Victoria Cassinova Opens Her Visual Diary for the World to See [Interview]
“I like to think of my work as a mix of the coherent and incoherent,” says LA-based artist Victoria Cassinova when she’s asked to describe her provocative figure paintings. “I like pairing a little bit of realism with chaotic brushstrokes and abstract-ish faces.”
Scribbling over soft pastels and Kool-Aid colors with sooty charcoal, Victoria creates chaos by costuming her female figures in sinister monster masks. Both deeply unsettling and sexually suggestive, her work is a personal expression of conflicting emotions, identities, and desires. “[Sexuality] shows up in my work as a reclaiming of myself and my body,” Victoria tells NOT REAL ART. “Often my work comes out looking more sexual than its actual meaning, but nonetheless, sexuality is intended to be more of an empowering presence in my work than anything else.”
Calling her work a “visual diary,” Victoria is inspired by the intellectual, emotional, and physical fluctuations in her personal life. “Right now I’m drawn to neo-expressionism and quantum physics,” she says, explaining that both fields “seek to push the boundaries of what is possible and challenge our preconceptions of the world around us.” Victoria’s work follows suit, pushing back against old-hat narratives, broadening her audience’s perspective, and raising questions around the stickiest issues of our time. A longtime advocate for social justice, Victoria also contributes to projects that reflect her passion for public health, human rights, and mental well-being, including Blackout for Human Rights, We Rise, and Truth Initiative.
Hoping to reach her audience through authentic storytelling, Victoria opens her visual diary to the world in an act of emotional courage, saying, “I’m inspired by the idea of infinite possibility in all things.”
In Today’s Q+Art Interview…
Victoria Cassinova discusses Rick Rubin’s groundbreaking new book on creativity, her thoughts on the abortion debate, and how she learned to speak about her work with confidence.
How do you start your day? What’s your most important creative ritual?
Victoria Cassinova: I am a big meditator. I meditate every morning. If I don't, my day is always a little bit off. For me it’s an imperative part of my creative ritual.
What is the last book you read?
VC: The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin. I’m really inspired by Rick Rubin and anything/everything that comes out of his mouth.
What’s your all-time favorite monster movie?
VC: I don’t actually have one because I don’t like scary movies.
What social justice causes or projects are near and dear to you?
VC: Women’s reproductive rights is a very personal and serious cause that is important to me. I created a protest poster artwork after Roe v. Wade was overturned. That piece is very near and dear to me.
What’s been your most exciting project to date?
VC: Most exciting project had to be creating a masterclass-type art course with Adidas. It pushed me out of my comfort zone. It’s uncomfortable for me to explain why I do what I do with my work, and I don’t feel like I can explain the “why” very well. This project challenged me in a lot of ways and educated me on how to share information in a way that can help others.
You’ve mentioned that art-making is part of your healing process. What’s your favorite form of self-care?
VC: Favorite form of self-care is meditation for sure. As far as art, right now self-care for me is letting my ideas flow without judging myself or putting myself in a box. I’m pushing myself to paint the things I always imagined, but didn’t allow myself to do. I’m holding more space for myself through art.
What is the last piece of advice you received that changed your life?
VC: Thoughts turn to things. If you can consistently feel yourself having or being something, it’ll become a reality.
What’s the last photo on your camera roll right now?
VC: A digital sketch of my next painting I’m about to start on.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist.
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