Cassidy Argo: Wind Fellow 2021

By masterfully juxtaposing the familiar and the unknown, the playful and the sinister, Argo’s paintings draw you into narratives thick with nostalgic mystery.

Cassidy Argo, one of our Wind Fellow recipients, is a large-scale figurative painter who graduated this past year from the Moore College of Art & Design. In her recent work, Argo explores the darkness and paranormality of her childhood, painting captivating pieces that evoke layered emotions of warmth, dread, and longing.

Kevin Sun: What made you decide to get into art?

Cassidy Argo: I’ve always loved being an artist. I’m so lucky to have had such encouraging people in my life, who helped me gain confidence in my own creativity. I realized long ago that I’m happiest when working on a project that I’m passionate about. Ever since then, I’ve always wanted to pursue getting better at what I do and creating things that make me feel excited!

K.S.: Many of your paintings are framed by a textile element. How did you come to this approach?

C.A.: It started out very simple, I just wanted to find a way to address the sides of my paintings. There was something about the exposed panel on the sides that didn’t feel satisfying for me. I had the idea for plush frames when I started making paintings that juxtaposed comfort and discomfort. By creating these plush, pillow-like shapes surrounding the paintings, I could emphasize these feelings of comfort and playfulness. The patterns and textures of the fabric are reminiscent of my childhood, most of them being found and recycled materials. I really love the idea of creating an artwork that is unsettling but still feels very sentimental. For me, the process of building, sewing, and embellishing these frames is like creating a loving shrine to my memories.

Celebration, 2020

K.S.: Your work often includes paranormal or eerie elements, and you’ve stated that you’re interested in the transformation of a piece into an “haunted object.” In the context of your art, what does “haunted” mean to you?

C.A.: Growing up my life always seemed to involve the paranormal and it’s become a fascination for me as an artist. It came in the form of inexplicable phenomena in my home, stories and superstitions passed down through family members, and even just childish fantasies. When I first started making art about the paranormal, (from my childhood home at the start of quarantine) I was honestly pretty spooked! I wondered if the process of creating an artwork about something creepy like a haunting could actually conjure up what I was thinking about. This made me reflect a lot about what it means for something to be haunted. If I were to decide my paintings were possessed by some entity, does that make it true? When something is said to be haunted, those who believe in that sort of thing, even just a little bit, suddenly have a very different physical relationship with the object. They’re scared to touch it or offend it in any way, but also can’t help but be intrigued and want to know its story. I’ve always been really interested in this reaction. It’s come up so much in my life, especially in my relationship with my mother, a strong believer in ghostly superstitions. 

Ghouls Night, 2018

K.S.: Your art often explores the themes of childhood, nostalgia, and domesticity. Could you tell us a little bit about your childhood in Rhode Island and what draws you to that period of your life?

C.A.: I’m an incredibly nostalgic person, my childhood in Rhode Island is something I hold very dear to my heart. My siblings and I grew up living in an old, New England house from the 1920s. Our yard was always messy but big and full of bushes, plants, and vines. When you’re a kid without many distractions, you really get to know the world and the objects around you. I remember playing with my siblings, being out in nature, my parents reading us stories before bed. I think of my most recent paintings as a love letter to my childhood through an unconventional lens. Home has always been where I felt the most comfort, even memories surrounding the paranormal are very dear to me because they make me feel closer to my family. 

K.S.: You’ve stated that you aim to create a blend between “comfort and discomfort.” How can these two sensations coexist? What interests you about the juxtaposition?

C.A.: By playing with feelings of comfort and discomfort, I want to capture an ambiguous and bittersweet feeling towards childhood memory. What it feels like to reminisce about a time that you can never return to. My favorite kind of art has narratives that are hard to decipher, but also have a sense of playfulness and familiarity. Through my paintings, I wanted it to feel like you were witnessing a paranormal happening, that is unsettling but without malice, like a happy ghost.  

To learn more about Cassidy Argo as well as her work and her upcoming events, please visit her InLiquid Artist’s page and her website.

