Thinkspace is proud to present Casey Weldon’s latest body of work ‘Sentimental Deprivation’ in our main room. Casey Weldon’s paintings combine elements of humor, nostalgia, and the absurd; weaving pop culture and kitsch into the illuminated neon world. In anticipation of Weldon’s upcoming exhibition with us, we have an exclusive interview with Casey Weldon to discuss his inspiration, creative process, and dream collaboration.
Sentimental Deprivation‘s opening reception is this Saturday, June 3rd from 6 -9 pm in our project room.
SH: What is the inspiration behind this latest body of work?
CW: I was up way too late one night with my bestie artist pal Crystal Barbre, and she complimented me on some of my work that she deemed emotionally powerful. I laughed and reluctantly told her that everything is just based on a funny/weird idea and the color schemes are just colors I like. She puts a lot of herself into her work and is intimately connected to them, so she didn’t buy it. I was trying to persuade her that I, in fact, I was a robot devoid of emotion and have several ex-girlfriends that could testify to that. I went through a bit of rough time last year personally, and while working through that this has become an attempt of an emotionless person painting emotionally.
SH: You have a unique way of using colors that seem neon and creating a glowing illumination from within the work? What made you explore this style and develop the technique? Were you directly inspired by something to go in this direction?
CW: I’ve always had trouble keeping my work’s brightness on the level. Everything has always naturally skewed towards the darker side. To offset it, I started including small and super bright light sources. It’s a lot of fun inventing what the effects of a bright blue light will have under a setting red sun. I used to joke that my direct inspiration was Thomas Kincade, but now I’m beginning to wonder if that statement is 100% a joke.
SH: How have you grown as an artist in the last 5 years and how do you hope to grow in the following 5?
CW: Yes and yes. At least I hope. Usually, it works like we always feel the same despite those around us notice we are changing as people. I guess I’m hoping the opposite isn’t happening and I’m stuck in a rut I can’t even see.
SH: You’ve moved around a lot, do you feel your moves and various home-bases have influenced or informed your work?
CW: Yes, I think so, though it’s hard to point to any direct pieces and say why. I think it’s just more of a mindset. Like when I was in NY and depressed I painted a lot of funny pop art stuff. When I lived in the Las Vegas desert I painted a lot of lush nature. Here in gray Seattle, I paint a lot of bright colors. I guess I’m always looking for greener grass somewhere.
SH: What about another artists’ work excites or fascinates you? Who do you think everyone should look up?
CW: I get really excited anytime I feel like I don’t know what to expect from an artist. When their body works shifts often into new and unexpected directions it really inspires me to try and do the same. Although, on the other hand, I really admire artists that have developed a truly unique and identifiable voice, as often I feel like I struggle with that. Since moving to Seattle, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some really fantastic new artists. Cassie Murphy is adorably batshit crazy, James Carpenter is a technical master, Jeremy Gregory is in a whole other world he has created, Angelita Martinez is always pushing experimentation and Abby Fields is somewhat green, but I am positive she will be a force to be reckoned with. I could name a 100 more because this town is full of them.
SH: What is your creative process? Can you walk us through a day in the studio?
CW: I wake up somewhere between 5-6am with a fire in my heart. “I’m going to get up and crush this day,” I say to myself. And then I eat a nutritionally questionable breakfast and go back to sleep. Around 10 am, I drag my ass to the drawing table and work till 6-7 or so. My process is 80% waiting for a decent idea or theme to start with, 10% gathering photo reference and shooting models, and 10% mad dash to finish painting by the deadline, which rarely ever happens. It’s a weird mix of wishful thinking and high anxiety.
SH: What do you think is the biggest misconception about being an artist?
CW: That we don’t work hard. That we are ‘lucky’ and are taking the easy road. Every artist is doing everything they can to sell a product there is absolutely no demand for, and they are betting on their own personal thoughts and emotions to sell it. They spend countless hours working with no guarantee of a paycheck, putting themselves out there and getting rejected, or taken advantage of over and over hoping to find some sort of communication with an audience. But your friend at the Dodge dealership says “get a real job”.
SH: What was playing in the background during the creation of this body of work? Does what you listen to inform the mood of the pieces or are they separate?
CW: I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks and my local radio station KEXP (the best radio station ever). I’m deep into ’The First Law’ series by Joe Abercrombie, and thankfully the subject matters have kept to themselves.
SH: Who would you want to collaborate with, dead or alive? The person can be in any area of the arts; film, dance, music etc.
CW: Michel Gondry first comes to mind. It just seems like he has a boundless imagination and a DIY approach to realizing his ideas.
SH: If your artwork inspired a cocktail, what would it be made of and what would it taste like?
CW: Hmmm, how about a ‘Furball’ which is just a pint glass of Fireball with a rim dusted in cat hair? Or a ‘Glowey’, which is Ecto Hi-C and vodka with a glow stick in it? It may be obvious, but I’m not much of a cocktail guy.
SH: When not in the studio, what would an ideal day look like?
CW: Rock and roll all night, and sleep all day.