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Student Profile: Cassan Francois, '17, Art

Morristown, N.J. (April 7, 2016) – Cassan Francois, '17, is taking her artwork to the next level. She is encouraged to think outside the canvas and explore new ways to express herself as a CSE art major.

"When I first started in the major, I was stuck in my high school mindset of what art should be," Cassan said. "But the class 'Creating Art: 21st Century' pushed me out of that."

Cassan explained that in the class, professor Rocco Scary challenged her to create outside of her comfort zone.

"'Go deep! Search your soul!'" Cassan remembered Professor Scary motivating.

Since then, Cassan creates from what she is passionate about and what she knows.

Cassan's inspiration comes from people's eyes, noses and mouths, three facial features that she explained "are all unique to each person." She even scrounges Instagram for striking portraits and duplicates them in digital art.

Her two favorite mediums are painting and digital art.

"I love all the different colors you can create with paint, and I love the cleanliness of digital art," she explained. "I create my paintings so the viewers eyes go on a circular motion around the canvas. Each element of the paintings has meaning, and are meant to bring you around the scene."

As a young child living in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Cassan learned artistic techniques by watching her father draw. Cassan and her family moved to New Jersey when she was nine years old. Her elementary school teacher told her she had a gift for art, but Cassan never truly took art seriously until high school.

While searching for schools online, she came across CSE and applied.

Her CSE professors and mentors realize her gift, too. Patricia Devlin, Conference and Events Director and Cassan's student employment supervisor, informed her that Madison, N.J.'s "Sidewalk Gallery" was calling for submissions, and she suggested that Cassan enter. Cassan entered the contest, creating three sketches of what she thought captured Madison's heart, history and life.

Her artwork was accepted into the show and will be displayed on a banner for five months beginning in May, where it will be judged and auctioned this fall.

The Downtown Development Commission (DDC) and the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance (MACA) organized this event where artists display their original works on banners that line the sidewalks of the downtown business district.

"I researched Madison online and talked to people who lived there," said Cassan. "I also took frequent trips into the town to get a feel of Madison's culture and environment."

Apart from her heavy commitment to art, Cassan is very involved in the campus community. She is vice president of the International/Intercultural Club (IIC), a member of the dance team and a SOAR tutor.

"CSE has helped my professional growth. In all of my classes, my professors provide the fundamentals that I need to learn as a student before I graduate."

After graduation, Cassan hopes to pursue a career in animation.

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