VICTOR CASS was born in Kingsville, Texas, in 1968, but raised in his hometown of Pasadena, California. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, awarded with Honors, from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, in 1989, and his Master of Arts Degree in Military Studies-Land Warfare, from American Military University, Manassas Park, Virginia, in 1999.
Victor worked as an advertising art director in New York City before moving back to Pasadena to pursue a freelance career as an artist and writer. His family-inspired love and desire to give back to the community also led Victor to pursue a law enforcement career, and to serve in a variety of community leadership roles.
Victor is a decorated, 22-year-veteran Police Officer with the Pasadena Police Department. Throughout his career he has worked a variety of assignments, including four tours in Patrol, Detectives, Community Services, and most recently a 5-year stint with the Homeless Outreach-Psychiatric Evaluation (HOPE) Team, the department’s mental health crisis unit. He is a graduate of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Academy.
While a member of the HOPE Team, Victor founded the Pasadena Mental Health Advisory Committee (PMHAC) and served as its first Chairperson (2008-11). Victor also founded Pasadena Mental Health Day, which celebrated its fourth annual event in 2014. Victor was the recipient of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) California 2010 Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional Award, the first police officer to receive the honor. Among Victor’s other honors is a 2007 Unit Citation awarded by the Pasadena Fire Department for his CPR lifesaving of a three-year-old near-drowning victim.
Victor also serves as President of NAMI-San Gabriel Valley, the fourth largest NAMI affiliate in Los Angeles County. Prior to that he served as the Vice President of Public Education on the NAMI-San Gabriel Valley Board of Directors. He has also served on the Bad Weather Shelter Advisory Board, and is the former President and Vice President of the Pasadena Latino Employees Association (PLEA).
As an artist, Victor has been painting and showing his work for over twenty-five years. He has taught art, drawing, and painting, and has produced and curated numerous art shows. He received the Chief’s Special Award for Innovation in 2003, in part, for his founding of the Pasadena Police Activities League (PAL) Arts Program, where he taught art and design to at-risk youth from 2000-2003. He forged partnerships with various arts institutions and organizations throughout Pasadena, and the children’s artwork was displayed in numerous exhibitions at places like the Armory Northwest and Light Bringer Gallery.
As a HOPE Team Officer, Victor used his creative talents, contacts, and his experience gleaned as the PAL Arts Coordinator, to bring the Armory Center for the Arts, Union Station Homeless Services, and the Pasadena Police Department together, to host free art classes for the homeless, which were held at the Armory Center in July-August 2007. Victor taught the adult classes, while Armory Center instructors taught the teens and children. Victor later curated the show, “Art by Families in Transition,” which opened Saturday, September 22, 2007, at the Armory Center for the Arts, in Old Pasadena. This show ran through November 30, 2007, which was Homeless Awareness Month.
Armory Center for the Arts adopted this program, renamed "Artful Solutions: Pathways from Homelessness," full-time in 2008. Armory Center received a Los Angeles County Grant to help fund the program, in part, through Victor's efforts. In the summer of 2008, Victor, with the assistance of others in the art community, taught the homeless families for an expanded 24-week session. As he has done before, Victor solicited numerous framing shops in the community to graciously donate the framing of the participants' finished art work, including: Aarnun Gallery, Nova Picture Framing, Mack Rogers & Associates, Pasadena Pins & Patches/Decco Awards, United Picture & Framing Company, and Ebony Art Gallery.
The opening reception was Saturday, November 15, 2008, at the Armory Center, and was well-received. The show was curated by Jay Beloli. The art show ran through December 31, 2008, and all proceeds from art sales went directly to the homeless artists and their families. The program ran officially through 2011.
Victor’s artwork was displayed at Brenart Café and Gallery in Old Pasadena (2006-07), as well as the Group Shows at the Gallery at the End of the World, in Altadena, CA, in August and December 2007. Victor was both honored and delighted, as an American of Hispanic descent, to be selected to display his work at Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s 2007 Latino Heritage Month Celebration and Art Show. He was one of only six artists invited, and the only one from Pasadena.
In December 2007, Alan and Mark Greenstone, the owners of United Picture & Frame Company in Pasadena—a framing and art restoration business—asked Victor to both curate and show in their inaugural gallery-opening venture. Victor gathered together six other prominent artists, including Dom Gilormini, Barbara Kaleta, Nora Koeber, Caroline Maxwell, Allison Proulx, and Andrew Robinson, for the show, “Art Goes East,” which opened January 20, 2008.
In 2008, Victor worked with Rochelle Branch and Denise Seider, of the City of Pasadena's Office of Cultural Affairs, to kick off the opening show of Pasadena's newest alternative art space, Police Gallery, at the Pasadena Police Department.
Victor was invited to show his work at "Linking Art in the Community," sponsored by the Pasadena-Altadena Chapter of The Links, Inc., at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, on April 19, 2009. He worked with Ben McGinty, Executive Director of the Underground Arts Society, to produce an art show to kick off the opening of the Altadena Arts Coalition Event in May 2009, at Gallery at the End of the World.
