Interview with Casey James by Guest Editor Raun LaRose
1. Tell us a little about your background? Where you are from and how long have you been an artist?
I’m not sure if I would consider myself an artist in the traditional sense anymore. That term has always rubbed me the wrong way really, though the title was assigned to me before I really knew what it was. I believe the term is assigned to us kids who’s talents weren’t as easily categorized, a lot of times being unexplainable or thought to be at a disadvantage. Maybe we were ok in school, but especially good at gluing noodles and beans to paper plates? I’m not really sure. It’s easy to call yourself an artist, and even easier to make art, so why not. I see myself now as more of a composer of things other than music. I’ve always been excited by beliefs, ideas, philosophies, the news, and wished to express my understanding of things which are not visual in a visual way, an artist is because of coping in this way. Coping outwardly defines us. By knowing where I have been would be more than telling of my background: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Reno, New York City, Geneva. Then by spaces: The desert, the city, mountains, the forest, the oceans, the beach. Then by sensations and emotions: The cold, the extreme heat, being lost, being found, love lost, death, new love, sleeplessness, quiet and loud, sick, blind, loyal, afraid, lonely, and busy.
2. I really like your painted out series. What was the process and inspiration behind the series?
The artist has always been a giver in satisfaction of themselves, others, to culture, or to society. The artist as giver can be a taker, we rarely see this side of the art-making coin and few artists approach art making through a reductive process since the other version is far better for attention getting and relativistic historical positioning and marginalizing. These paintings, and a few sculptures are about loss, being a giver and a taker while leaving something behind for someone to dream about without ever being able to have the thing you dream of. A lot of times in this work, I would paint and work extensively on a photo representational image and erode it, remove it, or cover it. Sometimes there are remnants, other times just blurs or lines. The idea here is to rob everyone of what they expect for me to do. If I am called an artist, I am expected to define myself through the making of art. I have chosen to define valuing myself removed from the picture.
3. When you’re creating, what music do you like to have on rotation?
The same song on repeat until I finish. Some albums with songs that I have listened to on repeat are Arcade Fire‘s Neon Bible, Coheed and Cambria‘s In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, and Kanye‘s Graduation and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Sometimes I listen to a sound until I can’t hear it anymore or video game tracks.
4. How would you describe your personal style if you can?
People recognize me after years of not seeing me. I have a uniform that revolves around a few basic things that haven’t changed much over my life. I will always have black pants, slicked back hair, and a watch that I’ve turned off.
5. State of emergency: If aliens were attacking us and you had to evacuate your place immediately what three things would you take from your closet?
Taking things will slow you down. Whatever I need along the way I would find, including the best fucking shoes.
6. What are some of the experiences you’ve had as an artist living in NYC? Do you believe in the saying “Art is dead”?
In the next few years in this city the absolute best and absolute worst of anything you could imagine in this life will happen to you. Your friends will die of drug overdoses or diseases with no cure. If you barely make it through you will look up to discover that everyone else is gone. You will find the love of your life and they will leave you, you will make and lose the most money you have ever seen. At the same time you will be given the chance to change the world and an opportunity to be considered the best, the actual best, which doesn’t happen anywhere else. Does the city live within you, or do you live within the city. Be ready, this place is no joke. Nothing dies, it just changes.
7. Lastly what’s next for Casey?
Health, travel, the next
Casey James Official Site