John Casey


Propped Up (2009), Pen on paper, 20 x 15 in.

Red Wrong-Handed (2009), Pen on paper, 24 x 20 in.

Thief (2007), Pen on paper, 15 x 20 in.

Wagoneer (2009), Pen on paper, 20 x 24 in.

Crossing Swords, Conking Heads (2007), Pen on paper, 18 x 18 in.

Paranoid (2009), Pen on paper, 20 x 15 in.

Early Bloomer (2009), Pen on paper, 20 x 15 in.

The Plot (2009), Inked plywood and paint, 6 x 11.5 ft.

Artist Statement

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.”

John Casey’s Website