Get to Know the Artist - Part One, 5 Questions

Get to Know the Artist - Part One, 5 Questions

Hello again, Friend! Welcome back to my studio blog!

I was going to make this a “20 Questions with the Artist” post but after just 5 questions, I’m finding that this is turning into a lot of words! So I’m splitting this into a multi-part series of get-to-know-me’s. Let’s start! 

  1. Full name: Cassandra Nguyen Musto.

  2. Where are you from? I grew up in Southern California in Westminster right in the heart of Little Saigon with my divorced mother and younger sister. My mother was an immigrant from Viet Nam and came to straight to California in 1964 after she married my American father. who was in the Navy and stationed in Saigon in 1963-64.

    In 1978, the second wave of Viet refugees began arriving in the United States (my mother’s younger siblings and their families were part of this second wave). These refugees, also derisively called “boat people”, received a much colder and harsher reception from countries near and far than the first wave from the 1975 fall of Saigon.

    In spite of the racism and hardships they faced in America, I watched these Viet refugees transform Westminster’s Bolsa Avenue from strawberry fields, vacant lots, and sleepy small commercial strip malls and businesses owned and run by a mostly white community to the bustling business and cultural center of the largest Viet community outside of Viet Nam.

  3. Where do you live? I now live with my husband in Yolo County, California next to the Sacramento River.

    We live in the older, more historic neighborhood of Broderick which still retains some Victorian houses and an historic Depression-era WPA firehouse which has been lovingly restored into a restaurant and music venue. It’s a great little community with charming community gardens, coffee shops, pubs, and restaurants within easy walking distance.

  4. What kind of art do you create? I am a watercolor artist and I love painting the native flora and fauna (plants and animals) that live nearby here in the Sacramento region and throughout California. I am a native-born Californian, and I love the amazing diversity of natural habitats that we have here. I try to capture the magic and joy of nature through my artwork.

  5. What inspired you to become an artist? I’ve loved art since I was a child, but had no role models to encourage or show me how to pursue an artistic life that would also be financially stable. My childhood and teen years were, how shall I say, unsettling, and obtaining financial independence and stability was a must-have for me. 

    I chose landscape architecture which offered me the chance to be in an environmental-minded career, play with plants and the outdoors, restore damaged habitats, and also draw and be creative. While getting my degree in landscape architecture, I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to obtain a minor in Fine Arts. 

    After graduating and working in landscape architecture, this professional path was fulfilling for a while, and I have in fact achieved my goal of financial stability. But as my career progressed, I got further away from the fun, creative parts. 

    In 2012, I decided to pursue my creative muse again. I started off by taking watercolor painting lessons with local artists. Since then, I’ve been having a lot of fun as I continue to improve my craft and develop the business of artmaking, while still working my primary job as a landscape architect.

Back to blog

Leave a comment