Inspired by her upbringing during the 1960s and its “back to the land” movement, Cassandra Tondro incorporates environmental values in her work by using leftover house paint that would otherwise go to landfills to create her dense, textural paintings. A full-time artist since 2001, Tondro shares here a bit about her artwork commission past, present, and a dream project for the future.
What was your first artwork commission?
My first commission was for Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in Englewood, NJ. They have a fifty-five foot wall in the lobby, and they commissioned me to create six large paintings to be placed along it. The designer on the project sent me samples of the floor tile, wall covering, and upholstery fabric of nearby chairs, and I created the paintings in rich rusts and greens to complement their interior space.
What advice would you give other artists about working on a commission project?
My best advice for other painters is to order and prepare two sets of canvas for the commission. My paintings involve spontaneity and serendipity, so I usually complete two paintings and let the client choose which of the two they prefer. Commissions often have a tight deadline, and I, at least, like to be prepared to do a second painting if the first painting isn’t completely what the client had in mind.
Do you incorporate green practices in your artwork?
Yes, I am very conscious of the materials that I use to create my art, and of my studio practices. My paintings are created using colorful leftover acrylic latex paint–better known as house paint–that I rescue from recycling centers before it is sent to landfills. This is paint that would otherwise go to waste and need to be disposed of. My green art complements sustainable design and can be applied toward LEED certification credits.
Do you have a “dream commission” you’d like to work on one day?
My dream commission is to create original artwork for the lobby and all of the guest rooms in a boutique hotel! Can you imagine how awesome that would be, to work with a designer and create an entire environment based on a theme? I get goose bumps just thinking about it.