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behind the camera with Cassie Pali

Written by Hallana Beck

Cassie Pali, winner of Best in Show for the Prestige 100, is a full-time artist, professional underwater photographer, and founder of Creative Island Visions. Cassie also won the Spiritual Art Award in 2019, 2020, and 2021 for her images dedicated to her journey with cancer and has her art on display in galleries across Maui. For Cassie, COVID came first, and then breast cancer. However, after 5 surgeries, several chemotherapy treatments, and a lot of rest, Cassie is now cancer free! Now, let's look into the mind of this talented artist and see what inspiration we can take away.

Bubbles by Cassie Pali in the Prestige 100 gallery.


I wanted to represent all areas of what I'm doing underwater: hula, mermaid, and goddess. If I'm in Mexico we do mermaids and when I'm in Maui we do the goddesses and hula. Out of the three I submitted for the show, I love Bubbles the most for the process I went through when creating it. All of my works are never planned, they are just created as I play with the image. When I completed Bubbles, I looked back and saw that I incorporated all of the four elements! I have never done that before in any of my artworks.

Is your identity as an artist seperate from your identity as a person?

I never identified myself as a photographer or an artist; I'm Cassie. I'm just me. I lost my identity with my kids as I am known as their mom. I even lost my identity as a dog owner! It's easy to loose your identity in life, so I always try to just be me. In the last year I had to learn to say "hi, I'm an artist" when asked what I do for a living. But I'm me. I'm Cassie!

Looking Glass by Cassie Pali.


I love working with the clients because we work together. When I'm photographing a client; weather it's a model, someone I asked to shoot, or someone who just wants to feel beautiful again; everyone thinks that they've done a horrible job. Everyone comes up from underwater belching, coughing, and gasping. Since the underwater photography process isn't the most graceful, my models think they aren't either. They sometimes get dejected. However, when I talk to them and support them and get them to trust me, we just have fun with the process. The best part of every shoot is when I show the clients the end result; the artwork I created of them. Their reactions make my day. Everyone that models for me gets the option to either be paid, or receive a print, they all take the print.

Keola by Cassie Pali.

What message would you like to leave behind through your art? 

Being underwater, for me, is always a relaxing experience. The ocean protrudes a peaceful reflection of the underworld. Whenever I'm stressed, my kids tell me to go jump in the ocean, and I do. I put everything that I'm doing aside, go into the water, and come back refreshed. I represent both aspects in my art, aspects of land and water, chaos and peace through the figure and their reflection. There is peace. There is serenity. There is that happy place and I want my art to remind people of the calm and joyful parts of life more than the chaos that surrounds us.

listen to cassie pali on conversation mill

Meet photographer and artist Cassie Pali... did I mention she does her photography underwater?Cassie Pali is an award-winning photographer, winning the Spiritual Art Award in 2021, 2020 & 2019. She has combined her photography and artistic eye to create one-of-a-kind images that give you the feeling of weightlessness. Two years ago Cassie was diagnosed with breast cancer and after several surgeries and treatments; Cassie is healing cancer free! She is ready to dive back into her favorite place: the ocean and ready to dive back into her art. Choices is her newest theme and having made the choice to fight through cancer and pursue her art; she is ready to create pieces that inspire us to stop, think and choose.


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This Website Supports Augmented Reality to Live Preview Art

This means you can use the camera on your phone or tablet and superimpose any piece of art onto a wall inside of your home or business.

To use this feature, Just look for the "Live Preview AR" button when viewing any piece of art on this website!

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