Name: Cassandra Pence Ostermeier
Occupation: Artist / owner at Urban Sassafras
What is you age? 36
What is your art? Composite photography, mixed media work, jewelry and lighting
Where were you born? Springfield, IL
Where do you live now? Springfield, IL
When did you fall in love with art and/or discover your talent?
It’s funny…when I went to college, I followed in my parents’ footsteps and went to school for computer science because programming came easy to me. It wasn’t until my senior year in college that I was really itching to be more creative with my work. Although, coding provided a lot of imagination in problem solving, I needed more visual stimulation. I then went on to get my Masters of Science Degree in Computer Animation at Depaul University in Chicago; which meshed together both my science background with my love of art. I was excited every day. It was a fantastic time in my life as I loved learning. That’s when the constant admiration of beauty and enjoyment of experimentation that art provided me became undeniable in everything I did.
What training do you have or are you self-taught?
I have studied art as long as I can remember. From childhood art camp at the SAA to online courses as an adult. I don’t ever want to stop learning new techniques and achieving different results.
Who or what influences your work?
Well, that question is two-fold for me. If I am to answer as an artist that is designing something for the simple pleasure of creating, I would say the fashion industry is a huge influence. For the most part, trends start there and spill over into home décor and jewelry styles. I’ll see something I love during New York Fashion Week that really doesn’t seem appropriate for a normal person to wear whatsoever, but I find myself using the pattern or layering style in the background of my next piece.
But, as a business owner in the Midwest, I am influenced by the shopping trends of my customers. If I just did what I wanted all the time and didn’t pay attention to where the money is at, well… I wouldn’t have my own business doing what I love.
What do you love about art?
Seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they find a piece that really means something to them. I can remember when I first opened up Urban Sassafras, I had finished up a composite photograph of a lonely horse looking out of a window of a tall brick building in the city. A customer walked in, saw it and started crying. She had just sold her farm and was moving into an apartment downtown. That artwork described everything she was feeling at that moment in time and it made me feel special to do that for her.
How many hours a week are you using your artistic skills?
Oh, I don’t stop, unless I’m at the grocery store - I don’t use any art skills there.
How would you describe your art?
Emotional and useful; I strive to make people feel with my work. Feel inspired, sad, unique… as long as there is emotion in the final piece, then I’m done.
What art project are you most proud of?
I guess you could say my shop is one giant art project and I am certainly most proud of that. I live a good life in this little corner of the world.
How has your art changed over the years?
I push the limits more because, as I’ve aged, I have gained self-confidence in what I do. If you have the confidence to put yourself out there like every artist does, then it’s bound to change as you take more risks.