In December 2009, Victor got the idea to hold an art exhibit retrospective of his work from 1987-2007 at his mother's winter yard sale, held at his parents' house in Pasadena, CA. Victor dubbed this "The Yard Sale Show," in grim commemoration of the nation's economic situation and the boom of yard sales because of this. Recognizing that people still need art and culture in their lives, Victor priced his art work accordingly and sold four pieces from this show. His show was well-received, both by art lovers and yard sale shoppers alike. "The Yard Sale Show" continued Victor's tradition of showing art in non-traditional spaces. He held a second one in 2010.
On June 4, 2011, Victor participated in a group show, "The Figure Show," at Colonnade Art Gallery, in Pasadena. From September-October 2011, Victor completed "The Door of Hope," a large painting on a door that was displayed at the Door of Hope fundraiser gala at the Castle Green on October 14, 2011.
From 2012, Victor worked on individual artworks, but took a hiatus from showing and producing art shows to work full-time on a writing project, which was completed in 2014.
SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS (1988-Present)
American Icon (an installation made of eight U.S. flags set in clear-casting resin) Art Center Gallery Pasadena, California-1988
One-man show, “Still On Canvas” Espresso Bar Café (South Raymond Avenue) Pasadena, California-1992
The Pasadena Way (chalk mural, 5’ x 6’) Contributing Artist, “Chalk on the Walk” Centennial Square Pasadena, California-1993
Equator (Oil on Canvas, 24” x 48”) Equator Coffee House Pasadena, California-1994
One-man show, “Evolution of Style” Espresso Bar Café (East Green Street) Pasadena, California-1995
Group show, “Nuestra America” American Friends Service Center Pasadena, California-1996
Mexican Gothic (Oil on Canvas, 11” x 14”) Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Pasadena Police Department Pasadena, California-1997
The Disembodied Boob (Acrylic on Canvas, 12” x 12”) Group Show, “Absolut Chalk” Ross Farrell Gallery Pasadena, California-1999
Study in Black and White (Oil on Canvas, 14” x 18”) Black History Month Celebration Pasadena Police Department Pasadena, California-2000
Self-Portrait of the Artist During His Police Service (Oil on Canvas, 20” x 24”) Portrait of Courtney Morrill Polimeni (Oil on Canvas, 11” x 14”) Group Show, “The 26th Annual Art Show” Pasadena Presbyterian Church Pasadena, California-2000
The Date (Acrylic on Canvas, 12” x 12”) Group Show, “Absolut Chalk” Light Bringer Gallery Pasadena, California-2000
Children Art Culture Power PAL Arts Program Winter Art Show & Reception PAL Arts Center Gallery Pasadena, California-2000 *
Color and Black & White PAL Arts Program Spring Art Show & Reception Light Bringer Gallery Pasadena, California-2001 *
Rainy Night in Pasadena (Acrylic on Canvas, 12” x 12”) Group Show, “Absolut Chalk” Centennial Square Pasadena, California-2001
PAL Arts Program Summer Art Show & Reception PAL Arts Center Gallery Pasadena, California-2001 *
School Girl with Creepy Guy (Oil on Canvas, 12” x 12”) Group Show, “The 27th Annual Art Show” Pasadena Presbyterian Church Pasadena, California-2002
The Armory Northwest Show PAL Arts Program Winter Art Show & Reception Armory Northwest Pasadena, California-2002 *
Self-Portrait of the Artist During His Police Service (Oil on Canvas, 20” x 24”) The Money $how PAL Arts Program Spring Art Show & Reception Pasadena Federal Credit Union Pasadena, California-2003*
Pasadena Police Building (Oil and ball-point pen on canvas, 36" x 48") Pasadena Police Department, Permanent collection 2004
The Social Worker (Oil on canvas, 30" x 40") Murderess In the Rain (Oil on canvas, 30" x 48") Nova Gallery Pasadena, California-2004-06
A Woman Ironing (Oil on canvas, 22" x 29") Brenart Cafe Gallery Holiday Season Art Competition-Exhibition Pasadena, California-2006-07
Group Show, Gallery at the End of the World, Altadena, CA-August 2007
Art By Families in Transition, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA-August-November 2007*
Group Show, 2007 Latino Heritage Month Exhibition, Los Angeles City Hall, Los Angeles, CA-September 2007-January 2008
Group Show, Gallery at the End of the World, Altadena, CA-December 2007
Group Show, The United Picture Frame & Company Show, Art Goes East, Pasadena, CA-January 2008*
Artful Solutions: Pathways from Homelessness, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA, November-December 2008 (Artist Instructor)
Group Show, Linking Art in the Community, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA, April 2009
Group Show, Spring Fever, Gallery at the End of the World, Altadena, CA-May 2009*
One-man show, The Yard Sale Show, Parents' house, Pasadena, CA-December 2009*
Art Salon Party, Los Angeles, CA-December 2009
Artful Solutions: Pathways from Homelessness, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA, April 2010 (Artist Instructor)
One-man show, The Yard Sale Show II, Parents' house, Pasadena, CA-April 2010*
Artful Solutions: Pathways from Homelessness, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA, April-June 2011 (Artist Instructor)
Group show, The Figure Show, at Colonnade Art Gallery, Pasadena, CA-June 2011
The Door of Hope, a large painting on a door that was displayed at the Door of Hope fundraiser gala at the Castle Green, Pasadena, CA-October 2011.
For more information on Victor’s art and writing, visit his website at www.victorcass.com.