Art can be found in the most unusual places. Having grown up in northern Wisconsin and having gone to MIAD for sculpture design, Cassandra Smith merged the two. Part of Cassandra's work is doing large scale sculptures with taxidermy deer and fish, but where Cassandra is really leaving her mark is with the decorated mule deer antlers she finds and delicately handpaints. You can find them for sale in her Etsy store, MadebyCassandraSmith. I'm quite fascinated with her work for its beauty and simplicity. So, I contacted Cassandra to find out more with a mini interview for the blog.
Where does the inspiration for your art come from? I have been working with decorating found objects since I was at MIAD getting my degree in sculpture. I had mainly been doing these really large-scale installations and at a certain point I realized I was only making 1 - 2 pieces of art a year, because they took so long. I wanted to start making smaller, quicker works and that is where the antlers came from. Plus they are humanely sourced (deer shed their antlers naturally every year) which makes me feel okay about using as many as I can get my hands on. The patterns I use are inspired a lot by different ethnic patterns, mainly Native American and Eastern European styles.
How would you describe your personal style? As far as fashion, I usually feel pretty out of touch with what is fashionable. In general I buy new clothes about twice a year and then just wear the same look over and over. But I do try and get modern pieces of jewelry, mostly from Etsy sellers, to make my outfits more interesting. As far as decor, I am lucky to have a boyfriend who shares my love of ethnic folk art. Our house is decorated with a collection of masks, tapestries and wooden animals from places like Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. We love to collect objects from our travels.
What are some of your favorite things or places in Milwaukee? Anyone who knows me knows that I love eating, and specifically going out to eat. So, just about any restaurant in the city would qualify as a place I love going, but in particular I love Royal India and the tofu sandwich at Banh Mi Nyu (both on 27th Street). Also, I can never say no to Classic Slice or GTO. In the summer I really love taking evening walks and wandering around the Bay View Community Garden critiquing/envying people's garden plots.
Cassandra is no stranger to the Milwaukee art scene. She also co-founded the art magazine, Fine Line. Which, by the way, Issue Five is coming out in a few short weeks. The release party for that issue will be March 31st at the Live Artist Studios on 1st and Oregon in the Fifth Ward.