South Dakota-based artist and part-time professor Cassie Marie Edwards gives new life to forgotten objects through her portraits of thrifted figurines. As a child, her grandmother Joanne would take her to garage sales on the weekends, allotting her a dollar or two to spend as she pleased. It was there that her collection of inspiring objects was born. She describes painting these figurines as meditative. Read on for a front-row seat to Cassie’s dream-like creative process.
Laura Vrcek: Why do you make art?
Cassie Marie Edwards: I make art for a lot of reasons, but probably first and foremost because it connects people in a way that nothing else can – it collapses time, it conveys feeling, it has very few limits, and it can run the gamut from essential truth to total fiction. I’ve always felt compelled to make art, and the practice of painting has been almost meditative for me. I get fully lost in the act of making.
LV: What would your 10-year-old self think about your art?
CME: As a kid I was very quiet and pretty shy. I’m a lot less shy now, but my art maintains that sense of quiet observance. I would study things intently – whether it was a book I was reading or hiking or anything in-between. I was always very reflective about the world around me. I’m hoping my 10-year-old self would be engaged by my work, and take the time to ‘get to know’ the personalities of the subjects portrayed.
LV: What are you working on right now?
CME: Right now I’m working on two series concurrently, the Figurine Portraits and a series of paintings of constructed landscapes. In addition to that I’m working on a group of food illustrations. I try to get out Plein Air Painting on a fairly regular basis, and I fiddle around with some abstract work every now and then. If I feel like making a painting that is completely different from the main body of work I’m working on, I take that risk. Experimenting with other painting themes/styles always helps me to keep fresh and excited about working.
Explore more of Cassie’s work, and tell us: what’s your favorite way to reinvent the mundane?