Susan Shipley is an abstract painter. She paints spontaneously. While enjoying the work of many abstract artists, she finds that the consistency and sameness, while calming, offers little surprise. She prefers to work spontaneous using dramatic colors in a dynamic fashion. The end results fall in the category of abstract expressionism.  Rather than providing calm, she prefers to provoke an immediate emotional response.  A short while ago, she fused and slumped glass creating 3 dimensional work; however, of late she just paints. She received a Ph.D. later in life and practices psychology in the schools with children. Susan is a Baby Boomer and a happy grandma.
Susan Shipley
Susan Shipley

Susan Shipley is an abstract painter. She paints spontaneously. While enjoying the work of many abstract artists, she finds…

Susan Shipley is an abstract painter. She paints spontaneously. While enjoying the work of many abstract artists, she finds that the consistency and sameness, while calming, offers little surprise. She…

Susan Shipley is an abstract painter. She paints spontaneously. While enjoying the work of many abstract artists, she finds that the consistency and sameness, while calming, offers little surprise. She prefers to work spontaneous…

Barbara majored in art and art education at New York University, earning a BA and MA in Art Education and was a highly praised art teacher in both New York and Philadelphia. In mid-career she earned a degree in interior design/space planning (U of Arts) after which she completed major projects for many corporate clients. She's returned to her artistic roots and now shows at many galleries and centers garnering awards.
Barbara Dirnbach
Barbara Dirnbach

Barbara majored in art and art education at New York University, earning a BA and MA in Art Education and was a highly praised…

Barbara majored in art and art education at New York University, earning a BA and MA in Art Education and was a highly praised art teacher in both New York and Philadelphia. In mid-career she earned a…

Barbara majored in art and art education at New York University, earning a BA and MA in Art Education and was a highly praised art teacher in both New York and Philadelphia. In mid-career she earned a degree in interior design/space…

Margaret Pezalla-Granlund
Margaret Pezalla-Granlund
Elaine M. Erne, co-founder and co-director of Star Wheel Printers, received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and her MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.  Erne’s drawings and prints have been featured in numerous invitational and juried national exhibitions. The Lives and Traumas of Stuffed Animals is a series of comically disturbing depictions of Mr. Bunny and his friends under siege. The series is made up of very large graphite pencil drawings, woodblocks, etchings, and lithographs. Although there is a playful side, the underlining theme is fear, cruelty, and survival.  In recurring distressful situations people often become like dolls, presenting a steady happy personae no matter what is happening.  Though the circumstances represented in the work are not real, no stuffed animals were hurt in the making of the work, they capture the aura that surrounds a person who has no control but will not give in.
Elaine M. Erne
Elaine M. Erne

Elaine M. Erne, co-founder and co-director of Star Wheel Printers, received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh,…

Elaine M. Erne, co-founder and co-director of Star Wheel Printers, received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and her MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia,…

Elaine M. Erne, co-founder and co-director of Star Wheel Printers, received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and her MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Erne’s drawings…

Marjorie Grigonis is a painter who has spent 15 years as an art teacher, a professor at several colleges and universities. Currently she works in her studio in Philadelphia, where she belongs to the 3rd Street Gallery, a co-operative which she supports. In the 70's she was a founding member of an artists co-op in NYC. Her work is abstract, both in painting and drawing. They sometimes combine in mixed media with collage. These works may include fragments from the collection of memorabilia in her studio. Her work has been influenced by travel, Morocco, Mexico, and repeated trips to Japan and Europe
Marjorie Grigonis
Marjorie Grigonis

Marjorie Grigonis is a painter who has spent 15 years as an art teacher, a professor at several colleges and universities.…

Marjorie Grigonis is a painter who has spent 15 years as an art teacher, a professor at several colleges and universities. Currently she works in her studio in Philadelphia, where she belongs to the 3rd…

Marjorie Grigonis is a painter who has spent 15 years as an art teacher, a professor at several colleges and universities. Currently she works in her studio in Philadelphia, where she belongs to the 3rd Street Gallery, a…

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