Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. based artist Noel Kassewitz   |   noelkassewitz@gmail.com   |   © 2017 Noel Kassewitz

  • White Instagram Icon

ABOUT

Born: 1990, Miami, FL

Currently resides in: Washington, D.C., USA

 

I have been immersed in a combination of art, science, and mysticism as far back as my memory allows. This upbringing profoundly shaped my character and my artistic practice.

 

At the age of 18 months my family relocated to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, narrowly avoiding by sheer luck the devastation that Hurricane Andrew would inflict upon Miami just a few months later. My father was determined to be a successful entrepreneur, and he was up until his death when I was seven. He succeeded in opening a marine park that would later facilitate numerous research breakthroughs. What this meant for a child was that I was surrounded by and in the water with dolphins almost every day while we lived there. I believe these early developmental interactions shaped my love -and respect- for the natural world in ways that are still revealing themselves to me even today. ​

I believe my father's death imparted the fragility of life deeply onto my psyche as a young child. It's this fragility that I see reflected in the world around me, though for the most part I'm not too gloom and doom about it. I try to savor every moment, while recognizing that a moment is sometimes all that separates us from unrecognizable change. 

My mother remarried when I was ten and both my brother and I were formally adopted by our new dad. He had just completed seven years of shamanistic training with the Navajo of New Mexico and with his addition to our lives, a whole new chapter opened. We built a sacred ceremony site, complete with a sweat lodge, in our backyard. His shamanistic understanding, coupled with my mother's own new age spirituality, opened the doors of both metaphysics and communion with nature to me. I carry this intense spirituality with me even now, though it's challenging sometimes to explain how it all fits together.

Besides shamanism, my new father also brought with him science. As a scientist, he and my mother embarked upon a journey to narrow the gap between interspecies communication, primarily that between dolphins and humans, though they also worked with great apes. And they did narrow the gap, being featured several times in National Geographic and other news articles. Several of their findings went viral. Witnessing and participating in these discoveries deeply engrained upon me the idea that one (or in this case two) people can truly make a difference. And that even if people think you are crazy with a capital "C", you should follow your passions, especially when they are seated in a deep desire to better the world. 

But where does the art fit into all of this? My mother is a gifted artist, so from the moment I could hold a crayon I was encouraged to create, create, create. And I did and still do. I was fortunate enough to attend magnet schools that allowed me to devote extra hours to art every day growing up. It was my rock through all the changes life brought. Expressing myself through art was oftentimes the only way I could explain that fragility, that concern, that determination I had to open people's eyes to the world around us; to see the moments; to see the changes.

 

After graduating, I joined a renowned contemporary art museum in Miami. Over the next few years my idealistic ideas about "how to make a difference through my art!" were refined as I learned more about of the nuances of the art world, the dos and the don'ts. Hungry to know even more, I then moved overseas and based myself in Italy while traveling around Europe for the better part of a year. The world was changing, I could sense it but I needed to see it. Then it was 2016. The climate was rapidly changing, the United States was on the brink of election, Brexit occurred, and I realized it was time to move home and "start making a difference through my art!" Knowing that I would forever have Miami as my home-base, I moved to the second most important place I could think to be based out of during a time of climate change, rising seas, and divisive politics: Washington, D.C.