Ever since she can remember, the 15-year-old McMinn County High School student, has been marching to her own artistic beat and doodling on everything until she was able to express herself in her avant-garde art.
Cassie is the only known artist in the universe to come up with a Porcupine Time Machine, an artistic innovation so revolutionary it speaks volumes about its creator.
“I can come up with ideas that no one else is ever going to come up with,” said Cassie with a slight giggle. “I’m eccentric and very creative.”
Her latest creation — a Hello Kitty/Darth Vader combination for her upcoming Sweet 16 party — has her mother Kathy amused and intrigued at a design her daughter simply calls “adorable.”
“It has earrings and a light saber in his hand — her hand,” said Kathy, with a laugh. “She hasn’t finished it yet but it’s going on her cake.”
“I also have an evil Sponge Bob on there, too,” Cassie added. “Japanese art — like Anime, inspired a lot of my art. It’s how I started in art to begin with. I saw Naruto, this Japanese Anime and said, ‘I love this!’ I’m definitely a fan of Asian comics. I think it’s kind of cool that their format is backwards to normal books. I think that’s so awesome.”
Cassie has come a long ways from watching and learning from Bob Ross, the most successful TV artist ever, on his “Joy of Painting” TV series. Her favorite artist today is Alex Pardee, a freelance artist who overcame depression and anxiety disorders through his art — spawned from his fascination with grotesque images.
“He’s definitely my favorite. Alex is pushing the edge. He’s avant garde. At first I started copying other artists to get my technique down. Then I did my own stuff. Whether people like it or not, they don’t forget it,” she said.
“I don’t name any of my art. If people want to name it, they can put their own names on it. Art is something you have to feel. A lot of people who don’t do art don’t understand art. ”
Cassie said she would love to have her own art show some day and has a career plan headed in that direction.
“After high school I plan to go to college and get my credentials, then go to the Art Institute in Nashville or the Pratt Institute, (a private art college) in New York. I’m going to major in fashion and design.”
Her interest in fashion has been called another “expression of her art,” according to the honor student who also describes herself as a perfectionist when it comes to her art.
“I see my art in my head and it’s perfect. It looks great. But if it doesn’t look like that on paper I’m not satisfied,” she said. “Actually, my best work happens when I’m not really thinking. It just happens.”
Experts say painting provides an excellent source of personal relaxation and even physical therapy. It allows the artist to associate creativity with every aspect of life, not just on the canvas.
There is also a great deal of problem solving and concentration which happens as children learn to take what is in their head and put it onto paper. Kathy suspects her daughter inherited her talent from her father Roger who works with matching colors for a company in Cookeville.
According to Cassie, painting is the perfect way to eliminate tension in the life of a teenager or anyone who needs a creative outlet.
“If I’m really stressed or feeling cramped, I make myself paint and I feel better,” said Cassie who was recognized as the Bookmark Contest Winner in Nashville for her artistic design in the statewide competition when she was at Calhoun Elementary School in the eighth grade.
The talented teen with big dreams said she will be taking journalism next semester and try her hand at video editing on Tribe T.V., the official television channel of McMinn County High School.
“I would love to go to Paris some day and do art there,” Cassie said with a slight chuckle. “I love Paris. That’s why I’m taking French.”