Born on Friday the 13th in 1964 in Salem, Massachusetts, John Casey has been inventing creatures as soon as he was able to hold a crayon. Drawings that his mother saved from when he was only three years old reveal an obsession with the figure. The figures in these drawings show not only the distorted perceptions of a child, but a fascination with skulls, teeth, spirographic eyes, and invented body parts. This obsession with strange creatures continued throughout his youth. "Monster models, war dioramas, dinosaurs, and horror movies on the T.V. [this included "Creature Double Feature" on Saturday afternoons, of course] occupied much of my time."
John graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 1988 with a BFA in Painting. Several years ago he relocated to Oakland, California with his lovely wife Mary.
On Drawing ...
"Drawing for me has always been a constant in my creative process regardless of which media I've worked in. Whether I'm painting, sculpting, or photographing, I always make time to draw. I find the process to be the most liberating and, in many ways, most satisfying. I can allow my hand to move intuitively, the preliminary pencil lines guided by kind of subconscious wandering followed by a conscious array of pen strokes. The key is to know when to stop since ink offers no true subtractive maneuvering."
On Monsters ...
"I've always made odd creatures. My mom saved some drawings that I created when I was about three years old. The figures in these drawings show not only the distorted perceptions of a child, but a fascination with skulls, teeth, spirographic eyes, and invented body parts. This obsession with strange creatures continued throughout my youth. Monster models, war dioramas, dinosaurs, and horror movies [this included "Creature Double Feature" on Saturday afternoons, of course] occupied much of my time."
"My creatures are called monsters by some, but I often feel that the connotations associated with "monster" don't always apply to these little guys unless one can add descriptors like "vulnerable" and "fragile" to the definition of monster. Maybe I have issue with the monster moniker because I see my critters as self-portraits. Nick Capasso, director of the DeCordova Museum, once referred to my work as 'little exorcisms' and I like that description. The idea that I expel my inner demons in the form of drawn, painted, or sculpted critters appeals to me."
"In my work I see beings that are both powerful and powerless. They struggle with their ugliness and debilitation but are also somewhat at peace with it. I see a tension within these characters, and when two or more are juxtaposed together that tension only increases. The result may evoke a burst of laughter or yelp of fright."