or a song I simply cannot stop playing. A certain song triggers a burst of colors surging through my brain in weird combinations and configurations and the rest is history. While the grounding inspiration for my pieces arise from nature or some radical experience I’ve had, music is my fuel throughout the creative process. 

Although I’ve been classically trained in oil painting, my process tends to lean towards the unconventional – I let my gut guide which colors I select and how I apply them, I use an unhealthy amount of turpentine and I pay absolutely no attention to people who tell me not to paint with my fingers. Ten minutes into any painting my face is almost guaranteed to be covered in some variation of a blue mustache. 

By in large, my paintings can be considered an exercise in energetic expression. I love color, movement and flow and believe fully in their uplifting potential - especially when executed on a large scale. For me, “the bigger the better” is a sacred truth. While simple in composition, my pieces are intended to engulf the viewer in a sea of color. 

Once I hit the play button on my laptop, chaos reigns: the socks come off and smeared footprints of paint magically manifest across my floors. My terrible dance-moves are likely to thank for my ability to finish 96 inch paintings in a matter of hours. While my stamina has been built up from years of fist pumping, the process still proves incredibly demanding, causing bouts of back aches and finger blisters. 

How I put brush to canvas is dictated entirely by some unexplainable source deep in my gut. The music I listen to somehow translates into currents of colors that take the form of ocean waves or exploding sunsets. It’s a weird process that somehow manages to merge three of my favorite things - music, dance and the natural world.

My paintings are intended to be a celebration of nature, a study of the power of color, and just some simple, feel-good food for the soul. While the world can be a pretty dark and oppressive place, it can also be pretty spectacular. Sometimes all we need is a big blotch of yellow or a confusing and inaccurate depiction of a coral reef to remind us of that.” 

There's a stylistic theme in your paintings. Is your current abstract work based on anything in particular?

“As mentioned, my paint
ings can best be described as loose, energetic impressions of nature. For the past few months my work has been solidly colored by my discovery (ergo obsession) of the underwater world – hands down one of the most incredible treasures on this planet. A few tangles of glow-worms also made their way onto the canvas. 

My newest body of work shares this obsessive relationship with nature, but it departs with some new color cues from my time 'burning' in the desert (at Burning Man). It will also incorporate more of my Nordic heritage - specifically colors from my gorgeous hometown of Stockholm. How this all manifests has yet to be seen, but I’m feeling very inspired.” 

What is your favorite painting you have ever done and why?

““Imagination”, the painting currently hanging in my kitchen, is my favorite as it represents the critical moment in which I really surrendered to and trusted my artistic intuition. It was the first time I had ever painted on such a large scale, and the first time I had no fixed, or clear idea of exactly what I was painting. I painted nonstop until seven in the morning for no other purpose than to create for myself. It was incredibly gratifying. ‘Imagination’ is a great reminder to silence my self-doubts and criticisms and just trust the little Picasso within.”

When you find yourself in a creative funk, how do you find inspiration? Have you received any good advice you have been given about unlocking your creativity?

“Have an epic adventure. Whenever I fall into a creative funk, the first thing I do is pack away my paints and book a flight, go to a festival or do something outside of my regular routine. While it doesn't have to be so dramatic, I think that it is key to do something that challenges you and gets you out of your head. Life is about taking risks and doing things might make you uncomfortable - if you’re not pushing yourself to grow as a human being, your creative process is going to mirror that stagnation. Even if it’s merely speaking to somebody you might otherwise not, the potential for inspiration is everywhere. Hitting the creative wall should force us to press the reset button and remind us to take advantage of the many awesome things that the world is offering us, RIGHT NOW. I was always told not to force my creativity and that’s probably the best advice I was ever given.”

Who are your favorite artists and what do you love about their work?

“Although this is incredibly predictable and cliche - Klimt and Monet are my two favorite artists. I love the rebellious and cheeky nature of Klimt’s work. And while I love his rich color palette, it’s actually his sketches of women that I’m obsessed with.

Monet’s Waterlilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie (Jardin de Tulleries, Paris) are hands down my favorite works. I could sit for hours admiring his use of color, texture and the magical way he capture’s the simple but undeniable beauty of nature.

Klimt & Monet Coffee Table Books
Your apartment is beautifully decorated. What are your favorite pieces and why?

“Thanks babe! My interior decorating is most definitely an extension of me and my artwork. It’s a kind of playful and colorful contained chaos. My favorite pieces are my black and white ‘circus-freak’ coffee table, my Chinese Porcelain table lamp, and some of my smaller decorative treasures from the Rose Bowl Flea. I love the fact that my apartment is an amalgamation of things from so many different places and chapters in my life. And then of course, the velvet and candles…you can never have too much velvet or candles.”

Dining Table (Crate & Barrel), Dining Chairs (Crate & Barrel), Lighting (West Elm), Rug (Gilt)

Table (Anthropologie), Crystal Candle Holder (Etsy), Crystal Skull Candle Holder (Kosta Boda)

Velvet chair (ABC Home), Gold Accent Table (Gilt)

To see more of Cassie's work, visit her website and Instagram @candybycassie.

Images: 1 - 12 (cambria creative)


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