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  Intricate three-dimensional collages of animals, fairy worlds, and girls behaving badly, rendered in a treasure trove of found materials; Cassy White’s art must be experienced in person.  Stones, feathers, beads and more combine with handmade papers and recycled magazines to form stunning images with real personality. Forgotten knickknacks are rescued and reincarnated with new purpose. Look closely, you may be surprised at what you find. Innovative and whimsical. At times, feisty and rebellious. White’s pieces speak to the kid and the creative soul in all of us.  “Children teach me how to tap into the realm of imagination; how to play in this forgotten world of magic and mystery,” says White.  A former nanny of ten years, she names children as a major source of inspiration. To share her passion, White teaches art classes for pint-sized artists on the back porch of her art gallery. Her loyal assistant, Snugs the rabbit, is often in attendance. Animals and nature serve as another powerful muse. The charm of the natural world and the spiritual connection White has with it, is evident in her work.  “I feel,” says White, “like a creative force is working through me.”  Cassandra May White grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii in Holualoa, a tiny, artsy village on the slopes of Hualalai volcano. A place where backyards are full of wild chickens, papaya trees, and the Pacific Ocean casts a vivid shade of blue some 1,500 feet below.  White currently lives and works in Holualoa. See her work at The Ohana Gallery, 76–5894 Mamalahoa Hwy Holualoa, HI 96740.
 Artist Cassy White Masters Her Creative Monsters  It’s a Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting with artist Cassy White on the back porch of her family’s Ohana Gallery in Holualoa, Hawaii. The back porch itself is a work of art, built onto a coffee shack that dates to mid-1900. Wild chickens in the backyard cackle and interrupt us. Papaya, banana and a giant mango tree grow in a perfect chaos. A black and white spotted cat prowls. Through the foliage, you can catch a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, some 1,500 feet below us.  You can easily see White’s inspiration growing up in this little village on the slopes of Hualalai Volcano. It’s a place that feels suspended in time, a bit magical like you might trip and fall back to when Mamalahoa Highway was a mule-drawn cart path. The spirit of the natural world, something that modern humans increasingly try to separate from, still clings on here, and can be found firmly rooted in White’s work.  Intricate 3D collages of animals, fairy worlds, and girls behaving badly, rendered in a treasure trove of found materials and raw edges; I highly recommend experiencing White’s art in person. Her work is playful with a tinge of rebellion. It appeals to the kid in me, which is no coincidence.  In 2014, White walked away from her full-time job of ten years as a nanny at the resorts. When I ask her how it felt to do this, she describes her decision as a “leap of faith”. It was scary walking away from a steady paycheck. Saying goodbye to the kids who had become a major part of her life was even harder. “But,” White says, each day she put off pursuing her passion fully, “I felt like I was watching my dreams pass me by.”  Where does this fear of living our dreams come from? “Creative monsters,” says White. What are creative monsters? The naysayers. The critics. The “it’s never going to happen in a million years” kind of people that we inevitably meet in life. Whether they are close to us, random strangers, or even ourselves, we can hold onto this negative chatter for years, allowing the monsters to spook us.  White first encountered the idea of “creative monsters” while participating in a twelve-week workshop based on Julia Cameron’s book  The Artists Way  :   A spiritual Path To Higher Creativity . The book and workshop are designed to help artistic souls eliminate creative blocks. “People are inherently creative,” says White. “We are all artists and we all have things that hold us back.”  Her commitment to going pro and mastering her creative monsters is starting to pay off, with the last year jam packed with shows, collaborations and events. White kicked off 2016 with a residency at the Grunewald Guild in Washington State’s Wenatchee National Forest. Snowed in with no car, she created ten pieces in two months, in between making numerous snow angels.  In spring 2016, she returned to the Big Island to showcase her new work alongside her brother Dylan Lucas at Kona Coffee and Tea in Kailua Kona. Her original cover artwork was featured on Oahu singer-songwriter Izik's album  Obsidian , released May 2016.  In November 2016 White collaborated with Kepola Design House on  Lehua Love , an art and fashion show to raise awareness about Rapid 'Ohi'a Death on the Big Island of Hawaii. The event raised over 4K for the Hawaii Forest Institute. In December 2016 White opened the Ohana Gallery in partnership with mom, artist Shelly Maudsley White, and brother, artist Dylan Lucas.  What’s next for White in 2017? Commissions. A children’s book featuring her artwork, and who knows? “I continue to surprise myself with what I create,” she says. Her advice for aspiring artists? “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.”
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