Cassi A. Namoda

February 4, 2018

Painter Cassi Namoda lives with her partner Henry in Los Angeles’ West Adam historical district. Sharing mutual references and taste, their home is filled with their paintings and relics from many travels. The latest addition to their collection are two bright green and yellow lovebirds…

Our friend and photographer Nastasia Bruckin spent the afternoon with Cassi and found it an infatuating experience to be in the presence of this young and bright woman who is going through her journey with agility and clairvoyance, and so much spontaneity. Cassi has life flowing through her. She is not trying to be someone else and has a very distinctive way of bringing people into her colorful universe. She is a real tastemaker, rich in character and an absolute cat lover (literally stopping our shoot to feed visiting cats).

Nastassia mentions, “Cassi was great at holding still, I could take my time to photograph her, I imagine because she has sat for Henry so many times. I tried to extract a painterly dimension through this visit and was working to have all the many colours in Cassi’s life sing with each other.”

Cassi retreats from the heat with bare feet and our loose Fay Pintuck Dress in Hibiscus crinkle gauze.

— We are interested in your many travels as a young child. How do you think that has shaped you as an adult?

I grew up living in many different countries, mainly Africa, and I finished highschool in Uganda. I then travelled extensively around Eastern African. This sort of peripatetic upbringing has always had me longing for new place — a sort of Aristotelian mindset. I also spent time in Morocco and then later decided to settle in Los Angeles. I think all of this experience is so visceral, it comes through me and into my home, my work, my cultural habits. It’s something I am appreciative for.

— Your home and studio in L.A. seems you have an interesting collection of pieces dotted around. Do any of these hold special memories for you?

They are all gathered from my travels. My studio is my sacred space that I can also live and work from, and I also treat like a showroom. It’s very organize and small but I keep mementos in here that I remember from different countries like a Meswak toothpaste, OMO detergent, Dettol soap, or Amla hair oil, then I have textiles which I collect and really special books. But besides that I really try to keep it about the paintings.

My home is a display of paintings and works, collected rugs, parakeets that live on the terrace, adapting from a library to an office, it caters to many things. Mainly, I spend time in the garden and garage painting and enjoying the L.A. weather.

Florals and color infuse so many moments. Here, Cassi wears our handwoven Talitha Smock Halter Top in Peony.

— As well as living in LA, you are currently spending some time of your year in Mozambique. Why is it important for you to have a foot in both environments?

I appreciate both. I love Maputo because there’s an essence here I can’t describe, and it’s not only because it’s my birth place but because the identity of the city is really quite unique. I love L.A. because there are less distractions, I have a slower pace and focus, which really helps with my work.

— Can you tell us about a typical day for you in Mozambique?

I’m here currently on a residence completing work I have for a show coming up in April. I wake up early here around 5 or 6am and spend some of that time outside in the coolness of the air thinking about my process and reading emails. I go to my studio around 8am and I paint. Sometimes I might go for a walk down the marginal, which a is a long boulevard by the beach. I paint up until around noon before the heat of the day sets in and then I will do research in the city. A lot of this is gathering memories that I can take back to L.A. and have inspiration to paint.

Cassi in the Talitha Smock Halter and Bloomers with her signature hot pink Crocs.

— How do you like to practice self care and rejuvenation?

I always take a special bath after I paint and try to do yoga at least twice a weak. I also use myosfascial release therapy ball around points on my body I over-use when I work. I am also super into Ayurvedic oil blends. I really appreciate not rushing anything in my life, enjoying slowness and silence.

Cassi wears the Salton Smocked Jumpsuit, in handwoven gingham check.

— When painting, what are some important elements to have around you?

I paint a lot at night, in silence. Sometimes with a glass of wine or multiple teas.

— Are there any reoccurring themes coming up lately in your conversations with friends?

I think really it’s dignity and self respect and knowing thyself. It’s a constant work in progress and we all strive to make sure it shows up in the work and how we live our lives - with the choices we make.

— What are you most interested in learning about this year?

I am just interested in a learning period. I really always pray for no distractions. I am a little selfish with my time. Because, I honestly feel like there’s not enough hours in a day. So I have to choose me first, especially with my work. If I’m not in the studio painting I really feel like something is missing.

Images — Nastassia Brückin

Editor —Yasmine Ganley

See works by Cassi A. Namoda