Apiece Apart Woman: Cassi Gibson

Apiece Apart Woman Cassi Gibson

Cassi Gibson is a woman of many talents: artist, curator, and art director, she has experience that bridges the worlds of both fashion and fine art, of communities both local and global. Born in Maputo, Mozambique, to a Mozambican mother and an American father, Gibson lived all over the world before recently settling in Los Angeles, where she has been focusing her attention on art curation (most recently, this manifested in a first solo show of her own paintings, at LA’s Front Room Gallery). Below, a conversation on living with intention, self-respect, and staying true to yourself.
Photos by Claire Cottrell / Interview by Leigh Patterson

Apiece Apart Woman Cassi GibsonApiece Apart Woman Cassi GibsonApiece Apart Woman Cassi Gibson

Can you share more about your upbringing, background, and work?
My upbringing was quite dynamic. I grew up in many different countries. I lived in Africa and also spent quite a bit of time in New York. In my 20s I moved back to Maputo, Mozambique. I think my parents raised me in a way that was quite Aristotelian which led me to live a rather peripatetic life. So my work became the same: at one point I was writing for magazines, and then I was casting in New York, and then I was showing as an artist in mixed media. I eventually came to fashion because of my love for aesthetics — but I don't mean in a institutional way. I met Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and then it was like I had some sort literal outlet to study wears that connected to my life, that felt right for me. I then moved toward branding in fashion and recently moved to LA where I have been freelancing in fashion and also now in art.
What projects have held the most focus for you recently?  
I have always had a dream to curate, and have had two successful shows this year, both of which told authentic stories. It was such a pleasure to know artists whose work coincides with this vision. I just curated my second show this season and it felt like I was repurposing some life form that already existed in me.
My next show will be of my own paintings — I started painting again, because of my partner [Henry Taylor], who is in my opinion a master painter. He brought me back to painting. I grew up painting, so it’s really a beautiful thing to come back to it. My new work is all pictorial stories of Mozambique — they are loose and lucid. I am curious to how they will be received. 
You grew up in a society that is historically matriarchal. How do you see this shaping your perspective today on working, being a woman, and an artist?
I recently read an article that said women need more sleep than men because we are fighting the patriarchy. I feel I get my energy and poise from all the women I know. I really feel that its women who get the job done. We have to be multi-taskers.

Apiece Apart Woman Cassi GibsonApiece Apart Woman Cassi Gibson

What are you most passionate about? What matters most to you?
I am most passionate about life and culture. Its truly a gift from God.  
What matters most to me is co-existing.
What moments in your daily life remind you to feel connected and present?
I think we live in a society where anxiety and forms of fear are big parts of daily life…and [the idea that] you have to pay your way to a healthy mind and body…you need to go somewhere or get this service done or pay for this kind of thing to get back to a "better" you. But really, if you are lacking the love and intention you are missing out on the bigger picture. 
I think [being present] is just waking up and choosing to live life from a place of purity, especially when it comes to taking care of and loving yourself. So if I can brush my hair, or cook, or breathe with this unprecedented respect and love for myself I am really changing the way I interact with everything. It’s truly radiant. It also takes practice.

Apiece Apart Woman Cassi GibsonApiece Apart Woman Cassi Gibson

What moments or practices make you feel most well or personally full?
Quiet and solitude makes me feel most well, and most in a state of serenity.
What books have you read recently that have stuck with you? 
I just finished Marcel Duchamp by Calvin Tomkins. Much of Duchamp’s outlook is quite linear to my thoughts.
What are some current themes in your life?
Self respect and motivation.
"Know thyself" — the more I stay true to my vision, the less abstractions exist in my work.