Exhibitionists: Cassandra Tondro

Cassandra Tondro grew up in Malibu in the 1960s, when surf culture was booming but girls didn’t partake. She still spent her summers on the beach, riding surf mats instead. Now, she’s an abstract artist with concerns for the environment. She’s currently using only natural and recycled materials for her paintings that burst with color and floral inspiration. Here she tells us a bit more.

1. Who are your top three artistic influencers?

Number one is my mother, who was also an artist.  Her primary medium was wood and stone sculpture, and I’m a painter, but she gave me something that’s not easily learned — an eye for good design.  Number two is India Flint, a fiber artist and author of the book Eco Colour, who taught me to be adventurous with my materials and techniques.  And number three is Mary Ellen Hopkins, quilter extraordinaire, who taught me to have fun and not take the process so seriously.

2. Where do you create your art?

I have a studio behind my house in what used to be the garage.  I raised the ceiling, put in skylights, and finished the interior.  It’s a beautiful light-filled space, and I enjoy spending time there.

3. How much time do you typically spend on each piece?

I spend a couple of weeks thinking about what I want to do and planning it out — making decisions about size, colors, design and execution.  It can take me anywhere from several days to several weeks to create the piece, depending on how many layers are involved.  The paint has to dry thoroughly between each layer.  Then I spend another week or two evaluating whether the piece is done, and making changes.  Often a painting needs more work before I’m happy with the results.

4. What mediums do you work in?

My colorful abstract paintings are created from repurposed leftover house paint that I rescue from recycling centers before it’s disposed of.  My ecoprints are made by gathering fallen leaves, pressing them against watercolor paper, and steaming the paper and leaves over boiling water for a couple of hours.  The colors and patterns of the leaves transfer to the paper.

5. Do you have any advice for young artists?

Yes, pursue your dream, no matter what.  It’s important to do work that you’re passionate about, and to not give up.  Be persistent, be determined, be unstoppable . . . and you will be successful.  There is a market for all art.  You just have to find your people — the ones who appreciate what you’re doing.

 

See more of Cassandra Tondro’s work here: www.tondro.com

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