Imitating Life: Posing questions to local artist Cassandra Vitale

“Pink Dahlia (Digital Photo)”

“Pink Dahlia (Digital Photo)”

Cory Bilicko
-Managing Editor-

Cassandra Vitale is likely best recognized locally as a yoga instructor, but she’s been generating a following with her series of close-up shots of flora called Flowers of Long Beach.
When asked what job(s) she has, the 30-year-old Long Beach native and resident says, “business owner, yoga instructor, artist, doula and Reiki Master.”

Currently in yoga school continuing her studies in that field, Vitale considers herself a lifelong student of the practice, but, in college and grad school, she focused on anthropology.
She says that, although she had no formal artistic training, she’s followed her creative instincts. “I’ve always been a creative and artsy person,” she said, “and I have always felt compelled to express myself creatively.”

Though she cites crochet, photography and painting as her mediums, it’s only been in the last two and a half years that she has gotten “heavy into photography.”

Cassandra Vitale

Cassandra Vitale

Tell me about your Flowers of Long Beach series. What’s it all about, and how did it come to be?
I have always loved flowers and plants. I appreciate being present in the moment and stopping to smell flowers and gently touch their petals and examine their intricate details and colors. I think that if one is present in the moment, any practice can become a form of meditation and have medicinal effects. For years before I even began studying yoga, I was obsessed with sacred geometry and specifically the radial symmetry and beauty of mandalas and mandala art. I love to walk all around town for exercise and one day, I started taking pictures of the flowers I would see on my walks. I felt compelled to get up close and personal with these beautiful plants and get the macro shot! I have many Facebook followers because of my yoga business, and I thought my friends would appreciate seeing flowers along with the inspirational yoga posts I put up. So, I started posting a flower every day on my Facebook page as a gift to my friends to share the beauty of nature with them all. I post with the hashtag #floweroftheday. I purposefully highlight the geometric shapes that naturally appear in the different flowers I see. The flower photos became so popular that people started requesting I show them in art galleries, turn them into greeting cards and even print and frame them for sale! I’ve been posting at least one flower every day for the past two and a half years, and people are always telling me how much they love and appreciate my work. I am so amazed and grateful of the support I’ve gotten from doing this project and that this simple practice gives so much joy to all kinds of people. You can follow me on Instagram @yogamamacass or “like” me on Facebook at facebook.com/flowersoflongbeach .
“There’s a Heart in the Middle  (Digital Photo)”

“There’s a Heart in the Middle
(Digital Photo)”

Why flowers?
Flowers are beautiful, colorful, happy, and each one is unique. There are thousands of different kinds of flowers and plants, so to me this subject has infinite possibility and inspiration. I express myself in a sensual and feminine way, and I love the evocative nature of flowers, especially when pictures are taken macro-style.

What other subject matter are you interested in?
I adore sacred geometry, mandala art, graphic art and all things related to nature, plants, Earth, stars and astronomy. Psychedelia is one of my favorite genres. I also enjoy the art of different cultures around the world. I appreciate anything that is art-related and expressive. Anything from local art, to street art, to hand-crafted wares to fine arts appeal to me. I find inspiration in all of them, and I appreciate the work and thought that goes into each piece.

What kind of camera do you use?
I have been using my Samsung Galaxy s4! Saving up for a professional camera with a sweet macro lens. The Galaxy takes amazing photos at 13 megapixels. People are always surprised to hear that I use my camera phone. My thoughts are that the best camera to use is the one you have on you.

What have you learned during this project?
I have learned that flowers are popular with all ages, genders and types of people. No one can get mad when they are looking at a beautiful flower. Flowers have a calming effect on everyone. I have also learned the names of hundreds of types of flowers as well as the medicinal uses for them, which was something I hadn’t expected to happen. I know so much about flowers now, and it’s all because I stopped to appreciate them and capture them in a timeless photo.

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