Profile On: Kassandra Turmel 

Meet the Whistler artist who uses the landscape for abstract inspiration

click to enlarge Kassandra Turmel's alcohol ink art. - Photo submitted
  • Kassandra Turmel's alcohol ink art. Photo submitted

Kassandra Turmel's art might be abstract, but if you take a step back from the rich layers, colourful swirls, and whimsical edges, you just might recognize her muse.

Gleaning inspiration from her home in Whistler—and other B.C. locales—Turmel proves not all mountain art needs peaks.

Pique caught up with the local artist to find out more.

Tell us about your art.

Kassandra Turmel: It's definitely abstract art. I primarily use alcohol ink. It's just very bright, fluid, and fast drying. And it activates again once it's dry. You're able to create all these beautiful layers and it becomes pretty three-dimensional, which I love.

When I first started using it, I thought it'd be easy, but it has a mind of its own. I've developed all these different techniques as well to get the results I'm looking for.

Judging by the names of some of your pieces, it seems you're inspired by landscapes around you even though it's abstract?

KT: All the pieces are inspired by different landscapes I'm inspired by. We live in a beautiful place; we're really lucky. A lot of the time when I'm using the ink I have a landscape in my mind.

I'll use colours that, to me, portray the place and [use] movement of the ink. It's very emotional for me as well. Say I'm making a piece portraying Vancouver Island. I'll think back to being a kid going to the island—it might be blues, a shade of purple, and I'll name it Coming Home because whenever I think about Vancouver Island, I think about home. It has that nostalgic emotion with it.

How did you get into alcohol ink?

KT: I was into art at a super young age. My mom was a painter and my dad was a musician; I've been super lucky to dabble in a lot of art forms. But I started to get really curious about abstract art in 2015. I was teaching art at an art studio in Vancouver. I was like, 'Wow I can actually really express myself through this art form more than any other art form I've done.'

In 2017, I was first introduced to inks—just through researching online, looking online and seeing videos of this really cool alcohol ink. I was using watercolours a lot and getting a bit frustrated with how it wasn't as vibrant as I wanted it to be or flowing the way I wanted it to.

The inks were everything I was looking for.

How has the pandemic impacted your art?

KT: I had a couple markets in March that were cancelled. Then it's going to be at least four months before I'll be seeing another market.

It's also just a weird time as well. Creatively, I'm not feeling extremely inspired to be making a bunch of art. As cliché as it sounds, I need to be in this mindset or flow and I'm focusing my efforts and baking bread and doing puzzles and spending time with my boyfriend and going on walks and focusing on my physical and mental health.

I have a bit of a shift in my priorities at the moment.

But it's also brought a little bit of an opportunity for me to think outside the box and maybe shift some of the ways I sell or promote myself. And it's sparked some ideas. I want to develop some online courses and tutorials; I also love to teach. It's something I've put on the backburner for a while. Now I have some time.

Where can people find you online?

KT: I'm on Instagram at instagram.com/kassandraturmelart/ and Facebook at facebook.com/kassandraturmelart/. I also have a website smudgegoods.com/.

Profile On is a new series to highlight and support Sea to Sky artists and artisans during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like to be considered, email arts@piquenewsmagazine.com.

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