by Joanna Nixon
I first met Casey back in 2007 when he received an Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, a prestigious $20,000 fellowship award for Midwest contemporary visual artists. I was a huge fan of his work then and I still am now. Once you become familiar with Casey's work you will immediately recognize his beautifully framed, large-scale cyanotypes. Not sure what cyanotype is? Well, I asked him. Read about the unique process and his path to becoming an artist below.
What is your background and how did you get started as an artist?
I was born in 1971, Orlando, Florida, and grew up here in Indianapolis. I was always a creative kid and loved to draw. I realized at some point in elementary school that I could just do it forever. That's probably when it started. I was lucky enough to attend Herron School of Art and Design (as a printmaking major) and work with some great professors and hang with a good crew of students. I've been doing my best ever since.
You have a unique process to create your work; can you describe what cyanotype is?
Cyanotype is actually an old photo process that I've adapted a bit. I use the photosensitive chemicals as a painting medium. After being exposed, it prints as a vibrant blue color, and that blue can be altered with other chemical reactions using household items. For example, I use a baking soda solution, or a mild bleach solution, to lighten the deep blue to get the range of greens and yellows. I can then paint back into this with the cyanotype solution again, going back and forth developing the image till it's awesome.
When you are creating a new piece, what are some of your sources of inspiration?
It usually starts with nature and the landscape. Sometimes I impose some sort of ridiculous situation (for my own entertainment) and try to make it work out in an elegant way. In the recent piece, Totally Free Now, plants in a garden use pyramid power, or black magic, or employ some related 70's pseudo-science to liberate themselves from man's constraints... undeniable fun. Of course, in my opinion, it's not important for the viewer to know my inspiration, and probably best they didn't. It's always best to let the viewer simply enjoy the beauty, champion the mystery and find his or her own answers. I think I've said too much.
What are you most proud of as an artist? Is there a specific accomplishment, exhibition or work that comes to mind?
I'm oddly equally proud of each exhibition or accomplishment as it's happening, but yes, some things in hindsight do stick out as important. I am honored to have received an Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, it certainly tops the list. My iMOCA show with Lori Miles was epic. I was pretty happy with my stuff at the Turf Super Bowl thing and I also had a great show last summer at the Elmhurst Museum in Chicago. I'm extremely proud to be in some really great museum and private collections from all over the world. I always feel a ton of pride when it's clear my work really connects with a person and they are moved in a meaningful way; those are special moments I cherish. I've been very fortunate, many great experiences and opportunities.
What advice or recommendations do you have for individuals who are just getting started in collecting art?
I would say trust your taste, find work that makes you happy and buy as much of it as you can. At the very least you'll be super happy, and if you have great taste you'll be super happy AND maybe your collection will be worth a bunch of money in the future.
Who are some of your favorite local artists?
So many really. I like Nathaniel Russell's work a lot, Tyler Meuninck, although he may not be considered local anymore, he's next-level great. I also really enjoy the work of Craig McCormick, Lauren Zoll, Arthur Liou, Barb Zech, Nick Allman and so many others.
Where can people see your work in person?
I have a show opening June 8th at Edington Gallery in Three Oaks, Michigan. And if you happen to be Canadian or visiting Toronto stop into PARTS Gallery and see some work. Locally, my studio (#217) in the Murphy Art Center in Fountain Square is usually open on First Friday. I can also arrange for a studio visit anytime, happy to do it.
What is the preferred way to contact you if someone is interested in your work?
All my contact info is listed on my website. Contacting my gallery is the best way if you prefer dealing with true professionals (and awesome people). Also feel free to swing by my space on a First Friday, we can talk art.